• LAWGIC STRATUM

10 FASCINATING COURTROOM DRAMAS/ MOVIES

Author: Ritika Rajkumar



Courtroom drama can also be referred to as a legal drama; it is a subgenre of dramatic fiction that enthralls roughly on crime, lawyer work, detective-based mystery-solving, law enforcement, or civil litigation.


Undoubtedly one of the reasons courtroom dramas are so infallible is that they are much like a court case. In the world of movies, there have been a bundle of courtroom dramas to accomplish the judicial system and courtroom cases, both based on real-life and fictional. It is not just characters being put on trial either. It is the establishment, the system, a whole country, and you and me watching on.


Whether you refer to them as courtroom dramas, lawyer movies, legal movies, etc., movies revolving around the law, crime, and the courtroom have been entertaining and challenging, and intriguing for moviegoers.


What makes you a truly gripping courtroom drama? Injustices revealed? More plot twists? Here I have come up with the most fascinating courtroom dramas.

12 ANGRY MEN (1957)


A compilation of the greatest American films of all time is today regarded as a cinematic classic. This movie centers on a jury of 12 people deliberating whether or not 18-year-old impoverished youth should be found guilty of killing his father. If there is any valid doubt, the jury must find the suspect not guilty, if they return a guilty charge, the young man will be put to death. The legacy of this movie is built on the focus of the men confronting their moral biases when evaluating the youth’s case.


JUDGEMENT AT NUREMBERG (1961)


This is based on the Trial of 1947, wherein the US army held military tribunals for several captured Nazi war criminals. The film focus on the Chief Trial Judge, an American presiding over the trial of four German soldiers accused of crimes against humanity for their part in the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. Amid the trial, the chief Judge wanders the streets of Nuremberg talking to several Germans in an attempt to understand how the nation could have turned a blind eye to the Nazi Party’s activities. The film explores the complexities of what constitutes an absolute crime, based on cultural philosophies, culture control, and political implications.


TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD (1962)


This movie is based on Harper Lee’s groundbreaking novel, which went to win 3 Oscars (Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Director in Black and White, and Best Actor for its star Gregory Peck) at the 35th Academy awards. Set in a fictional Alabama town during the 1030s against a backdrop of racial tension where a Black man was falsely accused of sexually assaulting a white woman. Lawyer Atticus Finch is assigned todefending a Black man, which includes educating his children.To kill a Mockingbird was also admitted into the National Film Registry in1995 for its cultural and historical importance.


A FEW GOOD MEN (1992)


Reluctant Navy lawyer Lieutenant David Kaffeewas appointed to defend two marines court-aggressive for the murder of a fellow marine at the US Navy’s Guantanamo Bay, Cuba base. Accompanied by naval investigator Lieutenant Commander, it comes to light that the accused marines were acting under ‘code red’ orders, a sort of hazing ritual, issued by the victim’s commanding officer Lieutenant. The movie takes an interesting look at the junction of law, trials, and armed forces.


PHILADELPHIA(1993)


One of the major films to address AIDS discrimination. A gay corporate lawyer is fired from his prestigious law firm in Philadelphia after his boss finds out he has AIDS. After getting fired, he decides to sue the firm for unethical termination and has a difficult time finding a lawyer to represent him against his old firm. The film was partly inspired byreallife. It won Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Actor.


IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER (1993)


This movie shows that the British police were so obsessed with the need to produce the IRA bombers and tortured the prisoners to extract confessions, where they spend 15 years trying to clear the names. This film is based on Conlon’s autobiography.


SHAHID (2012)


This movie is a biopic of the murdered criminal lawyer, Shahid Azmi. Shahid Azmi was killed in 2010 at his Mumbai office after having famously represented lower middle-class Muslim men who are indiscriminately picked up and implicated by the police and make sure justice prevailed in solving cases involving terrorism and communal violence. The movie shows Shahid as an undaunted and upright man, doing his job diligently inside the courtroom.


THE ATTORNEY (2013)


This movie is based on the 1981 ‘Burim case’ during the authoritarian regime, where teachers, 22 students, and office workers were arrested without any warrants. A tax lawyer, made a team to defend the arrested against the government. The impact of this case was huge at that time, that lawyer laterbecame the president of South Korea. This film was a huge success in the country and internationally and become the 8th best-selling film of all time.


PINK (2016)


Pink is a strong statement on the existing feudal mindset of a majority of people in India, where men and women are judged by a different yardstick. If the man/men happen to be from a powerful family, then the fight for justice is even more skewed.

This film possesses an emotional velocity regarding the theme of violating a women’s private space.


SECTION 375 (2019)


Section 375 is a bold courtroom drama, a case of molesting costume designer assistant. The objective of the film was never to establish who is guilty and who is not. In life there are never clear victims and villains, section 375 reminds. This movie makes you do serious thinking about a prime contemporary issue without getting preachy about it and yet never slipping into the flippant mode.



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