Greatest Legal Thrillers

by Philip_Marlowe_ | created - 5 months ago | updated - 5 months ago | Public

The definitive list of the greatest legal thrillers produced by Hollywood. Which is your favorite?

 Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc
  • Instant Watch Options
  • Genres
  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • On TV
  • Release Year
  • Keywords




IMDb user rating (average) to
Number of votes to »




Reset



Reset
Release year or range to »




































































































1. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

Not Rated | 179 min | Drama, War

60 Metascore

In 1948, an American court in occupied Germany tries four Nazis judged for war crimes.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich

Votes: 63,198

2. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Not Rated | 129 min | Crime, Drama

88 Metascore

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.

Director: Robert Mulligan | Stars: Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy

Votes: 277,295

3. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama

96 Metascore

A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler

Votes: 613,676 | Gross: $4.36M

4. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Not Rated | 161 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

95 Metascore

In a murder trial, the defendant says he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. What is the truth, and will he win his case?

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell

Votes: 55,078 | Gross: $11.90M

5. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Not Rated | 116 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A veteran British barrister must defend his client in a murder trial that has surprise after surprise.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester

Votes: 95,731 | Gross: $8.18M

6. Runaway Jury (2003)

PG-13 | 127 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

61 Metascore

A juror on the inside and a woman on the outside manipulate a court trial involving a major gun manufacturer.

Director: Gary Fleder | Stars: John Cusack, Rachel Weisz, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman

Votes: 86,568 | Gross: $49.44M

7. The Verdict (1982)

R | 129 min | Drama

77 Metascore

A lawyer sees the chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason

Votes: 32,976 | Gross: $54.00M

8. Primal Fear (1996)

R | 129 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

47 Metascore

An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.

Director: Gregory Hoblit | Stars: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Edward Norton, John Mahoney

Votes: 167,880 | Gross: $56.12M

9. The Rainmaker (1997)

PG-13 | 135 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

72 Metascore

An underdog lawyer takes on a fraudulent insurance company.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Claire Danes, Jon Voight

Votes: 57,059 | Gross: $45.86M

10. JFK (1991)

R | 189 min | Drama, History, Thriller

72 Metascore

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau

Votes: 132,692 | Gross: $70.41M

11. Philadelphia (1993)

PG-13 | 125 min | Drama

66 Metascore

When a man with HIV is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell, Buzz Kilman

Votes: 209,830 | Gross: $77.32M

12. Amistad (1997)

R | 155 min | Drama, History

63 Metascore

In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman

Votes: 66,964 | Gross: $44.18M

13. The Devil's Advocate (1997)

R | 144 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

60 Metascore

An exceptionally adept Florida lawyer is offered a job at a high-end New York City law firm with a high-end boss - the biggest opportunity of his career to date.

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, Jeffrey Jones

Votes: 307,304 | Gross: $60.98M

14. My Cousin Vinny (1992)

R | 120 min | Comedy, Crime

68 Metascore

Two New Yorkers are accused of murder in rural Alabama while on their way back to college, and one of their cousins--an inexperienced, loudmouth lawyer not accustomed to Southern rules and manners--comes in to defend them.

Director: Jonathan Lynn | Stars: Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Ralph Macchio, Mitchell Whitfield

Votes: 98,387 | Gross: $52.93M

15. The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama

79 Metascore

The story of a controversial pornography publisher and how he became a defender of free speech.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, Edward Norton, Brett Harrelson

Votes: 83,490 | Gross: $20.19M

16. Denial (II) (2016)

PG-13 | 109 min | Biography, Drama

63 Metascore

Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel.

Director: Mick Jackson | Stars: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall, Andrew Scott

Votes: 17,120 | Gross: $4.07M

17. Conviction (II) (2010)

R | 107 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

61 Metascore

A working mother puts herself through law school in an effort to represent her brother, who has been wrongfully convicted of murder and has exhausted his chances to appeal his conviction through public defenders.

