1. Twelve Angry Men (1957). A look at the legal system through the eyes of the jury. This one has been remade, both using all men, and using all women. It's particularly interesting, because keeping the viewer's interest while using one set (the jury room) and one issue (the jury deliberation) is difficult.
2. My Cousin Vinny (1992). The film deals with two young New Yorkers traveling through rural Alabama who are put on trial for a murder they did not commit, and the comedic attempts of a cousin, Vincent Gambini, a newly minted lawyer, to defend them.
3. Fracture (2007). This moving deals with a rising star of a prosecutor, and a murder defendant going pro se. The plot is good, if a bit fantastic, but the legal proceedings are done with a very keen eye.
4. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). Penned for the screen by Horton Foote, the movie was an instant classic, as lawyer Finch rises above the naked racism of Depression-era Alabama to defend a crippled black man (Brock Peters) falsely accused of rape by a lonely, young white woman.
5. Philidephia (1993). Tom Hanks won an Oscar as an Ivy-educated gay attorney who claims his big-time law firm fired him after discovering he contracted AIDS.
6. Erin Brockovich (2000). Lawyer line of the movie, she to him: “Do they teach lawyers to apologize? ’Cause you suck at it.” Note the real Ms. Brockovich got her law degree and now practices.
7. Kramer v. Kramer (1979). An all-too-painful reminder of the human toll that is possible when domestic relations litigation takes a nasty turn.
8. The Paper Chase (1973). The real drama, however, is the demanding milieu of Harvard Law School, where reputations can be made and broken in a single, grueling class. (Yes, law school is REALLY like that, even if you don't go to Harvard).
9. A Civil Action (1998). Best lawyer line goes to Facher: “Pride has lost more cases than lousy evidence, idiot witnesses and a hanging judge all put together. There is absolutely no place in a courtroom for pride.” This is a great illustration of what happens when you are a lawyer but a LOUSY business person. So, take the warning and heed it well.
10. THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE (1997) A new attorney introduced into the world’s most powerful law firm discovers that its managing partner is morally challenged. Did you really think that Pacino would not make this list somewhere?????? Not because this is a great, realistic thing, but because it shows the ethical dilemmas you will face, and the inner warfare of losing who you are.
So, if you have some free time, check these out.