6.3/10
5,547
43 user 20 critic

The Star Chamber (1983)

Disgusted with criminals escaping the judicial system via technicalities, an idealistic young judge investigates an alternative method for punishing the guilty.

Director:

Peter Hyams

Writers:

Roderick Taylor (screenplay), Peter Hyams (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Narrow Margin (1990)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney is sent to protect a woman who accidentally witnessed a Mafia murder.

Director: Peter Hyams
Stars: Gene Hackman, Anne Archer, James Sikking
Coma (1978)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When a young female doctor notices an unnatural amount of comas occurring in her hospital she uncovers a horrible conspiracy.

Director: Michael Crichton
Stars: Michael Douglas, Rip Torn, Geneviève Bujold
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A reporter finds what appears to be a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant.

Director: James Bridges
Stars: Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas
Running (1979)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

American marathon runner Michael Andropolis sets his heart on representing his country at the Olympic games. Meanwhile his marriage has fallen apart and his children have no respect for him... See full summary »

Director: Steven Hilliard Stern
Stars: Michael Douglas, Susan Anspach, Lawrence Dane
The Presidio (1988)
Action | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A San Francisco civilian police detective is forced to work on a series of murders with his former enemy commanding officer while dating his daughter.

Director: Peter Hyams
Stars: Sean Connery, Mark Harmon, Meg Ryan
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A married couple try everything to get each other to leave the house in a vicious divorce battle.

Director: Danny DeVito
Stars: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An American woman of Irish, Jewish-German parentage goes undercover in Nazi Germany.

Director: David Seltzer
Stars: Michael Douglas, Melanie Griffith, Liam Neeson
Capricorn One (1977)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A NASA Mars mission won't work, and its funding is endangered, so they decide to fake it just this once. But then they have to keep the secret.

Director: Peter Hyams
Stars: Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Brenda Vaccaro
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When Joan Wilder is abducted while on a trip along the Nile, her boyfriend, Jack Colton, and pal Ralph rush to rescue her and retrieve a fabled jewel.

Director: Lewis Teague
Stars: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
A Chorus Line (1985)
Drama | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Hopefuls try out before a demanding director for a part in a new musical.

Director: Richard Attenborough
Stars: Michael Douglas, Terrence Mann, Michael Blevins
It's My Turn (1980)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A successful but stressed mathematics professor (Clayburgh) goes to her father's wedding and falls in love with her father's bride's son (Douglas), a prematurely retired pro baseball player... See full summary »

Director: Claudia Weill
Stars: Jill Clayburgh, Michael Douglas, Charles Grodin
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Douglas ... Superior Court Judge Steven R. Hardin
Hal Holbrook ... Judge Benjamin Caulfield
Yaphet Kotto ... Det. Harry Lowes
Sharon Gless ... Emily Hardin
James Sikking ... Dr. Harold Lewin (as James B. Sikking)
Joe Regalbuto ... Arthur Cooms
Don Calfa ... Lawrence Monk
John DiSanti ... Det. James Wickman
Otis Day ... Stanley Flowers (as DeWayne Jessie)
Jack Kehoe ... Hingle
Larry Hankin ... Det. Kenneth Wiggan
Dick Anthony Williams ... Det. Paul Mackey
Margie Impert Margie Impert ... Louise Pacinni
Dana Gladstone ... Dept. Dist. Atty. Martin Hyatt
David Proval ... Officer Nelson
Edit

Storyline

Disgusted with criminals escaping the judicial system via technicalities, an idealistic young judge investigates an alternative method for punishing the guilty. Written by <bentley@access.digex.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They meet. They judge. They execute... All in the name of the law. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 August 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ein Richter sieht rot See more »

Filming Locations:

Long Beach, California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,980,105, 7 August 1983, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$5,555,305
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Roderick Taylor was inspired to write the film's screenplay from a series of true crime stories which had been published in 'The Los Angeles Times'. See more »

Goofs

At the Atlanta Braves game Michael Douglas is sitting next to Hal Holbrook to Holbrook's left. In two wide angle shots of the seats Michael Douglas does not appear. Just Holbrook's wife and Douglas' wife. See more »

Quotes

Judge Benjamin Caulfield: Someone has taken justice and hidden it in the law.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Actress Fritzi Burr's performance as Judge Alice McCardle was accidentally left of the movie's credits. The 10th August 1983 edition of show-business trade paper 'Daily Variety' reports that Peter Hyams, producer Frank Yablans and the 20th Century Fox Film Corporation ran an advertisement apologizing for this mistake and oversight and praising Burr for her acting contribution to the movie. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Boys in the Brigade
Perffomed by Youth Brigade
courtesy of Better Youth Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Intelligent debate film but has a clumsy conclusion
11 January 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Judge Hardin has a problem. He is beginning to be disillusioned by the legal system he represents and is repeatedly forced to release people who are clearly guilty due to legal technicalities set-up to protect the innocent. When the torture and murder of children comes before his court he is forced to release the suspects leading him to join a select court of Judges who are self appointed to a shadowy group that pass judgment behind closed doors before employing a hitman to carry out the sentence. However it doesn't take long before developments show Hardin the limitations of this alternative version of justice.

The story here is in two parts. First we have the investigation side where Detective Lowes and others try to catch the child killers, but we also have the side with Hardin and the other Judges. The latter allows the film to debate the issues of justice and the legal system using the former as the catalyst for the debate. Both strands are fascinating when separate however when the two come together for the conclusion it doesn't quite work. The film is then forced to pick a side and manages to fudge it a bit and lose it's way. Up until then it's a great piece of work that makes intelligent argument both in attack and defence of the legal system. The film is still relevant today - in the UK we recently saw the alleged Lawrence killers walk free despite overwhelming evidence due to technicalities - in fact it is probably more relevant than it was then.

The cast are roundly good - Douglas is good despite his slight scout style character. Holbrook does one of the best performances I've seen him give and Kotto adds some real class. It also gives small roles to Gless and David Proval (Ritchie in The Sopranos). The only weak link are the bug-eyed performances of suspected murders Monk and Cooms who are almost like cartoon characters at times.

Overall an intelligent film that manages to hold a clever debate before blowing it with a ham-fisted conclusion.


24 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 43 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed