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
697 ( 143)
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 Verheek
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

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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

The President questions Coal's idea of addressing the nation while wearing a cardigan sweater. This is based on a real-life incident in which then-president Jimmy Carter addressed the nation in a cardigan sweater during the height of the fuel shortages in the 1970s. See more »

Goofs

Justice Jensen is killed by Khamel using a rope to strangle him. It takes him no more than a second to kill him. It seems highly unlikely that one could strangle a person in just one second. However, the strangulation is not shown, but judging by Khamel's quick yank and the sound Jensen made, it seems likely that he successfully dislocated or crushed a vertebra in his neck, which would quickly cause suffocation. 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

Features Live with Kelly and Ryan (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Choral 'Komm, O Tod, Du Schlafes Bruder'
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig
Courtesy of Capriccio
By Arrangement with Source/Q
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User Reviews

 
Everyone I have told about the brief is dead.
14 August 2007 | by lastliberalSee all my reviews

Take any John Grisham novel and have it brought to screen, written and directed by Alan J. Pakula (Sophie's Choice, All the President's Men. To Kill a Mockingbird), and add Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington as the leads, and you have a movie that is worthy of 141 minutes of your life.

I love political films. You know that if you have read my reviews. Political thrillers are especially great. This one is well worth watching for the story, the directing, and, most especially, for the lead actors. I do not think that Washington and Roberts have ever disappointed me - OK, there was that License to Kill in 1984.

I won't synopsize - you can get that anywhere - but, I will say that you will not be disappointed. It's not a popcorn movie, you have to put some effort into watching it, but the rewards are great. And the chemistry between Roberts and Washington is fantastic!


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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
See more on IMDbPro »

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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