7.9/10
40,157
315 user 184 critic

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

Trailer
2:46 | Trailer
The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.

Director:

Aaron Sorkin

Writer:

Aaron Sorkin
Reviews
Popularity
2 ( 2)

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eddie Redmayne ... Tom Hayden
Alex Sharp ... Rennie Davis
Sacha Baron Cohen ... Abbie Hoffman
Jeremy Strong ... Jerry Rubin
John Carroll Lynch ... David Dellinger
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II ... Bobby Seale
Mark Rylance ... William Kunstler
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... Richard Schultz
Ben Shenkman ... Leonard Weinglass
J.C. MacKenzie ... Thomas Foran
Frank Langella ... Judge Julius Hoffman
Danny Flaherty ... John Froines
Noah Robbins ... Lee Weiner
John Doman ... John Mitchell
Michael Keaton ... Ramsey Clark
Edit

Storyline

In Chicago 1968, the Democratic Party Convention was met with protests from activists like the moderate Students for a Democratic Society led by Tom Hayden and the militant Yippies led by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, which led to violent confrontations with the local authorities. As a result, seven of the accused ringleaders are arraigned on charges like Conspiracy by the hostile Nixon administration, including Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers who was not involved in the incident. What follows is an unfair trial presided by the belligerent Judge Hoffman (No relation) and prosecuted by a reluctant but duty-bound Richard Schultz. As their pro bono lawyers face such odds, Hayden and his fellows are frustrated by the Yippies' outrageous antics undermining their defense in defiance of the system even while Seale is denied a chance to defend himself his way. Along the way, the Chicago 7 clash in their political philosophies even as they learn they need each other in this fight. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol1970@gmail.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, some violence, bloody images and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The cast features two Academy Award winners: Eddie Redmayne and Mark Rylance; as well as three Academy Award nominees: Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Keaton, and Frank Langella. Redmayne and Keaton competed against each other in 2015 for their respective films The Theory of Everything (2014) and Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014). Writer/director Aaron Sorkin is also an Academy Award winner. See more »

Goofs

When Rennie Davis and Tom Hayden are introduced, and they discuss their plans to a classroom full of students, an obvious tiling effect was implemented to the class. Several students who are seen down below can also be seen near the top simultaneously. See more »

Quotes

Tom Hayden: Are we using the trial to defend ourselves against very serious charges that could land us in prison for ten years, or to say a pointless "fuck you" to the establishment?
Jerry Rubin: Fuck you!
Tom Hayden: That is what I was afraid... Wait, I don't know if you were saying "fuck you" or answering.
Abbie Hoffman: ...I was also confused.
See more »


Soundtracks

Taps
Written by Daniel Butterfield
Arranged by Daniel Pemberton
See more »

User Reviews

 
Fiery, relevant depiction of an infamous trial
9 October 2020 | by PotassiumManSee all my reviews

Legal historians and courtroom drama fans will have a field day with this Aaron Sorkin film which depicts the trial of eight radical protesters who made a name for themselves in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. A disparate array of left-wing activists who took it upon themselves to demand an end to the Vietnam War instead became involved in the ghastly legal aftermath of the riots and thus faced criminal charges for allegedly instigating the violence. This film portrays the sham trial that took place.

Jospeh Gordon-Levitt, who has not been in anything good for a long time, is solid as the lead federal prosecutor who reluctantly takes on the assignment of trying to put the radical protesters behind bars. Mark Rylance's modest, down-to-earth demeanor makes him a rather peculiar fit to portray defense attorney William Kuntsler, the famous defense attorney well-known for his outspoken courtroom oratory and publicity hound antics. Frank Langella is flawless as Julius Hoffman, the judge who presided over this trial and whose combustible temper and tenuous mental faculties made him a ready target for ridicule from many, including those involved in the case. Edie Redmayne is excellent as Tom Hayden, the more pragmatic but equally passionate protester and defendant. Sacha Baron Cohen and Jeremy Strong are both stellar as defendants Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, respectively. Finally, Yahya Abdul Mateen II is eloquent as Bobby Seale, a Black Panther Party co-founder and the lone African-American defendant in the case.

There are discreet details about the trial I was hoping the film would cover. There is no mention of Bobby Seale's many colorful nicknames he assigned to the judge. It mentions the poet Alan Ginsberg only as a fellow protester, when in fact he was also called as one of several celebrity witnesses. So was the musician Judy Collins who began singing an anti-war song during her testimony. These, however, are minor oversights because the fundamental essence of this circus of a trial is effectively captured in the film. Unlike much of Sorkin's earlier work, the dialogue in this film is less grandiose and more straightforward. There are less pyrotechnics and more re-creation here. I mean that as a compliment. It's the perfect portrayal of a trial which turned out to be a low point in the history of American jurisprudence. It also expertly captures the schism within the American left and how the idealists and pragmatists often locked horns even back in the 1960s. Gripping, frightening and instructive in today's world, it is not to be missed. Highly recommended to all.


169 of 203 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 315 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA | UK | India

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 October 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Trial of the Chicago 7 See more »

Filming Locations:

Patterson, New Jersey, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$24,357
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed