With the Oscars coming up, we’ve rounded up our favourite courtroom movies.
Philadelphia (1993) – Starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, this movie was inspired by the story of Geoffrey Bowers. Tom Hanks plays a successful lawyer at a high-profile law firm who sued his firm for unfair dismissal after they discovered he was gay and had AIDS. The only lawyer willing to advocate for his case was a young attorney, played by Denzel Washington. This movie made waves as it was the first mainstream Hollywood film to change the conversation about HIV and AIDS. Philadelphia went on to win two Oscars; Tom Hanks for Best Actor and Bruce Springsteen for Best Original Song.
The Verdict (1982) – Nominated for five Oscars, The Verdict was directed by Sidney Lumet and written by David Mamet. Paul Newman plays a drunken lawyer who tries to get his life back on track with a medical malpractice case.
The Rainmaker (1997) – Based on John Grisham’s 1995 novel, Matt Damon plays a young lawyer who works with a slimy ambulance chaser (Danny DeVito), to expose a corrupt insurance company that made millions by scamming their clients.
The War of the Roses (1989) – Danny DeVito narrates this black comedy, which follows the bitter divorce proceedings of a once happily married wealthy couple, played by Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.
A Civil Action (1998) – Nominated for two Oscars, A Civil Action stars John Travolta and Robert Duvall and is based on Jonathan Harr’s true story about a class action environmental pollution case in Woburn, Massachusetts. A lawsuit was filed after multiple townspeople died from leukemia and cancer which were caused as a result of pollution from two corporations, Beatrice Foods and W.R. Grace.
Erin Brockovich (2000) – Julia Roberts won an Oscar for her portrayal of the real-life Brockovich, a legal assistant who discovers a utility corporation’s attempts to cover-up the poisoning of a town’s water supply. The case would become one of the largest class action lawsuits in American history.