Very Long List of Law-Related Films

by iankovarsky | created - 05 Nov 2013 | updated - 25 Jun 2018 | Public

This is a current law student's list of films involving the law in some form or another. I ranked each using multiple criteria, giving little weight to the extent of the legal activity in the film. In short, once considered a legal film, I merely ranked it according to personal taste. For example, The Rainmaker earned extra points because I am a student at Memphis Law, the same school the main character attended. That is hardly useful criteria to most. Ultimately, I simply aimed to aggregate several scattered and incomplete law film lists. I am adding movies to this list all the time, therefore I have not seen many of the films in the bottom half.

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1. The Rainmaker (1997)

PG-13 | 135 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

72 Metascore

An underdog lawyer takes on a fraudulent insurance company.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Claire Danes, Jon Voight

Votes: 57,462 | Gross: $45.86M

2. A Few Good Men (1992)

R | 138 min | Drama, Thriller

62 Metascore

Military lawyer Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee defends Marines accused of murder. They contend they were acting under orders.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon

Votes: 219,180 | Gross: $141.34M

3. Night and the City (1992)

R | 105 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

61 Metascore

The story about a cheating and incompetent lawyer (Harry Fabian) who suddenly gets obsessed on becoming a boxing promoter.

Director: Irwin Winkler | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jessica Lange, Cliff Gorman, Alan King

Votes: 4,262 | Gross: $6.20M

4. Puncture (2011)

R | 100 min | Biography, Drama

54 Metascore

A David and Goliath law drama about a drug-addicted lawyer who takes on a health supply corporation while battling his own personal demons.

Directors: Adam Kassen, Mark Kassen | Stars: Chris Evans, Mark Kassen, Vinessa Shaw, Marshall Bell

Votes: 21,840 | Gross: $0.07M

5. Night Falls on Manhattan (1996)

R | 113 min | Crime, Drama

58 Metascore

A newly elected District Attorney finds himself in the middle of a police corruption investigation that may involve his father and his partner.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Andy Garcia, Richard Dreyfuss, Lena Olin, Ian Holm

Votes: 5,978 | Gross: $9.88M

6. The Client (1994)

PG-13 | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

65 Metascore

A young boy who witnessed the suicide of a mafia lawyer hires an attorney to protect him when the District Attorney tries to use him to take down a mob family.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Renfro, Mary-Louise Parker

Votes: 55,909 | Gross: $92.12M

7. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Not Rated | 129 min | Crime, Drama

88 Metascore

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.

Director: Robert Mulligan | Stars: Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy

Votes: 278,318

8. The Fortune Cookie (1966)

Approved | 125 min | Comedy, Romance

63 Metascore

A crooked lawyer persuades his brother-in-law to feign a serious injury.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ron Rich, Judi West

Votes: 11,683

9. Secretary (2002)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

63 Metascore

A young woman, recently released from a mental hospital, gets a job as a secretary to a demanding lawyer, where their employer-employee relationship turns into a sexual, sadomasochistic one.

Director: Steven Shainberg | Stars: James Spader, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jeremy Davies, Lesley Ann Warren

Votes: 78,574 | Gross: $4.06M

10. A Time to Kill (1996)

R | 149 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

54 Metascore

In Canton, Mississippi, a fearless young lawyer and his assistant defend a black man accused of murdering two white men who raped his ten-year-old daughter, inciting violent retribution and revenge from the Ku Klux Klan.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey

Votes: 121,991 | Gross: $108.77M

11. Presumed Innocent (1990)

R | 127 min | Mystery, Thriller

72 Metascore

As a lawyer investigates the murder of a colleague, he finds himself more connected to the crime than anyone else.

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Harrison Ford, Raul Julia, Greta Scacchi, Brian Dennehy

Votes: 35,186 | Gross: $86.30M

12. Adam's Rib (1949)

Not Rated | 101 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Domestic and professional tensions mount when a husband and wife work as opposing lawyers in a case involving a woman who shot her husband.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Holliday, Tom Ewell

Votes: 18,208

13. My Cousin Vinny (1992)

R | 120 min | Comedy, Crime

68 Metascore

Two New Yorkers are accused of murder in rural Alabama while on their way back to college, and one of their cousins--an inexperienced, loudmouth lawyer not accustomed to Southern rules and manners--comes in to defend them.

