Since PrawfsBlawg is experimenting with “research canons,” I thought I’d take this opportunity to create a “law movie canon” post. So here’s a list of my five favorite law movies. I’m basing this list on the following totally objective standard: Do I really like the movie? I actually happen to be an expert in things I like, and I therefore believe I am uniquely situated to create this list.
So here’s my list, in no particular order:
1. Anatomy of a Murder
This is a wonderful film about a murder trial, filled with brilliant trial scenes and tons of great issues ranging from attorney ethics to truth-seeking at trial.
2. Breaker Morant
A fantastic film about the trial of three soldiers who follow an order to kill a group of prisoners of war in violation of the rules of warfare. A deep exploration of the nature of law and justice during wartime.
3. My Cousin Vinny
Perhaps the best legal comedy movie ever made. Absolutely hilarious.
4. To Kill A Mockingbird
A superb film adapted from a great book.
5. Twelve Angry Men
A terrific exploration of the themes of judging and the role of perception and experience in the legal decision-making process and a great demonstration of the value of persistent questioning and analysis.
Of course, there are many more law movies I’ve liked, but these are a class apart. What are your favorite law movies?