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Some legal movies that inspire me

Article By Travis Jensen in Musings

Legal movie stars

Legal movies are the perfect subgenre of drama. They have a good guy, a bad guy, and a conflict that must be resolved. It’s a really basic structure, but legal movies have an added layer of complexity that raises the stakes and draws out some terrific performances.

In fact, some of the best movies of all time are legal movies, and some of those legal movies feature the best heroes in film history. For example, in 2003 the American Film Institute awarded the title of “Greatest Hero of the 20th Century” to Atticus Finch, the intrepid lawyer who fought against racial injustice.

And the Academy has always taken a shine to legal movies, too: Gregory Peck won his Oscar for playing Atticus Finch, The Verdict was nominated for Best Picture, Tom Hanks won his first Oscar in Philadelphia, and Paul Newman was nominated for his role as Frank Galvin, a Boston lawyer. The list goes on.

Legal movies have captured the attention of not just casual movie audiences. The American Bar Association — United States’ premier legal organization — created its own list of the 25 greatest legal movies of all time. And there have been many academics who have studied the effects of legal movies on the expectations of members of juries across the United States when they are called to serve in real-life.

Someday I will create my own list of the best legal films and explore this relationship between films and juror expectations myself, but for now, I am simply going to list a few legal movies that have inspired me.

I will start with a list in no particular order, and in my next blog in the series, I will address perhaps the most popular legal movie of all time: To Kill a Mockingbird. This should be fun…

Some Legal Movies That Inspire Me


  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • The Verdict
  • Erin Brockovich
  • My Cousin Vinny
  • A Time to Kill
  • A Civil Action
  • A Few Good Men
  • Philadelphia
  • Kramer vs. Kramer
  • Runaway Jury
  • 12 Angry Men
  • Chicago
  • The Paper Chase
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • Class Action
  • The Firm
  • The Rainmaker
  • The Ryan White Story