Director: Jonathan Lynn | Stars: Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Ralph Macchio, Mitchell Whitfield

Votes: 98,750 | Gross: $52.93M

14. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Not Rated | 161 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

95 Metascore

In a murder trial, the defendant says he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. What is the truth, and will he win his case?

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell

Votes: 55,295 | Gross: $11.90M

15. Class Action (1991)

R | 110 min | Drama, Thriller

58 Metascore

An attorney representing a traumatized accident victim finds that his opponent is a very familiar defense attorney - his own daughter.

Director: Michael Apted | Stars: Gene Hackman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Colin Friels, Joanna Merlin

Votes: 6,279 | Gross: $24.28M

16. Find Me Guilty (2006)

R | 125 min | Biography, Comedy, Crime

65 Metascore

In the late 1980s, a low level gangster named Jackie DiNorscio defends himself in court in what became the longest criminal trial in American judicial history.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Vin Diesel, Peter Dinklage, Ron Silver, Alex Rocco

Votes: 31,421 | Gross: $1.17M

17. Murder in the First (1995)

R | 122 min | Drama, Thriller

An eager and idealistic young attorney defends an Alcatraz prisoner accused of murdering a fellow inmate. The extenuating circumstances: his client had just spent over three years in solitary confinement.

Director: Marc Rocco | Stars: Christian Slater, Kevin Bacon, Gary Oldman, Embeth Davidtz

Votes: 25,162 | Gross: $17.38M

18. Michael Clayton (2007)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

82 Metascore

A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multibillion-dollar class action suit.

Director: Tony Gilroy | Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Michael O'Keefe

Votes: 150,291 | Gross: $49.03M

19. The Verdict (1982)

R | 129 min | Drama

77 Metascore

A lawyer sees the chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason

Votes: 33,107 | Gross: $54.00M

20. The Firm (1993)

R | 154 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

58 Metascore

A young lawyer joins a prestigious law firm only to discover that it has a sinister dark side.

Director: Sydney Pollack | Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook

Votes: 108,956 | Gross: $158.35M

21. Intruder in the Dust (1949)

Approved | 87 min | Crime, Drama

In 1940s Mississippi, two teenage boys and an elderly woman combine forces to prevent a miscarriage of justice and clear a black man of a murder charge.

Director: Clarence Brown | Stars: David Brian, Claude Jarman Jr., Juano Hernandez, Porter Hall

Votes: 1,790

22. The Hurricane (1999)

R | 146 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

74 Metascore

The story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder, and the people who aided in his fight to prove his innocence.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Denzel Washington, Vicellous Shannon, Deborah Kara Unger, Liev Schreiber

Votes: 87,443 | Gross: $50.67M

23. Philadelphia (1993)

PG-13 | 125 min | Drama

66 Metascore

When a man with HIV is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell, Buzz Kilman

Votes: 210,440 | Gross: $77.32M

24. The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama

79 Metascore

The story of a controversial pornography publisher and how he became a defender of free speech.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, Edward Norton, Brett Harrelson

Votes: 83,764 | Gross: $20.19M

25. Legally Blonde (2001)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Romance

59 Metascore

Elle Woods, a fashionable sorority queen is dumped by her boyfriend. She decides to follow him to law school, while she is there she figures out that there is more to her than just looks.

Director: Robert Luketic | Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Matthew Davis

Votes: 170,396 | Gross: $96.52M

26. The Juror (1996)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A juror in a Mafia trial is forced to convince the other jurors to vote not guilty by an obsessive mob enforcer.

Director: Brian Gibson | Stars: Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Gandolfini

Votes: 16,091 | Gross: $22.75M

27. Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998)

R | 116 min | Biography, Drama, Music

Three women each claim to be the widow of 1950s doo-wop singer Frankie Lymon, claiming legal rights to his estate.

Director: Gregory Nava | Stars: Halle Berry, Vivica A. Fox, Lela Rochon, Larenz Tate

Votes: 3,438 | Gross: $12.41M

28. The Paper Chase (1973)

PG | 113 min | Comedy, Drama

65 Metascore

A first-year law student at Harvard Law School struggles with balancing his coursework and his relationship with the daughter of his sternest professor.

Director: James Bridges | Stars: Timothy Bottoms, Lindsay Wagner, John Houseman, Graham Beckel

Votes: 6,729

29. Reversal of Fortune (1990)

R | 111 min | Biography, Drama, Mystery

93 Metascore

Wealthy Sunny von Bülow lies brain-dead, husband Claus guilty of attempted murder; but he says he's innocent and hires Alan Dershowitz for his appeal.

Director: Barbet Schroeder | Stars: Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Ron Silver, Annabella Sciorra

Votes: 13,570 | Gross: $15.45M

30. Rules of Engagement (2000)

R | 128 min | Drama, Thriller, War

45 Metascore

An attorney defends an officer on trial for ordering his troops to fire on civilians after they stormed a U.S. embassy in a Middle Eastern country.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley

Votes: 42,473 | Gross: $61.34M

31. Delivery Man (2013)

PG-13 | 105 min | Comedy, Drama

44 Metascore

An affable underachiever finds out he's fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Now he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of them file a lawsuit to reveal his identity.

Director: Ken Scott | Stars: Vince Vaughn, Chris Pratt, Cobie Smulders, Jack Reynor

Votes: 71,922 | Gross: $30.66M

32. Inherit the Wind (1960)

Passed | 128 min | Biography, Drama, History

75 Metascore

Based on a real-life case in 1925, two great lawyers argue the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Dick York

Votes: 25,262

33. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama

96 Metascore

A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler

Votes: 617,615 | Gross: $4.36M

34. Compulsion (1959)

Approved | 103 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Two wealthy law-school students go on trial for murder in this version of the Leopold-Loeb case.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Orson Welles, Dean Stockwell, Diane Varsi, Bradford Dillman

Votes: 5,399

35. Separate But Equal (1991)

PG | 190 min | Drama, History

A dramatization of the American court case that destroyed the legal validity of racial segregation.

Stars: Sidney Poitier, Burt Lancaster, Richard Kiley, Cleavon Little

Votes: 607

36. A Murder of Crows (1998)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

A disbarred lawyer takes credit for a late friend's book, which becomes a smash hit but the tables turn on him sooner than he suspected.

Director: Rowdy Herrington | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Tom Berenger, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Eric Stoltz

Votes: 7,183

37. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Not Rated | 116 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A veteran British barrister must defend his client in a murder trial that has surprise after surprise.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester

Votes: 96,385 | Gross: $8.18M

38. Suspect (1987)

R | 121 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

When a homeless man is accused of murdering a Justice Department file clerk, a public defender is tasked with mounting his legal defense.

Director: Peter Yates | Stars: Cher, Dennis Quaid, Liam Neeson, John Mahoney

Votes: 8,634 | Gross: $18.78M

39. The Crucible (1996)

PG-13 | 124 min | Drama, History

A Salem resident attempts to frame her ex-lover's wife for being a witch in the middle of the 1692 witchcraft trials.

Director: Nicholas Hytner | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Paul Scofield, Joan Allen

Votes: 33,657 | Gross: $7.34M

40. Erin Brockovich (2000)

R | 131 min | Biography, Drama

73 Metascore

An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin, Dawn Didawick

Votes: 162,328 | Gross: $125.60M

41. A Civil Action (1998)

PG-13 | 115 min | Drama

68 Metascore

A tenacious lawyer takes on a case involving a major company responsible for causing several people to be diagnosed with leukemia due to the town's water supply being contaminated, at the risk of bankrupting his firm and career.

Director: Steven Zaillian | Stars: John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Kathleen Quinlan, Tony Shalhoub

Votes: 26,206 | Gross: $56.70M

42. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

63 Metascore

A lawyer defending a wealthy man begins to believe his client is guilty of more than just one crime.

Director: Brad Furman | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy

Votes: 199,861 | Gross: $58.01M

43. And Justice for All (1979)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

58 Metascore

A lawyer is forced to defend a guilty judge, while defending other innocent clients, and trying to find punishment for the guilty and provide justice for the innocent.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Al Pacino, Jack Warden, John Forsythe, Lee Strasberg

Votes: 28,206

44. Runaway Jury (2003)

PG-13 | 127 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

61 Metascore

A juror on the inside and a woman on the outside manipulate a court trial involving a major gun manufacturer.

Director: Gary Fleder | Stars: John Cusack, Rachel Weisz, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman

Votes: 86,758 | Gross: $49.44M

45. North Country (2005)

R | 126 min | Drama

68 Metascore

A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States, Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit.

Director: Niki Caro | Stars: Charlize Theron, Jeremy Renner, Frances McDormand, Thomas Curtis

Votes: 37,771 | Gross: $18.32M