- Home Page
"A to Z"
List of Law-Related Movies
Movies Organized by
Substantive Law Subject
Set out below are the top 10
movies from my "A to
Z" list, as chosen by me:
Castle (1997). Starring
Michael Caton. An extremely hilarious
Australian comedy dealing with, of all things,
expropriation (hence the title, which stems
from the saying "A man's home is his castle").
Some hilarious courtroom scenes.
Laugh-out-loud funny. See Roger
Ebert's review (3 out of 4 stars).
Fish Called Wanda (1998).
Starring John Cleese, Kevin Kline, Eric Idle
and Jamie Lee Curtis. A hilarious movie in
which John Cleese plays a barrister who gets
tangled up with a group of bungling diamond
thieves. Extremely funny. Only marginally law
related but the funny scenes with Cleese
getting caught dancing in the buff are worth
it. Read Roger
Ebert's review (4 out of 4 stars).
(1982). Starring Ben Kingsley and a cast of
thousands. Directed by Richard Attenborough.
An epic story of the life of Mahatma Gandhi
who started as a lawyer in South Africa and
who end up liberating India from British
domination through his policies of
non-violence. Read Roger Ebert's 4 of 4 stars
Him Have It (1991). Based on
a true story in the early 1950's in England
where two young men are tried for and found
guilty of the murder of a policeman. One of
the young men avoids the death penalty because
of his age but the other is hanged, despite
his having the mental capacity of a young
child. Gripping courtroom scenes (based on
actual transcripts). An excellent movie. Read
Ebert's review (3.5 out of 4 stars).
(2016). Starring Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton,
directed by Jeff Nichols. A well-done
fictional recounting of the true life
courtroom battle of Richard and Mildred
Loving, an inter-racial married couple who
successfully challenged Virginia state law
prohibiting interacial marriage in the US
Supreme Court decision in 1967 in Loving
v Virginia. Read the
positive review of The New York Times.
Making a Murderer
(2015, 2018). This 10-episode
documentary with a 10-episode second season
released in 2018 (and both available on Netflix Canada),
tells the story of Steven Avery, and his fight
within the Wisconsin judicial system regarding
his wrongful conviction for rape and his fight
with the police officers who put in him jail
(note: this summary is brief to avoid
including spoiler alerts). A compelling story.
Paper Chase (1973). Starring
Timothy Bottoms, Lindsay "The Bionic Woman"
Wagner and John Houseman as Professor
Kingsfield. The now classic "must see" movie
for law students about the struggles of a
first-year law student and the battles he
faces with his contracts professor (especially
after he finds out he has been dating his
daughter). Now somewhat dated, it is still a
lot of fun to watch. Note the scenes with the
law librarian. Parts of the movie were filmed
in Toronto. Houseman won the Academy Award for
his performance. Read the original New
York Times review
Fence (2002). Directed by Phillip
Noyce and stars Kenneth Branagh. Based on the
true story of 3 aboriginal girls
("half-castes") taken from their Aboriginal
mothers and placed in a government residential
school to be "domesticated". The movie
documents their attempts to return to their
families across the Outback, following a
rabbit-proof fence. Read
Roger Ebert's review (3.5 out of 4
(series) (2010-2018). Starring Richard
Roxburgh. This hilarious drama/comedy follows
the career of Sydney barrister Cleaver Greene
(played by Richard Roxburgh) in court with
senile judges and interfering politicians.
Extremely funny with many interesting legal
issues for his clients. Available on Netflix Canada.
Kill a Mockingbird (1962).
Starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. A
solid dramatization of Harper Lee's novel
telling the story of Atticus Finch and his
daughter Scout and how Atticus defends a black
man wrongfully charged with rape in a
racially-biased environment. Peck won the Best
Actor Oscar. Read Roger Ebert's review here.