The Top Legal Movies of All Time

Legal movies are always fascinating to watch for various reasons. Aside from the story lines, they give us a glimpse into a world that is seemingly different to our own with all the legal jargons, intricacies and nuances of procedures, as well as real court room drama. The following are handpicked for a look into the different perspective on the law, procedures and the courtroom.

1. 12 Angry Men

This movie is about the deliberation of 12 jurors on whether an 18-year old defendant was guilty of murder. It shows the process of juror deliberation that eventually results to an outcome of a case – in this movie whether the son was guilty of murder and should be executed. It shows how personality, personal perspectives, morals and values influence the jury process as well as the power of one person that can change the whole playing field with emphasis on reasonable doubt.

Critics say the movie is gripping and powerful as it depicts a capital murder case. The director of the film, Sidney Lumet, has strong chops in developing the characters in the story. As the movie progresses, it showcases bias and a human side of the jury deliberation process. This examination of justice in the U.S. makes it one of the top legal movies of all time. 

2. Erin Brockovich

The biographical legal drama centers on a legal investigator, the process of due diligence and what it takes to put a case together. It magnifies the process of collection of evidence, and interviewing the plaintiff/s for their stories, as well as the emotional involvement in the case as an investigator works towards gathering everything together for a lawsuit.

3. The Client

This film is about protecting a minor who’s a witness to a crime committed by a criminal organization. It shows how individuals with different agendas and intentions were put together in the preservation of the law and justice. The Client’s emphasis is on the various personalities –a recovering addict/alcoholic, an ambitious lawyer and a helpless minor with distrust towards adults—and that with all these frailties, law and justice prevails.

4. North Country

The film was based on true events about sexual harassment in the workplace. It deals with the treatment of women in a male dominated environment where sexual advances and male misconducts were tolerated. It shows how one woman helped define change to protect women’s rights and gain respect from her peers.

5. To Kill A Mockingbird

The film is a classic example of how the law protects the marginalized and no man is above or below it. It is a courtroom drama based on a book with the same title that’s an American classic, dealing with racism, morality and trust in due process of the law.

There are several honorable mentions to this list including My Cousin Vinny, The Firm, and Reversal of Fortune. The law is seemingly a complicated subject as lawyers deliberate on the different aspects of the justice system, from testimonies, gathering and documentation of evidences, provisions as well as the injection of humanity within it. But in the end, it becomes simple as justice prevails.


Dennis P. Sawan


Licensed in Ohio and Georgia


Christopher A. Sawan


Licensed in Ohio and Michigan

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