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A Civil Action (1998)

 -  Drama  -  8 January 1999 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 21,053 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 176 user | 109 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

The families of children who died sue two companies for dumping toxic waste: a tort so expensive to prove, the case could bankrupt their lawyer.

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Title: A Civil Action (1998)

A Civil Action (1998) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Bruce Norris ...
William Cheeseman
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Neil Jacobs
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Pinder
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Richard Aufiero
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Al Eustis
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Storyline

Jan Schlichtmann, a tenacious lawyer, is addressed by a group of families. When investigating the seemingly non-profiting case, he finds it to be a major environmental issue that has a lot of impact potential. A leather production company could be responsible for several deadly cases of leukemia, but also is the main employer for the area. Schlichtmann and his three colleagues set out to have the company forced to decontaminate the affected areas, and of course to sue for a major sum of compensation. But the lawyers of the leather company's mother company are not easy to get to, and soon Schlichtmann and his friends find themselves in a battle of mere survival. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Justice has its price.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Una acción civil  »

Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£332,872 (UK) (9 April 1999)

Gross:

$56,702,901 (USA) (30 April 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on a true story. See more »

Goofs

Jan races his Porsche toward Woburn to meet with the families for the first time. He zooms along one distinctive stretch of road and in the next scene he is being given a speeding ticket on a bridge. When he leaves Woburn, he is seen racing along the same stretch of road, only to be stopped again on the same bridge. The bridge has moved from being after the stretch of road heading into Woburn, to being after the same stretch when driving away from Woburn. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jan Schlichtmann: [narrating] It's like this. A dead plaintiff is rarely worth as much as a living, severely-maimed plaintiff. However, if it's a long slow agonizing death, as opposed to a quick drowning or car wreck, the value can rise considerably. A dead adult in his 20s is generally worth less than one who is middle aged. A dead woman less than a dead man. A single adult less than one who's married. Black less than white. Poor less than rich. The perfect victim is a white male professional, 40 ...
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Crazy Credits

The producers wish to thank the people of Boston, Waltham, Northbridge, Charlestown, Dedham, Brimfield and Palmer, MA. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Hard Workin' Man
(1978)
Music by Jack Nitzsche
Lyrics by Jack Nitzsche, Ry Cooder, Paul Schrader
Performed by Don Van Vliet (as Captain Beefheart)
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Civil Action
25 July 1999 | by (Marietta, OH) – See all my reviews

Engrossing drama about a slick lawyer (Travolta) who takes on a civil case involving the death of eight children from leukimia after toxic chemicals were dumped into the water supply in a small Massachusetts town. Taken at first for the glory, but when the case becomes a issue worth fighting for, the lawyer learns more about humanity and passion than he ever knew. Startling film under the direction of Steven Zallian with standout performances from Duvall, scene stealing as Travolta's pompous courtroom adversary and Macy, razor sharp as always, as financial advisor at Travolta's firm.


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