Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Classic Courtroom Dramas.

My top 5 favorite courtroom dramas by some of the greatest actors in some of their best performances.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird(1962).
The film tells the story of a Alabama lawyer, Atticus Finch, defending a back man of the assault of a young white woman. One of Gregory Peck's best performances. Robert Duvall makes his film debut in a non-speaking role of Boo Radley. You will never forget the bigotry and hate that makes the film more compelling.

2. 12 Angry Men(1957).
What appears to be an open-and-shut case of a young Puerto Rican man accused of murdering his father. One juror sees things differently, played brilliantly by Henry Fonda, who is not comfortable making a decision without even debating his case, much to the frustration of the other jurors. Sidney Lumet, directs an all-star cast in this courtroom classic movie..

3. Witness for the Prosecution(1957).
A classic of courtroom suspense, this film keeps the viewer guessing right up to the very surprising end . Tyrone Power plays the prime suspect, in his final film, and Charles Laughton, who plays his defense attorney grabs the spotlight, with his performance, bringing a few smiles, to this serious film.. Based on the Agatha Christie novel.

4. Anatomy of a Murder(1959).
Jimmy Stewart plays a cleaver small-town attorney defending an army lieutenant who shoots a bar owner for allegedly raping his wife. Stewart gives a wonderful performance in this courtroom drama that maybe overlooked.

5. I Want To Live!(1958).
Susan Hayward plays a convicted prostitute who finds herself framed for murder and facing the death penalty. The film is based on the true story of Barbara Graham and journalist Ed Montgomery, who helped convict her then tries to save her. Susan Hayward, totally deserved the best actress Oscar she won for her role in the film..


  1. Your fate in the hands of strangers. Lawyers, like knights of old, taking up sides. It's no wonder courtroom dramas intrigue us so. Dawn, your selections are the pinnacle of the genre.

    Here are five more titles. Favourites of mine for the dark nights when nothing but a legal drama will do.

    The Winslow Boy (1948)
    Robert Donat at his best in this Rattigan play.

    Inherit the Wind (1960)
    Irresistible teaming of Tracy & March. You can feel the heat in the courtroom and the tension in the crowd.

    The Caine Mutiny (1954)
    Everything that happens leads to the court martial.

    Sergeant Rutledge (1960)
    Emotions run high when an honourable African American cavalryman is charged with rape and murder. Is there room for facts?

    They Won't Believe Me (1947)
    Film noir at its twisty best.

  2. Hey, Dawn, I might do my own Top 5 Courtroom Dramas, too, since "Top 5" has been the Cafe's monthly theme :) I love courtroom drama and agree with all on your list except I WANT TO LIVE. In lieu of it, I'll substitute THE WINSLOW BOY or INHERIT THE WIND.

  3. Dawn, I just love your lists!

    Thank you for posting also some videos - I am a great fan of that.. ;")

    I think this is the first time that I actually know ALL films mentioned!!

    - Yay! I am soo proud.. Like a five year old who just learned how to bind shoelaces into a bow.. ;")

  4. Caftan Woman, I love your list.. You should put together a post..

    Classic Film and TV Cafe, I am really looking forward to reading your "Top 5" Courtroom Dramas. I have never heard of the film, THE WINSLOW BOY.

    I will work on a post that might fit in the "Top 5" posts for the "Cafe." If not all the dates have already been taken. :)

    Irene Palfy, Thank you. It seems everyone loves lists.

    Congrats!! On your five year old who can put on their own shoes. That is really cute.


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