For me when I was younger I was never much of a fan of Drama movies… I mean there were some good ones out there but for the most part the only ones that I knew about were the movies that my Mom, and my Sister really enjoyed, (like Gone With The Wind (1939), and Sense And Sensibility (1995) or films that would generally be considered to be, ‘chick flicks’.)
Now I apologize for the sexism in using the term, ‘chick flick’, they are good films, and definitely attract a type of audience, but unfortunately it is not really my type of film!
With that said though, in the 90s I came to discover another type of Drama that I found that I really liked, that type of course being the, ‘Court Room Drama’!
I found this type of movie to be rather fascinating for several reasons:
1. Being a young man and not being very well versed at the time with how the Criminal Justice System works, I was able to get at least some understanding of how the Criminal Justice System worked!
2. Being a horror movie fan one of the things that I like about horror movies, and which translated real well in to the court room drama setting is just how you really root for the one who (well in the case of horror movies), is the one you want to take out the big bad guys, and in the case of court room dramas, the person that you oft times want them to get off of the crime they are blamed for!
3. The last thing that I would mention here, is that in the case of Court Room Dramas, they usually have great acting from great actors, as well as great story lines!
A couple of examples of this are:
1. Judgement In Berlin (1988) starring Martin Sheen (The Final Countdown), this movie tells the story of an East Berlin man and woman who decide to hijack a plane so that they can make it to the West and escape Soviet tyranny, and the legendary trial that ensued!
This movie is actually based on the novel (which in turn was based on the true story of a group of East Germans that hijacked a Polish plane in the late 70s!)
2. The next one that I thought that I would mention is Murder In The First (1995):
Now this one is an interesting one, because even though this movie has certain elements that were based on real people and places, etc… It is largely a fictitious film that has to do with a young lawyer who ends up with a client who is a prisoner on the island prison of, ‘Alcatraz’, who kills a fellow inmate, and ends up putting the entire prison on trial after he finds out that the inmate has been abused!
3. The last one that I thought that I would mention here is the movie, High Crimes (2002):
This one is a fun departure from the movies that I mentioned above… What I mean by this is that this movie tells the story of a Soldier who deserts, but years later, and after he has changed his life, and is now a married man, ends up being captured and put on trial, with his wife (played by Ashley Judd) trying to get her husband out of prison, with the help of a lawyer by the name of Charles M. Grimes (played by Morgan Freeman)!
In the end, these are just a few of my favorite Court Room Dramas that I thought that I’d mention here, but wether they involve the Military, a mother trying to escape an abusive husband by killing him, or even if they are based on a true story, there are literally many great Court Room Dramas out there, and the stories that are in these Court Room Dramas are just simply well… Awesome!
Here’s a few to get you started:
Narrow Margin (1990) Gene Hackman
And Justice For All (1979) Al Pacino
Runaway Jury (2003) John Cusack
Illegally Yours (1988) Rob Lowe
The Rainmaker (1997) Matt Damon
Double Jeopardy (1999) Tommy Lee Jones
A Few Good Men (1992) Jack Nicholson