A New York City narcotics detective reluctantly agrees to cooperate with a special commission investigating police corruption. However, he soon discovers that he's in over his head, and nobody can be trusted.
Frank Galvin was once a promising Boston lawyer with a bright future ahead. An incident early in his career in which he was trying to do the right thing led to him being fired from the prestigious law firm with which he was working, almost being disbarred, and his wife leaving him. Continually drowning his sorrows in booze, he is now an ambulance chasing lawyer, preying on the weak and vulnerable, and bending the truth whenever necessary to make what few dollars he has, as he has only had a few cases in the last few years, losing the last four. His only friend in the profession is his now retired ex-partner, Mickey Morrissey, who gets Frank a case, his fee solely a percentage of what his clients are awarded. The case should net Frank tens of thousands of dollars by settling out of court, that money which would at least get him back on his feet. It is a negligence suit brought on behalf of Deborah Ann Kaye by her sister and brother-in-law, Sally and Kevin Doneghy, against St. Catherine...Written by
As recommended to the producers by Robert Redford, writer-director James Bridges was going to write the film's screenplay, and even direct the film at one point, and ended up writing several drafts of the screenplay. Reportedly, Bridges left the project when Robert Redford didn't like any of his scripts. See more »
In the climactic courtroom scene, when Frank calls Kaitlin to the stand, Concannon is flustered and confers with one of his lawyers. We then see the lawyer leave the courtroom, presumably having been given some direction by Concannon. Later, after Kaitlin has been questioned by Frank and cross-examined by Concannon, the lawyer returns with a book containing the case Concannon cites to get the judge to disallow the admittance of the photocopy of the hospital admission form as evidence. However, at the point at which Concannon calls the lawyer over and then, presumably, sends him out to "find" this book/case, he doesn't even know about the existence of the photocopy because he hasn't yet questioned Kaitlin; it's during his questioning of Kaitlin that she reveals she has a photocopy of the form. So there's no way the lawyer would have known to go out and find a case regarding the inadmissibility of a photocopy. See more »
[testifying why she kept a copy of the admittance form]
After the operation, when that poor girl she went into a coma, Dr. Towler called me in. He told me that he'd had five difficult deliveries in a row and he was tired... and he never looked at the admittance form. And he told me to change the form. He told me to change the '1' to a '9'... or else... or else he said, he said he'd fire me. He said I'd never work again. Who were these men? Who were these men? I wanted to be a nurse!
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The difference between what is legal and what is just
I like that this film shows how the criminal justice system, solid though it is, has cracks that can prevent justice being done, and that the people participating in it have to have the courage to recognize them. This film has turned out to be a seminal one: legal drama has turned overwhelmingly to rumination of the moral interstices of the law like the one portrayed here. Without "The Verdict," we wouldn't have "The Practice." Gone are the days when all of Perry Mason's clients were innocent.
Paul Newman's performance has been justifiably enshrined in the pantheon of Circumstances When The Academy Dropped The Ball. But what made the film a truly emotional performance for me was Lindsay Crouse as the pivotal witness. The entire ensemble was flawless, as was the incredible atmosphere. "The Verdict" is probably too serious for some movie fans, and that's OK--no film can please everyone. But if you like to be given something to think about by your entertainments, this is the film for you.
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