MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 815 this week

A Civil Action (1998)

 -  Drama  -  8 January 1999 (USA)
6.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 20,580 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 175 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.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 23 Oct 2010
 
a list of 31 titles
created 21 Dec 2010
 
a list of 39 titles
created 14 Sep 2011
 
a list of 28 titles
created 09 Oct 2012
 
a list of 28 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "A Civil Action" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: A Civil Action (1998)

A Civil Action (1998) on IMDb 6.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of A Civil Action.

User Polls

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A man joins the political campaign of a smooth-operator candidate for president of the USA.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Kathy Bates
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When the daughter of a well-known and well-respected base commander is murdered, an undercover detective is summoned to look into the matter and finds a slew of cover-ups at West Point.

Director: Simon West
Stars: John Travolta, Madeleine Stowe, James Cromwell
Mad City (1997)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A disgruntled security guard holds a school trip group hostage, while a news reporter forms a bond with him.

Director: Costa-Gavras
Stars: John Travolta, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Alda
Lucky Numbers (2000)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

A television weatherman scams a local lottery.

Director: Nora Ephron
Stars: John Travolta, Lisa Kudrow, Tim Roth
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A divorced father discovers that his 12-year-old son's new stepfather is not what he made himself out to be.

Director: Harold Becker
Stars: John Travolta, Nick Loren, James Lashly
The Apostle (1997)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After his happy life spins out of control, a preacher from Texas changes his name, goes to Louisiana and starts preaching on the radio.

Director: Robert Duvall
Stars: Robert Duvall, Todd Allen, Paul Bagget
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

The story takes place in alternative America where the blacks are members of social elite, and whites are inhabitants of inner city ghettos. Louis Pinnock is a white worker in a chocolate ... See full summary »

Director: Desmond Nakano
Stars: John Travolta, Harry Belafonte, Kelly Lynch
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A broken-down, middle-aged country singer gets a new wife, reaches out to his long-lost daughter, and tries to put his troubled life back together.

Director: Bruce Beresford
Stars: Robert Duvall, Tess Harper, Betty Buckley
Phenomenon (1996)
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An ordinary man sees a bright light descend from the sky, and discovers he now has super-intelligence and telekinesis.

Director: Jon Turteltaub
Stars: John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick, Forest Whitaker
Michael (1996)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Two tabloid reporters checking out a report of the Archangel Michael living with an old woman find that it's true. But that's not the only surprise.

Director: Nora Ephron
Stars: John Travolta, Andie MacDowell, William Hurt
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A prepubescent chess prodigy refuses to harden himself in order to become a champion like the famous but unlikable Bobby Fischer.

Director: Steven Zaillian
Stars: Joe Mantegna, Ben Kingsley, Max Pomeranc
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

As he approaches manhood, Ben Meechum struggles to win the approval of his demanding alpha male father, an aggressively competitive, but frustrated marine pilot.

Director: Lewis John Carlino
Stars: Robert Duvall, Blythe Danner, Michael O'Keefe
Edit

Cast

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

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Zivilprozeß  »

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:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A number of scenes described in the book are reproduced in the film, such as Facher's asking for the hotel pen at the settlement conference, Schlictmann's meeting with Eustis at the Harvard Club in New York, Gordon's attempts to keep the firm solvent (even purchasing lottery tickets and giving money to televangelists) and Riley's behavior at his deposition. See more »

Goofs

In the Crane vs. Massachusetts General Hospital case with the wheelchair plaintiff, the defense lawyer writes a settlement offer for $1.2 million on a Post-It note with a Mont Blanc tapered tip pen but the scene cuts back to the amount being written with a flat top Waterman. 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 ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in The 56th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1999) 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

 
Straightforward legal case with environmental overtures...
20 June 2006 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

John Travolta gives a dandy performance as a cocky Boston personal injury lawyer who heads up a small but burgeoning firm, almost passing up on headline-making case of a major food company subsidiary found to be dumping toxic chemicals into the water supply of a small-town Massachusettes town, causing many of the children there to get sick or die. Neatly directed and scripted film from Jonathan Harr's factual book allows for both legal statistics and some dry legal humor, and avoids exploiting an emotionally-wrenching theme (the death of children) for hug-tugging sentiment. The film is direct and compact, pausing only occasionally for a dramatic character turn, and is handsomely-made if not terrifically entertaining. Travolta and nemesis lawyer Robert Duvall (smiling like the Cheshire Cat) are wonderful to watch sparring with one another, and the specifics of the case are intriguing. **1/2 from ****


10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Best Law Student Movie to Watch blaviage-1
More movies like 'A Civil Action' shrekkie
Watching this movie in Chemistry. ecwmanbeastss
Why is Jan broke at the end? correo-8
What I don't understand about the money markusschneider0815
The End of the Movie greeninc13
Discuss A Civil Action (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?