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The Star Chamber (1983)

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



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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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 ...
Det. Kenneth Wiggan
Det. Paul Mackey
Margie Impert ...
Louise Pacinni
Dana Gladstone ...
Dept. Dist. Atty. Martin Hyatt
Officer Nelson


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


They are the most powerful members of our community. They have a shattering secret. A secret that will affect us all. Only one man is willing to stop them. On August 5, you'll know who they really are. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 August 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ein Richter sieht rot  »

Box Office


$5,600,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This 1983 picture was the second legal drama in consecutive years for the 20th Century Fox Studio who the previously year had produced 1982's The Verdict (1982). Both that movie and The Star Chamber (1983) were legal thrillers which had "The ... " type titles. This was something which would become popular with Hollywood in the later 1990s decade with various filmed adaptations of John Grisham stories [viz: The Firm (1993), The Client (1994), The Chamber (1996), The Rainmaker (1997), The Pelican Brief (1993) and The Gingerbread Man (1998)]. See more »


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


Superior Court Judge Steven R. Hardin: There's a lot of nobility in this room. Must be the paneling.
See more »


Referenced in Caroline in the City: Caroline and the Ultimatum (1999) See more »


Boys in the Brigade
Perffomed by Youth Brigade
courtesy of Better Youth Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Most Secret Society
3 March 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The Star Chamber is a film that operates under the premise that the legal system has gone awry and it's up to the judges to apply corrective action to the decisions they officially make in court. Interestingly enough Hal Holbrook who came to that conclusion as Lieutenant Briggs in the Dirty Harry film Magnum Force, is now taking a similar position as a judge.

Michael Douglas as a young Superior Court Judge in Los Angeles has reached the same crossroads. After a couple of decisions on procedure that resulted in criminals being cut loose, he starts to question whether the whole criminal justice system is out of whack. That's when Hal Holbrook tells him about a most secret society.

A panel of nine judges have taken it upon themselves to overrule their own rulings. Douglas eagerly joins them, but certain things to go off course for him and he questions whether he's made the right career move.

The cases that Douglas came a cropper on is stuff straight out of the Law and Order episode file. In that series sometimes I think the judge's rulings are somewhat bizarre. Of course in that series it just makes Jack McCoy and his successor try all the harder to win.

It's a nice film, but I do get the feeling that Star Chamber is a Law and Order episode stretched out for a feature film.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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