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Best Courtroom Drama Movies of All Time

Courtroom dramas are compelling when directed with talent. Some of the most memorable movie quotes have come from courtroom movies. Courtroom dramas are a risk; if done badly, the movie can drag, but if done right, it can really keep the audience on the edge of its seat. Some court case movies are more compelling than explosions and fast-action car chases.
It's all in the movie's execution and character development. Via Top2040, are the 20 best Courtroom drama movies in cinema history:


1 - Witness for the Prosecution (1957) Marlene Dietrich in Billy Wilder's fascinating film adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie story.

2 - To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Gregory Peck plays an attorney who defends a black man framed for the rape of a white woman in the racist South.

3 - 12 Angry Men (1957) A big star cast, 12 jurors are locked in deliberation and rehash the case before them. Gradually their opinions on the case begin to change.

4 - Murder in the First (1995) Kevin Bacon stars as an Alcatraz inmate arrested for stealing $5, who was tortured and locked in solitary confinement for years beyond the legal limit. Upon release from 3 years of solitary confinement in a dark hole, he lashes out and kills another inmate with a spoon. His attorney defends him, and tries the Alcatraz system for the murder.


5 - The Verdict (1982) Paul Newman takes a riveting medical malpractice case to trial rather than settle.

6 - ...And Justice for All (1979) Al Pacino is a lawyer forced to defend a judge he despises, and is disgusted by the corruption of the legal system in Baltimore. Quote: "The whole trial is out of order!"

7 - Anatomy of a Murder (1959) One of the first Hollywood movies to address rape in a courtroom movie. A gripping trial of a defendant who claims temporary insanity, because the victim had raped the defendant's wife.

8 - My Cousin Vinny (1992) Joe Pesci, Marisa Tormei. The only comedy on our list - the trial of two boys wrongly accused of robbing a convenience store.

9 - A Few Good Men (1992) Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise. The trial of 2 soldiers who, under orders from above, hazed and caused the death of another recruit. "You can't handle the truth!"

10 - A Time to Kill (1996) Samuel L. Jackson. Mathew McConaughey defends a black man accused of murdering the two men who raped his daughter in Mississippi.

11 - The Jagged Edge (1985) Jeff Bridges. Glen Close defends a man accused of murdering his wife.

12 - The Accused (1988) Jodie Foster plays a rape victim who goes to trial against her attackers.

13 - Presumed Innocent (1990) Harrison Ford, Raul Julia

14 - Philadelphia (1993) Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington.

15 - Runaway Jury (2003), starring John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman.

16 - In Cold Blood (1967) based on the true case and book by Truman Capote.

17 - True Believer (1989) James Woods, Robert Downey Jr.

18 - The Rainmaker (1997) Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

19 - Small Sacrifices (1989) Farrah Fawcett plays in the true story of Diane Downs convicted of killing her own children.

20 - A Civil Action (1998) Robert Duvall and John Travolta



Honorable Mention: Find Me Guilty (2006) Sydney Lumet's true story of mobster Jack DiNorscio on trial. It has some interesting scenes for a courtroom drama.

Check out more Thrillers, Trials and Crime movies at Top2040.com

The Best Courtroom Dramas and Case Trial Movies at Top2040

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