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Neil Rosen’s film list: court room dramas


The courtroom drama makes for great cinema. Here is list of my favourites. I know I have left a few out like A Few Good Men and a Dock Brief but I can’t advocate what I have not seen, your honour.

Twelve Angry Men 1957 Sidney Lumet
Sidney Lumet’s first and best film with a stellar cast of powerful American actors like Henry Fonda, Jack Klugman, Edward Marshall, Ed Begley and Lee J Cobb . A film with values of fair play and persuasion that reach beyond the court drama.

To Kill a Mockingbird 1962 Robert Mulligan
Gregory Peck in his best role as Atticus Finch determined to see justice done both to a wrongly charged black man and by his children. Watch out for Lee Marvin in an early role and one of the children was Truman Capote.

The Wrong Man 1957 Alfred Hitchcock
The true story of a small time musician who is unjustly caused of a robbery in a typical Hitchcock film of mistaken identity who only establishes his innocence at great cost .

A Separation 2011 Asghar Farridi
An excellent Iranian film of the hearing of a couple seeking a divorce when they cannot decide to make a better life abroad for their child or look after a parent with dementia. It’s interesting to see divorce in a non western context.

Witness for the Prosecution 1957 Billy Wilder
Charles Laughton in fine form in this Agatha Christie written court room drama in which Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power also star.

Jagged Edge 1985 Jeff Ezterhas
A more modern drama in which Glenn Close the smart attorney falls for her client (Jeff Bridges) but is he guilty?

Kramer v Kramer 1979 Robert Benton
The definitive divorce drama. I love the facial expression of Dustin Hoffman when he is forced to reconsider himself after an observation of him in court by Meryl Streep.

The Spiral 2012
This is not technically a film but a tv drama. Audrey Fleurot is so good as the amoral lawyer and Philippe Duclos as the magistrate. I’ve watched every programme totally engaged and impressed . Edgy and fast paced, Its fascinating to watch a court drama in an investigative rather than adversarial system.

Music Box 1982 Costas Gavras
A clever film in which oscar winning Jessica Lange has to defend her fathe accused of being a concentration guard.

Breaker Morant 1980 Bruce Beresford
I wanted one military trial and this trial of injustice of 3 Australian soldiers charged with killing prisoners during the Boer War fits the bill.

Neil Rosen

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About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts