List of the Top Courtroom Drama Movies of All Time

by biso222 | created - 02 Dec 2012 | updated - 02 Dec 2012 | Public
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1. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Not Rated | 129 min | Crime, Drama

87 Metascore

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.

Director: Robert Mulligan | Stars: Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy

Votes: 262,627

To Kill a Mockingbird Tops on any list. Gregory Peck's best performance.

2. Primal Fear (1996)

R | 129 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

47 Metascore

An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.

Director: Gregory Hoblit | Stars: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Edward Norton, John Mahoney

Votes: 156,947 | Gross: $56.12M

3. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)

Not Rated | 150 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: Tony Brooks, Diana Davis, Terry Wood, Dick Clay

Votes: 13,150

4. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Crime, Drama

96 Metascore

A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler

Votes: 565,940 | Gross: $4.36M

5. Erin Brockovich (2000)

R | 131 min | Biography, Drama

73 Metascore

An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin, Dawn Didawick

Votes: 153,822 | Gross: $125.60M

6. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

PG-13 | 119 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

46 Metascore

A lawyer takes on a negligent homicide case involving a priest who performed an exorcism on a young girl.

Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Campbell Scott

Votes: 108,684 | Gross: $75.07M

7. The Accused (1988)

R | 111 min | Drama

65 Metascore

After a young woman suffers a brutal gang rape in a bar one night, a prosecutor assists in bringing the perpetrators to justice, including the ones who encouraged and cheered on the attack.

Director: Jonathan Kaplan | Stars: Kelly McGillis, Jodie Foster, Bernie Coulson, Leo Rossi

Votes: 27,971 | Gross: $32.07M

8. Michael Clayton (2007)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

82 Metascore

A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multibillion-dollar class action suit.

Director: Tony Gilroy | Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Michael O'Keefe

Votes: 146,511 | Gross: $49.03M

9. A Few Good Men (1992)

R | 138 min | Drama, Thriller

62 Metascore

Military lawyer Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee defends Marines accused of murder. They contend they were acting under orders.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon

Votes: 208,650 | Gross: $141.34M

10. A Soldier's Story (1984)

PG | 101 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An African American officer investigates a murder in a racially charged situation in World War II.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Howard E. Rollins Jr., Adolph Caesar, Art Evans, David Alan Grier

Votes: 7,742 | Gross: $21.82M

11. A Time to Kill (1996)

R | 149 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

54 Metascore

In Canton, Mississippi, a fearless young lawyer and his assistant defend a black man accused of murdering two white men who raped his ten-year-old daughter, inciting violent retribution and revenge from the Ku Klux Klan.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey

Votes: 115,763 | Gross: $108.77M

12. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Not Rated | 116 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A veteran British barrister must defend his client in a murder trial that has surprise after surprise.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester

Votes: 86,489 | Gross: $8.18M

13. Presumed Innocent (1990)

R | 127 min | Mystery, Thriller

72 Metascore

As a lawyer investigates the murder of a colleague, he finds himself more connected to the crime than anyone else.

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Harrison Ford, Raul Julia, Greta Scacchi, Brian Dennehy

Votes: 33,583 | Gross: $86.30M

14. The Young Philadelphians (1959)

Approved | 136 min | Drama

A promising lawyer tries to handle his social and professional problems while climbing the ranks in Philadelphia.

Director: Vincent Sherman | Stars: Paul Newman, Barbara Rush, Alexis Smith, Brian Keith

Votes: 2,770

15. The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)

G | 90 min | Comedy, Family, Mystery

Luther Heggs aspires to be a reporter for his small town newspaper, the Rachel Courier Express. He gets his big break when the editor asks him to spend the night at the Simmons mansion that... See full summary »

Director: Alan Rafkin | Stars: Don Knotts, Joan Staley, Liam Redmond, Dick Sargent

Votes: 5,037

16. Fury (1936)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

When a wrongly accused prisoner barely survives a lynch mob attack and is presumed dead, he vindictively decides to fake his death and frame the mob for his supposed murder.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Spencer Tracy, Walter Abel, Bruce Cabot

Votes: 9,998

17. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Not Rated | 160 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

In a murder trial, the defendant says he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. What is the truth, and will he win his case?

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell

Votes: 52,576 | Gross: $11.90M

18. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Not Rated | 186 min | Drama, War

60 Metascore

In 1948, an American court in occupied Germany tries four Nazi judges for war crimes.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich

Votes: 58,860

19. Inherit the Wind (1960)

Not Rated | 128 min | Biography, Drama, History

Based on a real-life case in 1925, two great lawyers argue the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Dick York

Votes: 23,736

20. JFK (1991)

R | 189 min | Drama, History, Thriller

72 Metascore

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau

Votes: 127,938 | Gross: $70.41M

21. The Verdict (1982)

R | 129 min | Drama

77 Metascore

A lawyer sees the chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason

Votes: 31,205 | Gross: $54.00M

22. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

PG | 105 min | Drama

77 Metascore

Ted Kramer's wife leaves him, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.

Director: Robert Benton | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander, Justin Henry

Votes: 114,419 | Gross: $106.26M

23. My Cousin Vinny (1992)

R | 120 min | Comedy, Crime

68 Metascore

Two New Yorkers are accused of murder in rural Alabama while on their way back to college, and one of their cousins--an inexperienced, loudmouth lawyer not accustomed to Southern rules and manners--comes in to defend them.

Director: Jonathan Lynn | Stars: Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Ralph Macchio, Mitchell Whitfield

Votes: 93,696 | Gross: $52.93M

24. The Devil's Advocate (1997)

R | 144 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

60 Metascore

An exceptionally adept Florida lawyer is offered a job at a high-end New York City law firm with a high-end boss - the biggest opportunity of his career to date.

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, Jeffrey Jones

Votes: 294,110 | Gross: $60.98M



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