Top 10 Classic Courtroom Drama Movies

Best Courtroom Movies

These movies feature high drama in the courtroom by some of the greatest directors and actors of all time, some in their best performances.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

Universal Studios

An adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee, the film tells the story of a small-town Alabama lawyer, Atticus Finch, defending a back man accusee of the rape and assault of a young white woman. One of Gregory Peck's finest performances. Robert Duvall makes his film debut in a non-speaking role of Boo Radley.

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12 Angry Men


What appears to be an open-and-shut case of a young Puerto Rican accused of murdering his father with a knife appears differently through the eyes of one juror, played by Henry Fonda. Sidney Lumet directs an all-star cast in this 1957 classic.

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Witness for the Prosecution

Kino Lorber Films

A classic of courtroom suspense, this film keeps the viewer guessing right up to the very end, when still another surprise awaits. Tyrone Power plays the prime suspect, in his final film, and Charles Laughton plays his defense attorney. Based on the Agatha Christie novel.

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Inherit The Wind


A fictionalized account of the Scopes Monkey Trial, in which a Tennessee teacher is prosecuted for teaching evolution in a public school. Stanley Kramer directs Spencer Tracy in the role of Clarence Darrow, and Fredric March as Williams Jennings Bryan. Also stars Gene Kelly.

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Anatomy of a Murder

Sony Pictures

Jimmy Stewart plays a deceptively cleaver small-town attorney defending an army lieutenant who shoots a bar owner for allegedly raping his wife, in this classic Otto Preminger film.

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The Verdict

20th Century Fox

Sidney Lumet also directs this story of an alcoholic Boston lawyer, played by Paul Newman, who is the underdog in a medical malpractice suit against a hospital and a large powerful, politically connected law firm. Jack Warden also stars as the friend and colleague of the down-and-out attorney.

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I Want To Live!


Susan Hayward plays a convicted prostitute and forger who finds herself framed for murder and facing the death penalty. The flim is based on the true story of Barbara Graham and journalist Ed Montgomery, who helped convict her then embarks on a quest to try to save her.

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A Cry in the Dark

Warner Home Video

Meryl Streep and Sam Neill star in this true story of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, an Australian couple who lost their infant daughter during a family camping trip. Streep as usual gives a captivating performance in her role of a woman imprisoned despite a lack of evidence.

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A Few Good Men

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Tom Cruise stars as a lazy Navy lawyer who defend two marines accused of killing a fellow corpsman. The all-star cast includes Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, J.T. Walsh, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Jack Nicholson, who gives a brief but legendary portrayal of Colonel Jessup.

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Primal Fear

Warner Bros.

A meek and introverted alter boy named Aaron is arrested for the murder of a Chicago Archbishop after he was seen fleeing the scene in blood-soaked clothes. His media-seeking attorney discovers it is much more than an open-and-shut case. Stars Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Edward Norton, making his film debut as the defendant.