6.6/10
68,158
99 user 48 critic

The Pelican Brief (1993)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 17 December 1993 (USA)
Trailer
0:31 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
A law student uncovers a conspiracy, putting herself and others in danger.

Director:

Alan J. Pakula

Writers:

John Grisham (book), Alan J. Pakula (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
4,112 ( 703)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A quadriplegic ex-homicide detective and his female partner try to track down a serial killer who is terrorizing New York City.

Director: Phillip Noyce
Stars: Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Queen Latifah
Action | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A U.S. Army officer, despondent about a deadly mistake he made, investigates a female chopper commander's worthiness for the Medal of Honor.

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan, Lou Diamond Phillips
Crimson Tide (1995)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

On a U.S. nuclear missile sub, a young First Officer stages a mutiny, to prevent his trigger happy Captain from launching his missiles, before confirming his orders to do so.

Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington, Matt Craven
Action | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A man obsessed with conspiracy theories becomes a target after one of his theories turns out to be true. Unfortunately, in order to save himself, he has to figure out which theory it is.

Director: Richard Donner
Stars: Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart
Fallen (1998)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Homicide detective John Hobbes witnesses the execution of serial killer Edgar Reese. Soon after the execution the killings start again, and they are very similar to Reese's style.

Director: Gregory Hoblit
Stars: Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland
John Q (2002)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

John Quincy Archibald takes a hospital emergency room hostage when his insurance won't cover his son's heart transplant.

Director: Nick Cassavetes
Stars: Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall, Gabriela Oltean
The Siege (1998)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The secret U.S. abduction of a suspected terrorist leads to a wave of terrorist attacks in New York City, which leads to the declaration of martial-law.

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, Annette Bening
The Client (1994)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young boy who witnessed the suicide of a mafia lawyer hires an attorney to protect him when the District Attorney tries to use him to take down a mob family.

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Renfro
Out of Time I (2003)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A Florida police chief must solve a vicious double homicide before he himself falls under suspicion.

Director: Carl Franklin
Stars: Denzel Washington, Sanaa Lathan, Eva Mendes
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young woman fakes her own death in an attempt to escape her nightmarish marriage, but discovers it is impossible to elude her controlling husband.

Director: Joseph Ruben
Stars: Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin, Kevin Anderson
Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In the midst of the Gulf War, soldiers are kidnapped and brainwashed for sinister purposes.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep
The Hurricane (1999)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder, and the people who aided in his fight to prove his innocence.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Denzel Washington, Vicellous Shannon, Deborah Kara Unger
Edit

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
Edit

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:

From the author of "The Firm" and "The Client" and the director of "Presumed Innocent" and "All The President's Men." See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 December 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El informe Pelícano See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$45,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,864,404, 19 December 1993, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$100,768,056

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$195,268,056
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

FBI Director Denton Voyles also appeared in the John Grisham adaptation The Firm (1993), in which he was played by Steven Hill. See more »

Goofs

Jake Weber, who portrayed Curtis "Garcia" Morgan, is mistakenly credited as Charles Morgan. He is repeatedly referred to as Curtis Morgan, in particular when Darby goes to his firm to try to see him for an appointment. In fact, the student in the rehab center remembered his last name but did not remember his first name, and said his first name was "something like Charles, but that's not it." 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...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Lisa the Drama Queen (2009) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The best of the Grisham movies
11 August 2004 | by ShrykespeareSee all my reviews

Forget the plot holes. Forget the implausibility of the story. This is Grisham, the modern-day master of legal and political conspiracy and intrigue.

This movie centers on one thing: the chemistry between the on-screen duo of Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington. And they do not disappoint. Both give absolutely stellar performances, Washington as the reporter who desperately wants his story to see the light of day but is not afraid to let his compassion show through, and Roberts as a terrified law student engulfed in a situation where she is way over her head, trying simultaneously to survive and avenge the death of her lover. There is not one scene, not one bit of dialogue, verbal or non-verbal, that doesn't make be believe everything they say, and that is a testament to the acting abilities of Roberts and Washington, two of Hollywood's best.

For pretty much the entire second half of the movie, Denzel and Julia's characters work together to find proof of the conspiracy that resulted in the assassination of two Supreme Court judges, while at the same time dodging unscrupulous lawyers, heavies and an international hitman.

In their final scene together, when Darby is taking the FBI director's private plane out of the country, the bond that has grown between her and Gray is extremely noticeable. They deplane, and Gray shows Darby the headline exposing the conspiracy. Darby smiles, shakes Gray's hand, and proceeds to walk to the car that will take her to her new location.... but no, a handshake is just not enough, not after what they'd been through... so she goes back and gives Gray a huge hug, which he returns. The mutual respect is there for all to see. No words are spoken throughout the entire scene, they are not necessary.

Having read many of Grisham's books and seen all of the movies adapted from those books, I wondered how "The Pelican Brief" would stack up against all the others in the long run. In my opinion, it is still the best of the bunch.

My score: a solid 10.


50 of 77 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 99 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