6.3/10
5,222
40 user 20 critic

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.

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Writers:

(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
...
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:

The only one willing to stop them is one of their own. And when you know who they really are, you'll wish you didn't. 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:

Ein Richter sieht rot  »

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:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Roderick Taylor, the film's screenwriter, in this movie wanted to explore the legal loopholes and legal technicalities that allowed criminals to walk free and get off or get reduced sentences or receive parole, as well as the lobby groups that rallied for more punitive punishments for repeat offenders. 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

Judge Benjamin Caulfield: It's always been a game, only now the bad guys have a stronger team, got a better draft.
Superior Court Judge Steven R. Hardin: You know I took a lot of notes in your class and I can never remember you saying anything quite like that.
Judge Benjamin Caulfield: You should have taken fewer notes and listened more.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Actress Fritzi Burr's performance as Judge Alice McCardle was accidentally left of the movie's credits. The 10th August 1983 edition of show-business trade paper 'Daily Variety' reports that Peter Hyams, producer Frank Yablans and the 20th Century Fox Film Corporation ran an advertisement apologizing for this mistake and oversight and praising Burr for her acting contribution to the movie. See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

New Church
Performed by The Lords of the New Church
Written by Brian James (uncredited) and Stiv Bators (uncredited)
courtesy of IRS Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fairly impressive early effort from Douglas
1 February 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs

In one of his earlier features,Michael Douglas plays a young judge who becomes disillusioned with the law system he used to so admire when he finds himself continually having to aquit particularly dispicable criminals on the grounds of ridiculous technicalities.Sensing his frustration,a close friend (Hal Holbrook) informs him of a secret judicial society that meets and dishes out the appropriate punishment to those who have escaped the clutches of the law.However,events take a turn for the worst as the wheels get set too far in motion and he finds himself having to turn against this group and bring them down.With the aid of an inquisitive detective (Yaphet Kotto) this proves easier than anticipated.

The whole thing weirdly ends up emerging as some sort of left-wing statement against the death penalty and the complications that could arise with it,in much the same way as the Kevin Spacey/Kate Winslet thriller The Life of David Gale would 20 years later.In this sense,it makes it's point fairly well,although the plot does seem to borrow rather too heavily from Clint Eastwood's Magnum Force to have the full lasting impact it could have had and it has a kind of far-fetched,unintentionally surreal feel to it that ultimately clouded my judgement.The odd title is never really explained or delved in to with much detail either.

Still,for all these criticisms,it's riveting and consistently exciting enough to sustain your interest till the end,which,ironically for how unbelievable the plot is in some respects,is extremely believable and satisfactory.This star chamber is lucky enough to be granted two more from this generous benefactor.***


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