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10 Best Lawyer Movies of All Time

August 3, 2018
11 min read

Courtroom drama is one of the most interesting movie genres. Hollywood has given us lot of some really good lawyer movies in the past. Some are jury themed movies such as 12 Angry Men, Runaway Jury and some are trial movies such as Anatomy of a Murder, The Judge etc. Great lawyer movies not just have a gripping theme but also have the most fascinating lawyers handling the cases. These compelling attorneys take the movie viewing to the next levels and leads to multiple watching. Here is a list of top movies about lawyers ever made. You can watch some of these best lawyer movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.

10. A Civil Action (1998)

Jerry Facher is one of the most experienced Attorneys in the business. He also teaches in the Law schools. He knows how to conduct a trial. He is calm and composed and that helps him asses the progress of the suit correctly. He knows what to ask and what not to ask in a trial. He is very subtle person. You don’t see him in action much. But he is good at playing mind games and destroys the opponents’ rhythm. With a ball and an old radio in hand following the ball games always, he might come across as an irreverent. But make no mistakes, he is playing his cards very closely. He lets his opponent think they can run away with a verdict of their wish. But Mr. Facher will have the last laugh.

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9. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

Mickey Haller is a Criminal Defence Attorney who runs his office from the backseat of his Lincoln Tower car. He lives with a principle that every client is as scary as an innocent man and if he screws up and the client goes to prison, he will never be able to live with that. So he gives a fight for all of his clients. He tries his best to cut a deal with the DA for lesser or no term for his clients. He is the one who has a clear head above his shoulder. He works with an investigator and checks both the client’s story and the DA’s. So what did he do when his current rich filthy client, who is charged with an assault, becomes responsible for a crime for which his former innocent client is doing his life term in prison? His investigator is murdered. Mickey is pinned on that case. His family is threatened. He is bound by the Attorney Client Privilege. What are his odds of putting the guilty in prison in place of the innocent? He did what he do the best. He cut a deal with DA. He sets up a prison informant to spill the beans about client’s previous murder during the cross examination. Mickey played it so beautifully that he saved his filthy client from the assault charge but set him up in the murder charge which he committed earlier. And he did make sure that his innocent client is set free.

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8. Primal Fear (1996)

Martin Vail is a big shot defence Attorney. He defends his high profile clients using his shrewd legal skills. He likes the fat cheques and the publicity but he justifies himself with a ‘People are innocent until proven guilty’ theory. So when there was a chance of getting a sensational case where the altar boy was charged with the murder of the archbishop, he grabbed it with both the hands by representing the altar boy Pro bono. He knew that he has got no case because the accused was caught nearby the crime scene covered with blood. But he believed that the DA has no case too until they get the motive. So he played his cards. Through the middle of the case, he found that the accused is suffering from multiple personality disorder. And the archbishop made video of the altar boys performing sex. He got infuriated because his client is hiding things and lying to him. Martin can’t enter insanity plea in the middle of the trial, nor use the porn tape because that will give the DA the motive. So Martin cleverly sent the tape and intimidated DA to use it and that got him the sympathy from Jury. He also played smartly unleashing the other personality of his client in the witness stand. Martin directed the whole trail to his advantage and the poor DA played right into his hands. So, the verdict? Not guilty by reason of insanity!!

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7. Philadelphia (1993)

Joe Miller is a Personal Injury lawyer. Public refer him as the TV guy. Andrew Beckett, another excellent lawyer brought him a very sensitive case. Andre Beckett was fired from his Law firm because he contracted AIDS and now he wants to sue them. Initially he was hesitant and denied representing Andrew. When Mr. Miller understood the severity of the disease and seeing Andrew struggling to find a representation, he decided to represent Andrew. During the trial, when the defendants were keen on demeaning Mr. Miller’s client, he concentrated on establishing not just how the Firm members have prejudiced his diseased client but the whole society is showing discrimination them. At every opportunity he threw light on the public hatred, loathe and fear of homosexuals. He realized he has a greater responsibility in enlightening the society about this issue and he ensured that his client got his due.

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6. A Time to Kill (1996)

Jake Brigance is a bright, talented ambitious lawyer from Mississippi in 1980s when the racism is at its peak. Jake is empathetic towards the colored and represented few successfully. Now when he has to defend a colored man who is accused of murdering two white men in the open courtroom for raping his ten-year old daughter Tonya, the odds are stacked against him. Jake took the case because he saw his daughter in Tonya. He was assisted by a brilliant Law student and his farmer mentor. The case has become a national interest. Things were not smooth for him.  The white community hated him and the black community had put pressure on him. Change of venue for trail is denied which means he may not get a fair trial in the city where majority are whites. His family is threatened. His house is burnt. His assistants have been assaulted. But Jake didn’t quit. He went through the trial and tried his best to defend his client. At the end of the trail, Jake did feel that he is going to lose. But his compassion reflected in his summation, when he narrated the painful details of the rape of Tonya. He made the Jury realized the magnitude of the crime did to the young kid by making them imagine Tonya as white kid. That was Jake’s masterstroke and he did win the case.

