Friday, March 25, 2011

5 "Must-See" Courtroom Dramas

So if you have not seen any of these films pull up your netflix-add them to your queue or your instant watch and get going-These are the five courtroom Dramas that are the best (in my opinion.)  I will not be doing much blog posting over the next couple of days, I will be away at a conference (trying to find a job-wish me luck.)  So I am going to try do as many posts today to make up for that.  Onto the list...

1-To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)-The best courtroom drama is the film To Kill a Mockingbird.  Gregory Peck stars as the admirable Atticus Finch who takes on a court cases where a black man is accused of raping a young white woman.  The story is told through the point of view of Finch's young daughter Scout, and through her eyes we see the innocence of understanding the complexity of race issues during the Depression in Alabama.  This films characterization moves away from characterizing lawyers as villainous and/or selfish.  This film paints the picture that men like Finch work hard to fight for the rights of the innocent.

2-12 Angry Men-Just like in To Kill a Mockingbird, 12 Angry Men represents the concept of one juror standing up for his beliefs.  12 Angry Men stars Henry Fonda (as that juror) standing up for a Puerto Rican man who is presumed guilty by the rest of the jurors.  This film works to present the jury system and the prejudices and judgement that people make in that private room during a deliberation.  Can man (or woman) be truly without bias?  This film represents the voice of what can happen when one person stand up and say "No" to rest.

3-Witness for the Prosecution (1957)- The combination of the genuis of Agatha Christie and Billy Wilder (Some Like it Hot, The Apartment) make Witness for the Prosecution a must have on my list.  With a great mystery this film helped catapault the twists and turns that are needed in a great courtroom drama.  The cast is superb.  Tyron Power Marlene Dietrich, and Charles Laughton make this a great film.

4-Inherit the Wind (1960)-Inherit the Wind stars two of the greatest film icons Spencer Tracy (Harry Drummond) and Frederich March (Matthew Harrison Brady) take on a fictionalized account of 1925 Scopes "monkey trial."  This film uses a lot of the original testimony from the original trial with Clarence Darrow (the Spacey character) cross examined William Jennings Bryan (March).  The films performances help to make a classic courtroom drama, and iconic to all lawyers.

5-Philadelphia (1993)-The fifth film on this list is the moving film Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks (Andrew Beckett) who is fired from his law firm for having AIDS.  Hanks asks a rival attorney played by Denzel Washington (Joe Miller) to defend him in  a suit against his law firm for wrongful termination.  As the disease wears Beckett down his testimony brings new emotional levels to the courtroom drama.  The film is about understanding what is right and what is wrong, and getting to know someone beyond their disease.  The case has so many intricate layers because not only does Washington's character have to confront his own issues with homophobia but he builds a relationship with this man, and understands more about himself.

Of all these great courtroom dramas many of them deal with civil rights and the fight for equality, the best films talk about rights and when someone does not have the opportunity to fight for themselves.  Our justice system has its flaws, but films can be a great place to show that there are people who care-don't ever give up and fight for your rights!

No comments: