6.6/10
77,755
121 user 58 critic

The Pelican Brief (1993)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 17 December 1993 (USA)
Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
A law student uncovers a conspiracy, putting herself and others in danger.

Director:

Alan J. Pakula

Writers:

John Grisham (book), Alan J. Pakula (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,959 ( 216)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julia Roberts ... Darby Shaw
Denzel Washington ... Gray Grantham
Sam Shepard ... Thomas Callahan
John Heard ... Gavin Vereek
Tony Goldwyn ... Fletcher Coal
James Sikking ... FBI Director Denton Voyles (as James B. Sikking)
William Atherton ... Bob Gminski
Robert Culp ... President
Stanley Tucci ... Khamel
Hume Cronyn ... Justice Rosenberg
John Lithgow ... Smith Keen
Anthony Heald ... Marty Velmano
Nicholas Woodeson ... Stump
Stanley Anderson ... Edwin Sneller
John Finn ... Matthew Barr
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Storyline

Two Supreme Court Justices have been killed. Now a college professor, who clerked for one of the two men and who is also having an affair with one of his students, is given a brief by her that states who probably wanted to see these two men dead. He then gives it to one of his friends, who works for the FBI. When the FBI director reads it, he is fascinated by it. One of the president's men who read it is afraid that if it ever got out, the president could be smeared. So he advises the president to tell the director to drop it, which he does. But later the professor and the girl were out and he was drunk and when he refused to give her the keys, she stepped out of the car. When he started it, it blew up. She then discovers that her place has been burglarized and what was taken were her computer and her disks. Obviously, her brief has someone agitated. She then turns to her boyfriend's friend at the FBI. He agrees to come meet her but before he does, someone shoots him and takes his ... Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Two Supreme Court Justices have been assassinated. One lone law student has stumbled upon the truth. An investigative journalist wants her story. Everybody else wants her dead. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for momentary language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Rudd named his daughter after Julia Roberts character Darby. See more »

Goofs

After reading Darby's brief in her hotel room, Gray asks her to tell him her "real name" (she's aliased "Alice"). Her full name was on the title page of the brief he'd just read. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Justice Rosenberg: Any of those signs got my name on 'em?
Gray Grantham: Quite a few.
Justice Rosenberg: What do they say?
Gray Grantham: The usual: Death to Rosenberg, Retire Rosenberg, Cut off the oxygen.
Justice Rosenberg: [laughs] That's my favorite. Of course you, Mr Grantham, did pretty good by me your last time out: Rosenberg equals the government over business, the individual over government, the environment over everything. And the Indians? Oh, give 'em whatever they want.
Gray Grantham: Well with all due respects sir, that wasn't my line, that was a quote.
Justice Rosenberg: From one of your ...
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Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #22.20 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Chain Of Fools
Written by Don Covay
Performed by Aretha Franklin
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

 
Scary political thriller works due to good script, fine performances...
10 January 2007 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

JULIA ROBERTS is a damsel in distress when she writes a brief, theorizing what and who was behind the murder of two Supreme Court justices. DENZEL WASHINGTON is the investigative reporter who sees some merit in her theory and reluctantly decides to offer his help in tracking down the bad guys.

It's based on a terrific John Grisham thriller and given a well crafted script, good performances and taut direction from Alan J. Pakula. I'm not a fan of either Roherts or Washington, so for me to praise this movie shows you how suspenseful and entertaining it is as a thriller.

The overrated Julia Roberts is a huge box-office star who never once appealed to me despite her enormous popularity and Denzel Washington is a competent actor who sometimes does extra fine work--but neither one would win a popularity poll with me.

So, with that personal bias showing, I still give THE PELICAN BRIEF a respectable rating because it does what it sets out to do--it keeps you hooked until the ending after a few unexpected plot twists totally in keeping with this kind of story where the heroine is in peril because she knows too much.

Well worth a view.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 December 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Pelican Brief See more »

Filming Locations:

Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,864,404, 19 December 1993

Gross USA:

$100,768,056

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$195,268,056
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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