The Best Lawyer Movies

The Best Lawyer Movies

Our country has had an on again, off again love affair with the lawyer. Certainly when we need one, we love them. When we hear stories of people suing McDonald’s because their coffee was too hot, we tend to think of them differently. Not only the subject of a million bad jokes, they have also been the subject of many a film. Strangely enough, more of these films seem to be good-or at the minimum passable-than otherwise. Here we take a look at some of the best legal films out there.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Based on the typical novel by Harper Lee (though some continue it was at the minimum slightly written by Lee’s good friend Truman Capote, the film tells the tale of lawyer Atticus Finch, played flawlessly by Gregory Peck in the role that defined his career. Both the book and the movie tackle the subject of racism and whether a black man can get a fair trial in a very dark period of our nation’s history.

Inherit The Wind

If ever there was a legal movie that every lawyer should be required to watch, it would be this one. Spencer Tracy and Frederic March play Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan in a dramatization of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial that debated the legal precedent of teaching evolution in public schools. With intelligent design enthusiasts and evolutionists nevertheless battling over school curricula, this movie is as applicable now as it has ever been.


The movie that took Tom Hanks from a strictly comic actor into an Oscar winning powerhouse, it concerns a lawyer who contracts AIDS and is then fired from his job at a prestigious law firm. After being rejected by a dozen attorneys, his case is finally taken by his old courtroom competitor, played by Denzel Washington. More than just a legal procedural, the movie is the gripping emotional tale of human rights and how we deal with losing our loved ones.


Directed by Steven Spielberg, this all star film takes a look at a mostly forgotten case from the early days of American history. Set twenty years before the Civil War, Amistad is about the uprising of a slave ship and the prosecution of those slaves for murder, a case that makes it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Hopkins, and Morgan Freeman are all in top form in the retelling of this powerful story.

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