Mar 23 2009

11 Awesome Courtroom Scenes in Movies

Published by at 9:00 am under Lists,Movies

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As a practicing lawyer, I can tell you that going to court usually isn’t very exciting.  There’s very little arguing, everyone seems to get along just fine, the judge is rarely intimidating, and the courtroom itself is hardly a spectacle to behold.  The events that take place in courtrooms as shown in movies are largely inaccurate, exaggerated, and sensationalized – but that’s a good thing, because if accurate, those scenes would be terribly boring.  In the movies, courtroom scenes are usually heated, intense, and sometimes hysterical.  I’d like my second job a lot more if going to court meant a morning of screaming and wooing a jury.  Instead, it’s waiting around for your adversary to arrive before you swap discovery demands and discuss last night’s basketball game.  Sigh.  Here are 11 awesome courtroom scenes from movies that present aspiring lawyers the illusion that they’re off to embark on a colorful, exciting career in the law.

Bananas

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a3mk9sp0oE

Woody Allen puts his bizarre spin on courtroom scenes in Bananas.  This one plays like a slideshow of sorts with many individual gags or jokes thrown together.

Boondock Saints

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKzM8xsQ5-U

It’s not lawyers or judges that make this courtroom scene so memorable.  I knew a guy who had the entire Boondocks Saints speech as his ring tone.  I feel like anyone who’s ever seen this movie loves it.

The Untouchables

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8B7rDjX7s54

Finally, Elliot Ness gets to see the notorious gangster Al Capone behind bars.

Big Daddy

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEuljvGB-YU

High school mock trials are usually more organized than this one.

…And Justice for All

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjCA3I-V9WA

Anytime you watch a Pacino monologue, you know it’s only a matter of time before he starts screaming his head off.  The great courtroom scene in …And Justice for All is no exception.

A Few Good Men

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hGvQtumNAY

The proceedings in this scene are particularly ridiculous (Kevin Bacon’s character has at least four or five opportunities to make sustainable objections), but Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson make that inaccuracy pretty easy to overlook.

To Kill a Mockingbird

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGVZ8Ku-TNU

Atticus Finch is one of the best dudes ever, and even the biggest cynic couldn’t argue that he’s a sneaky lawyer.

Primal Fear

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GTySWPFN_c

If you haven’t seen this movie, then be warned that the above clip contains major, major spoilers.  Ed Norton is incredible in his role in this movie.

My Cousin Vinny

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q7mjoxHzm4

Believe it or not, when it comes to portraying courtroom proceedings, My Cousin Vinny is one of the more accurate movies concerning the subject.

The People Vs. Larry Flynt

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0X3T6-K22o

Forgetting about Hustler for a minute, The People vs. Larry Flynt is a very important case for free speech under the First Amendment.  Do you know who plays the judge in this scene?

JFK

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMsPq7gQCrk

Jim Garrison explains the single bullet theory, intending for it to sound utterly ridiculous.





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8 responses so far

  • Lucano

    forgetting to put the “The fountainhead” speech makes this list look foolish.

  • Korinthian

    No “Inherit the Wind”? Pfft.

  • AC from the Wood

    Bananas…very nice inclusion.

  • Dude

    Al Pacino’s speech in Scent of a woman (although not court room scene deserves at least honorable mention). But at least list is saved by big daddy scene ( NOT! ).

  • fez

    I might have included Matthew McConaughey’s closing argument in A Time to Kill. Loved the list, though!

  • kevin

    almost all of “Breaker Morant” “Those orders were issued sir! and officers like myself and these men here have had to carry them out. However damn reluctently.”

  • MacGyver1138

    I really hated JFK. Oliver Stone really made Garrison look like a hero, and I’ve seen and read a LOT of material that shows quite the opposite. Still, this was a good list, and that scene is an awesome courtroom scene.

  • http://jaystech.com jay

    the scene from legally blonde where our lead actress Reese Witherspoon find out truth by her cosmetics expertise

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