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The Star Chamber (1983)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 4,075 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 18 critic

Disgusted with criminals escaping the judicial system via technicalities, an idealistic young judge investigates an alternative method for punishing the guilty.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Star Chamber (1983)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Superior Court Judge Steven R. Hardin
...
Judge Benjamin Caulfield
...
Det. Harry Lowes
...
Emily Hardin
...
Dr. Harold Lewin (as James B. Sikking)
...
Arthur Cooms
...
Lawrence Monk
John DiSanti ...
Det. James Wickman
...
Stanley Flowers (as DeWayne Jessie)
Jack Kehoe ...
Hingle
...
Det. Kenneth Wiggan
...
Det. Paul Mackey
Margie Impert ...
Louise Pacinni
Dana Gladstone ...
Dept. Dist. Atty. Martin Hyatt
...
Officer Nelson
Edit

Storyline

Disgusted with criminals escaping the judicial system via technicalities, an idealistic young judge investigates an alternative method for punishing the guilty. Written by <bentley@access.digex.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Someone has hidden justice within the law. Now justice is breaking out. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 August 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Star Chamber  »

Box Office

Gross:

$5,600,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The dimly lit photograph of the nine Star Chamber judges appearing on the picture's main movie poster were nine people who were not actually the same nine actors who portrayed them in the movie. See more »

Goofs

Obvious stunt double when Judge Hardin is tumbling down the chute in Monk & Coombs' warehouse. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Harold Lewin: Goddamit, NO!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Criminal Minds: The Black Queen (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
They were making a cerebral vigilante movie and an action film broke out.
8 February 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When "The Star Chamber" was released to theaters in 1983, the movie bombed at the box office. I was lucky to see the movie in its second week of release. I have seen the movie several times on cable TV and video and even though the movie had some good ideas, it was ruined by turning it into a mindless, sometimes laughable action thriller.

The story (by Roderick Taylor with the script co-written by Taylor and director Peter Hyams) rose slightly above the usual vigilante movie clichés. The movie asks what if some judges, frustrated by the law that they are supposed to uphold, took matters into their own hands? Despite strong evidence that would incriminate the accused, the judges have to reject the evidence on technicalities, freeing the accused individuals.

Though the film has a strong cast, I though Michael Douglas was a little too young to play a judge (he was 39 at the time the movie was released). Hal Holbrook is essentially playing the same role he played in Hyams other "what if?" conspiracy thriller a few years earlier (Capricorn One): the veteran judge who is involved in this conspiracy and gets the Douglas character involved.

Yaphet Kotto does what he can in the underwritten role of the L.A. police detective investigating the case. Sharon Gless is wasted as Douglas' understanding wife. Veteran character actors Don Calfa and Joe Regalbuto (Frank Fontana from "Murphy Brown") played the unsympathetic, cartoon criminals who are on the Chamber's hit list.

Only James B. Sikking's performance as a victim's father who finds himself in prison when he tries to take the law into his own hands, came through. It was a very sympathetic and heartbreaking. In retrospect, it's interesting that Sikking played the SWAT commander on "Hill Street Blues" when the movie was released.

Hyams' films (including "2010", "The Presidio", "Outland", the previously mentioned "Capricorn One", even the Jean Claude Van Damme flicks "Timecop" and "Sudden Death") are interesting to look at. "The Star Chamber" is no exception. But many of his films tend to disappoint and, sadly, "The Star Chamber" is also on that list.

Update (July 2006): The current DVD cover of the movie is misleading. It has Michael Douglas holding a gun. In the film, his character never used a gun. What's up with the 20th Century Fox marketing department trying to mislead potential viewers of this movie?


12 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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