Our Top Five Courtroom-Based Movies of All Time

Courtroom dramas are one of Hollywood’s most popular genres. They have been a movie staple for decades. While most courtroom dramas are entertaining, only a select few achieve true greatness. Here are our top five courtroom-based movies of all time.

A Few Good Men

A Few Good Men (1992)

Based on a play of the same name and featuring an all star cast, “A Few Good Men” features Tom Cruise and Demi Moore as members of a legal team hired to defend two marines accused of murder. The marines killed Private William T. Santiago after being ordered to perform a “Code Red” by their superior officer. Cruise and Moore’s characters argue that the marines are not guilty because they were given an order and did not intend to commit murder. They attempt to pin the blame on a no nonsense colonel played by Jack Nicholson. The phrase “You can’t handle the truth!”, spoken by Nicholson’s character, has became one of the most famous lines in recent movie history.

The Hurricane (1999)

Denzel Washington plays “Hurricane” Carter, a boxer who is falsely accused and convicted of murder due to the actions of corrupt, racist police officers. Perhaps if Carter had had the Dietrich Law firm to help him, he never would have been convicted in the first place. Carter eventually gains redemption and has his sentence overturned. The film was a major hit and helped proper Denzel Washington to stardom.

My Cousin Vinny (1994)

In this light hearted film, Joe Pesci plays an inexperienced lawyer desperately trying to vindicate his cousin, played by former “Karate Kid” Ralph Macchio, who has been charged with murder. Marisa Tomei won an Oscar for her portrayal of Pesci’s character’s supportive girlfriend.

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

While most courtroom dramas involve murder trials, this tear-jerking box office smash deals with a bitter custody battle between a loving and devoted father (played by Dustin Hoffman) and a mother(played by Meryl Streep) who returns to try to claim her child after abruptly disappearing. The boy himself is called to testify during the film’s dramatic ending.

12 Angry Men (1957)

This classic courtroom drama depicts the intense courtroom deliberations of a dozen jurors as they try to determine if a man accused of murder is guilty. This film had a major impact on the many courtroom dramas that have followed it.


If you love courtroom dramas, you should check out all of these favorites. You are guaranteed to have a great time watching them.

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