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

Writers:

Wendell Mayes (screenplay), John D. Voelker (based on the novel by) (as Robert Traver)
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Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Stewart ... Paul Biegler
Lee Remick ... Laura Manion
Ben Gazzara ... Lt. Frederick Manion
Arthur O'Connell ... Parnell Emmett McCarthy
Eve Arden ... Maida Rutledge
Kathryn Grant ... Mary Pilant
George C. Scott ... Claude Dancer
Orson Bean ... Dr. Matthew Smith
Russ Brown Russ Brown ... George Lemon
Murray Hamilton ... Alphonse Paquette
Brooks West ... Dist. Atty. Mitch Lodwick
Ken Lynch ... Det. Sgt. James Durgo
John Qualen ... Deputy Sheriff Sulo
Howard McNear ... Dr. Dompierre
Alexander Campbell ... Dr. W. Gregory Harcourt
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Storyline

Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara), a lieutenant in the army, is arrested for the murder of a bartender, Barney Quill. He claims, in his defense, that the victim had raped and beaten up his wife Laura (Lee Remick). Although Laura supports her husband's story, the local paper has reported that the police surgeon can find no evidence that she has been raped. Manion is defended by Paul Biegler (James Stewart), a humble small-town lawyer and recently deposed district attorney. During the course of interviews, Biegler discovers that Manion is violently possessive and jealous, and also that his wife has a reputation for flirting with other men. Biegler realizes that the prosecution will try to make the court believe that Laura had been drunk and was picked up by the bartender and then her husband killed him and beat her up when he discovered they had been together. Manion pleads "not guilty" and Biegler, who knows that his case is weak, tries to find evidence that will save Manion. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No search of human emotions has ever probed so deeply, so truthfully as ... Anatomy of a Murder. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Otto Preminger sued "Columbia Pictures" and its TV subsidiary "Screen Gems" when it sold this film in a package of 60 films to television for $10 million. In New York, ABC interrupted the 160-minute film 13 times with 36 commercials. Preminger was furious that his film was being mutilated and took them to court in a highly publicized case. He lost. See more »

Goofs

When Lt. Manion returns from psychological examination, he chats with his attorney, Paul Biegler, at the train station. The shadow of a crew member falls on Biegler. See more »

Quotes

[Judge Weaver has stopped the testimony by Detective Sergeant James Durgo, State Police, and called the lawyers to his bench]
Judge Weaver: Mr. Biegler, you finally got your rape into the case, and I think all the details should now be made clear to the jury. What exactly was the undergarment just referred to?
Paul Biegler: Panties, Your Honor.
Judge Weaver: Do you expect this subject to come up again?
Paul Biegler: Yes, Sir.
Judge Weaver: There's a certain light connotation attached to the word "panties." Can we find another name for them?
Mitch Lodwick: I never heard my wife call '...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Movie Lawyers (2013) See more »

User Reviews

 
One of my favorites
10 May 2005 | by swamigerSee all my reviews

First of all be patient as the following information is getting to a point that might add to your appreciation of the movie. I became aware of the following information while attending Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI over a few tall drinks with John D. Volker, the author, years ago.

This great courtroom drama is set in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. To be more specific the cities of Marquette, Negaunee and Ishpeming and the village of Big Bay and is based on a true murder case that took place there. The names of the cities and people are changed in the movie but it is filmed on the same locations that the murder case took place. The screenplay was written by John D. Volker (who wrote his novels under the pen name Robert Travers) and was based on his first novel. He was from Ishpeming (Iron City in the movie) and a Michigan Supreme Court Justice when he reviewed the appeal of this case and turned it into a detailed novel and then screenplay. The movie is given an extra dose of authenticity by using the unique people of the Upper Peninsula as extras and in minor roles.

The point of all this historical information is that along with a hard hitting realistic style by director Otto Premenger, great score by Duke Ellington, plus top notch true to life performances by the excellent cast (Jimmy Stewart, Ben Gazara, Lee Remick, George C. Scott, et.al) this black and white film is more reality than fiction and being aware of this adds to impact of this psychological courtroom drama. This is a true human experience written by an author from the area directly from the original court transcripts, filmed where it happened in a style that fits the subject matter where it actually happened with a cast that really knows what they are doing.

If you like ripped from reality courtroom dramas, does it get better?


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 July 1959 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Anatomy of a Murder See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$11,900,000
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Otto Preminger Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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