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5. Fracture (2007)

William Beachum, fondly called as Willy, is a young talented Deputy District Attorney. He has an impressive conviction rate of 97%. The exuberant attorney is so deft that is evident in how he got the job offer in a fancy big Civil law firm. He is a winner. He got an eye for the stardom.  Sometimes his arrogance has veiled his vision. He has been deceived and defeated by an old fox in what seemed to be an open and shut attempted murder case. He is anguished. He had a choice to swallow the debacle and move on to the lucrative job waiting for him. But he is a no give up lad. Even at the cost of flourishing Private firm offer.  He became composed and begins his quest to find out what he was missing and bingo he did find it and put that old fox back on trial for murder charge.

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4. My Cousin Vinny (1992)

Vincent LaGuardia Gambini, fondly called as Vinny is not your regular kind of great lawyer. He passed the bar exam at his sixth attempt. He hasn’t gone to any court. He doesn’t even know simple legal procedure. But know what, he is a magician a cool headed confident person. Nobody pulls the wool over the eyes of Gambini. He is not the one who can be easily rattled. He is a patient man. He may have taken his time getting into the groove. But once he sets his foot on the pedal, then there is nothing stopping him. He is a keen observer. His ignorance sometimes has put him at some awkward situation. But he has this acute presence of mind with which he always comes at the top. His courtroom manners may be unconventional, but he is one hell of a trial lawyer, as aptly claimed by the Judge.

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3. The Judge (2014)

Henry Palmer, fondly called as Hank is a very successful lawyer from Chicago. He is very famous for getting the rich guilty rodents of the hook for a plumb pay-cheque. He respects the law but just not encumbered by it. If the state can’t meet its burden of proof, it’s not his problem. While he sleeps in the Highland Park home driving a Ferrari, his conscience takes the backseat. So it’s no wonder if you detest him. But you can’t deny the fact that he is a genius. Hank is one who has great situational awareness and plays his card perfectly. His job is to create a reasonable doubt in the mind of Jury. He does that so well even when his client confesses of being guilty of murder. Hank is the best in business.

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2. The Rainmaker (1997)

Rudy Baylor is a young and dynamic Attorney. He had a pretty abusive upbringing. But that didn’t demoralise him. Ever since he heard about the civil right lawyers and the amazing uses they found for the law, he wanted to be a lawyer. He met an elderly couple at Memphis state law workshop and got his first case, an insurance case. The Great Benefits Insurance Company denied the claim for the elderly couple’s son leukaemia treatment. Inexperienced Rudy is Up against a devious giant law firm. But know what, Rudy is an astute lawyer. He knows the case upside down. Defence counsel tried to exploit his inexperience with all kind of unscrupulous activities. But he has been street smart in averting their games with an able support from Deck Shifflet, a resourceful man and practically an Insurance Law suit expert, who is yet to clear the bar exam. Rudy is compassionate and ethical. He believes that clients are more than just money making machines. When the Defence Counsel lobbied to settle for meager compensation, he stood for the justice for his client and he loathed them for what they represent. He courageously faced bunch of vicious defence counsels during his deposition in their turf.  He confidently confronted the condescending members of GB during the trial. Even after getting the staggering verdict, he was calm and composed and let his moral conscience lead his future. That should tell you a lot about this serene young attorney.

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1. A Few Good Men (1992)

Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee is a U.S. Navy lawyer. He is graduated from Harvard law school and joined Navy because he thought his father, an Ex Attorney General of United States, would want him to do that. In the initial period of his practice, all he did was successfully undertaking plea-bargaining for low profile cases. He is not a passionate lawyer. When he was assigned a marine murder case, all he did was again entering into a plea bargaining with the State. But when his conscience was rattled by the accused marine and the fellow US navy lawyer, he decided for the first time to fight for his client. Kaffee may be inexperienced in Trial cases, but he is a brilliant Attorney who had an impressive education. He did his ground work thoroughly. He realised this cases has to be won not by Law but by lawyers. He gathered all the facts but concentrated on the items he could prove in the courtroom. He cleverly planned his trail and rattled the witness and snapped them and they did give in. He was not intimidated by the fact that any wrong move against the superior Marine officers, he could be court-martialled. Kaffee fought one hell of a battle courageously and he did win it.

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