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The Judge (2014)

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Big-city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his father, the town's judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1,125 ( 71)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
C.P. Kennedy
Judge Warren
Lauren Palmer
Deputy Hanson
Mike Kattan
Mrs. Blackwell
Lisa Palmer


Hank Palmer is a successful defense attorney in Chicago, who is getting a divorce. When His brother calls with the news that their mother has died, Hank returns to his childhood home to attend the funeral. Despite the brittle bond between Hank and the Judge, Hank must come to his father's aid and defend him in court. Here, Hank discovers the truth behind the case, which binds together the dysfunctional family and reveals the struggles and secrecy of the family. Written by Warren D'Souza

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Defend your Honor.


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »



Release Date:

10 October 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El juez  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,116,226 (USA) (10 October 2014)


$47,105,085 (USA) (9 January 2015)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There are several connections to Sherlock Holmes in this movie. Robert Downey Jr. played Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011). Vincent D'Onofrio played Moriarty in Sherlock (2002), and a Holmes-like detective on Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001). Robert Duvall played Doctor Watson in The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976). See more »


When Hank walks in on the Sheriff and his deputies questioning his father, he mentions that he remembered one of the deputies in high school in the back seat of his Ranchero. Ford Ranchero's only came with two seats. See more »


[first lines]
Mike Kattan: [stomping into the mens room] You're not getting away with this. Palmer, you asshole!... Hey!
Hank Palmer: [turning toward him getting him wet] Yeah. Oops.
See more »


Written by Justin Vernon
Performed by Bon Iver
Courtesy of Jagjaguwar
By arrangement with Bank Robber Music
See more »

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User Reviews

Prodigal or survivor?
10 September 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

What happens when you go back to that small town that was home? Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) reluctantly goes back home to honor his mother at her death and faces the battles that he strategically retreated from when he went to college. This film takes an unmitigated look at Midwestern family life from the point of view of the returning son. Prodigal or survivor?

The disputes and other scenes of life are realistically represented with Hank facing his father, Joseph, and the rest of the town the way every battle-hardened small-town returnee would love to do. The strong disputes and unflinching negotiations that Hank and Joseph go through lead to an imperfect peace.

Robert Duvall does a superb job of portraying Hank's father. Where others would let Hank soften under his father's pressure and training, Robert Downey Jr. keeps Hank strong and sharp. In his best role yet, Robert Downey Jr. shows us that he has matured into one of the solid actors working today. You will see them both at the Oscars.

The Judge is one of those rare films that tell a strong story without selling out to the usual Hollywood exaggerations. I saw this movie at TIFF through the eyes of a small-town daughter who made her break to the city to get out from under the strong influence of her father. This film evoked the strong emotions that I keep buried.

Thank you Robert Duvall, Robert Downey Jr., and every individual involved for giving a voice to people like me! Thank you Robert Downey Jr. for keeping Hank strong with a good heart.

The Judge will prove to be a classic. See it! You will be glad you did.

183 of 247 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Totally overrated. Nothing really happens. Boring lgalnares
the spinning chair scene at the end... Ali-Sommane
Am I the only one that noticed jew_59
Kinda felt like a comedy..? hysterryes
am i the only one that's noticing ppl on here datgurlsam
Too little Robert Downey Jr and Vera Farmiga's scene! ahling_2809
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