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The Star Chamber (1983)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 4,367 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 19 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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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
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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:

THEY HAVE COMMITED EVERY CRIME IN THE BOOK. Yet the law cannot touch them. They are free to walk the streets. UNTIL TONIGHT'S MEETING OF... [THE STAR CHAMBER] [UK Theatrical] 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:

A Câmara Secreta  »

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 names of the Star Chamber judges were Judge Hardin, Judge Caulfield, Judge Archer, Judge Stoner, Judge Kirkland, Judge Bocho, Judge Fogelson, Judge Lang and Judge Culhane. See more »

Goofs

During the chase scene between the Pontiac Firebird and the cops in the parking garage, several times skid marks can be seen along the path the cars follow. These marks follow through very narrow gaps between parked cars and concrete posts, areas in which cars would not normally travel. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Judges, Juries...And Executioners
8 February 2004 | by (San Gabriel, Ca., USA) – See all my reviews

The 1983 film THE STAR CHAMBER posits a situation that must seem outlandish, but does go right to the root of our justice system. What if a secret cabal of judges were set up to pass their own verdicts on criminals who had gotten off on minor technicalities?

This is the problem facing Michael Douglas, who portrays an idealistic judge of the L.A. Superior Court who finds himself being forced to free criminals up on charges that include kidnapping and murder because the police bent the law a bit to get the evidence that would send "the bad guys" to jail for life or possibly to Death Row. Douglas later learns from his mentor (the always watchable Hal Holbrook) about a secret cabal of judges--a Star Chamber--that metes out its own brand of justice against those it feels have wrongly been set free. As a result, numerous criminals wind up getting executed. The further Douglas gets into the Star Chamber, however, the more he realizes that the cure these judges propose to rid society of criminal disease is far worse than the disease itself.

Though it is not always plausible, THE STAR CHAMBER is nevertheless compelling, with Douglas and Holbrook giving standout performances under the direction of Peter Hyams (OUTLAND; CAPRICORN ONE; 2010), who co-wrote the film's script with Roderick Taylor. Some might compare it to the 1973 Dirty Harry film MAGNUM FORCE (in which the cops take the law into their own hands), and many would say its theme of vigilante judges is drenched in right-wing gilt, but I don't think that's the case. This is one of those films that definitely makes you think; and while THE STAR CHAMBER may have been released twenty years ago, its themes still hold up in a world where, rightly or wrongly, people see the justice system as too slanted in favor of the criminals.


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