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The Verdict (1982)

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A lawyer sees the chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling.



(based upon the novel by), (screenplay)
4,867 ( 71)
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Judge Hoyle
Kaitlin Costello Price
Maureen Rooney
Sally Doneghy
Kevin Doneghy
Dr. Towler
Dr. Thompson
Lewis J. Stadlen ...
Dr. Gruber (as Lewis Stadlen)
Kent Broadhurst ...
Joseph Alito


Frank Galvin was once a promising Boston lawyer with a bright future ahead. An incident early in his career in which he was trying to do the right thing led to him being fired from the prestigious law firm with which he was working, almost being disbarred, and his wife leaving him. Continually drowning his sorrows in booze, he is now an ambulance chasing lawyer, preying on the weak and vulnerable, and bending the truth whenever necessary to make what few dollars he has, as he has only had a few cases in the last few years, losing the last four. His only friend in the profession is his now retired ex-partner, Mickey Morrissey, who gets Frank a case, his fee solely a percentage of what his clients are awarded. The case should net Frank tens of thousands of dollars by settling out of court, that money which would at least get him back on his feet. It is a negligence suit brought on behalf of Deborah Ann Kaye by her sister and brother-in-law, Sally and Kevin Doneghy, against St. Catherine... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 December 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Será justicia  »

Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)


$54,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Though the picture was set in Boston, Massachusetts most of the picture was shot on sound stages in New York City. See more »


The major legal rulings at the climax are actually gross misunderstandings of the rules of evidence as they had existed under common law for centuries at the time of the trial, rather than being obviously legally correct as the characters suggest. See more »


[as he's closing his door]
Judge Hoyle: I've no sympathy for you.
See more »


Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #8.148 (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the Best Courtroom Dramas of Cinema History
7 March 2012 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In Boston, the former successful lawyer Frank Galvin (Paul Newman) is presently a divorced and decadent alcoholic ambulance chaser, searching funerals in the obituary to get new clients.

His friend and former professor Mickey Morrissey (Jack Warden) brings one client to Frank, Deborah Ann Kaye (Susan Benenson), who reports that her sister lost her baby in the delivery and had brain damage in the St. Catherine Labouré Hospital due to the medical malpractice.

Frank meets Dr. Gruber (Lewis Stadlen), who tells that the woman received wrong anesthetic and drown in her own vomit due to negligence of Dr. Marx and the anesthetist Dr. Towler (Wesley Addy). Further, he offers to witness in court and Frank sees the chance of going to trial against the Archdiocese of Boston and win the case.

Frank goes to the hospital to take pictures of Deborah's sister and he is affected by the vegetative state of the woman. Out of the blue, Bishop Brophy (Edward Binns) summons Frank and offers an endowment of US$ 210,000.00 to drop the case. However Frank sees the chance to bring justice to the family; save his career and earn respect and he does not accept the small fortune.

Frank calls Mickey to help him in the investigation, but he finds difficulties, since his unethical opponent Ed Concannon (James Mason) anticipates his actions and Dr. Gruber mysteriously travels to the Caribbean to spend a week on vacation and Judge Hoyle (Milo O'Shea) tries to force him to accept the settling. Meanwhile Frank meets the gorgeous Laura Fischer (Charlotte Rampling) in a bar and they have a love affair. But when Mickey seeks cigarette in her purse, he makes a discovery that will hurt Frank.

"The Verdict" is one of the best courtroom dramas of cinema history with one of the best performances of Paul Newman. Directed by Sidney Lumet, "The Verdict" is also the third work of the talented David Mamet that wrote the great screenplay with an unusual (open) end for an American movie.

I saw this film in the 80's in the movie theater; than on VHS and today I have just seen on DVD and I realize that after almost thirty years, this film has not aged. The magnificent cast has top-notch performances and I love Charlotte Rampling in this film, who is also very elegant and beautiful. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "O Veredicto" ("The Verdict")

15 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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