Director: Tony Goldwyn | Stars: Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Melissa Leo, Thomas D. Mahard

Votes: 40,230 | Gross: $6.78M

18. Find Me Guilty (2006)

R | 125 min | Biography, Comedy, Crime

65 Metascore

In the late 1980s, a low level gangster named Jackie DiNorscio defends himself in court in what became the longest criminal trial in American judicial history.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Vin Diesel, Peter Dinklage, Ron Silver, Alex Rocco

Votes: 31,351 | Gross: $1.17M

19. Erin Brockovich (2000)

R | 131 min | Biography, Drama

73 Metascore

An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin, Dawn Didawick

Votes: 161,697 | Gross: $125.60M

20. A Time to Kill (1996)

R | 149 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

54 Metascore

In Canton, Mississippi, a fearless young lawyer and his assistant defend a black man accused of murdering two white men who raped his ten-year-old daughter, inciting violent retribution and revenge from the Ku Klux Klan.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey

Votes: 121,469 | Gross: $108.77M

21. Michael Clayton (2007)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

82 Metascore

A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multibillion-dollar class action suit.

Director: Tony Gilroy | Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Michael O'Keefe

Votes: 150,015 | Gross: $49.03M

22. ...and justice for all. (1979)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

58 Metascore

A lawyer is forced to defend a guilty judge, while defending other innocent clients, and trying to find punishment for the guilty and provide justice for the innocent.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Al Pacino, Jack Warden, John Forsythe, Lee Strasberg

Votes: 28,086

23. The Firm (1993)

R | 154 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

58 Metascore

A young lawyer joins a prestigious law firm only to discover that it has a sinister dark side.

Director: Sydney Pollack | Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Hal Holbrook

Votes: 108,475 | Gross: $158.35M

24. A Few Good Men (1992)

R | 138 min | Drama, Thriller

62 Metascore

Military lawyer Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee defends Marines accused of murder. They contend they were acting under orders.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon

Votes: 218,425 | Gross: $141.34M

25. A Civil Action (1998)

PG-13 | 115 min | Drama

68 Metascore

A tenacious lawyer takes on a case involving a major company responsible for causing several people to be diagnosed with leukemia due to the town's water supply being contaminated, at the risk of bankrupting his firm and career.

Director: Steven Zaillian | Stars: John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Kathleen Quinlan, Tony Shalhoub

Votes: 26,138 | Gross: $56.70M

26. The Whole Truth (2016)

R | 93 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

46 Metascore

A defense attorney works to get his teenage client acquitted of murdering his wealthy father.

Director: Courtney Hunt | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Renée Zellweger, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Gabriel Basso

Votes: 20,412

27. The Judge (2014)

R | 141 min | Crime, Drama

48 Metascore

Big-city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his father, the town's judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family.

Director: David Dobkin | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton

Votes: 165,918 | Gross: $47.12M

28. The Trials of Cate McCall (2013)

Not Rated | 89 min | Crime, Drama

In order to be reinstated to the bar and recover custody of her daughter, a hotshot lawyer, now in recovery and on probation, must take on the appeal of a woman wrongfully convicted of murder.

Director: Karen Moncrieff | Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Nick Nolte, James Cromwell, Mark Pellegrino

Votes: 5,038

29. The Life of David Gale (2003)

R | 130 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

31 Metascore

A man against capital punishment is accused of murdering a fellow activist and is sent to death row.

Director: Alan Parker | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Cleo King

Votes: 102,908 | Gross: $19.59M

30. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

63 Metascore

A lawyer defending a wealthy man begins to believe his client is guilty of more than just one crime.

Director: Brad Furman | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy

Votes: 198,901 | Gross: $58.01M

31. The Insider (1999)

R | 157 min | Biography, Drama, Thriller

84 Metascore

A research chemist comes under personal and professional attack when he decides to appear in a "60 Minutes" expose on Big Tobacco.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Diane Venora

Votes: 151,613 | Gross: $28.97M

32. Fracture (2007)

R | 113 min | Crime, Drama

68 Metascore

An attorney intent on climbing the career ladder toward success, finds an unlikely opponent in a manipulative criminal he is trying to prosecute.

Director: Gregory Hoblit | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike

Votes: 172,508 | Gross: $39.02M

33. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

PG | 105 min | Drama

77 Metascore

Ted Kramer's wife leaves him, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.

Director: Robert Benton | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander, Justin Henry

Votes: 120,910 | Gross: $106.26M

34. In the Name of the Father (1993)

R | 133 min | Biography, Drama

84 Metascore

A man's coerced confession to an IRA bombing he did not commit results in the imprisonment of his father as well. An English lawyer fights to free them.

Director: Jim Sheridan | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite, Alison Crosbie, Philip King

Votes: 144,317 | Gross: $25.01M

35. Inherit the Wind (1960)

Passed | 128 min | Biography, Drama, History

75 Metascore

Based on a real-life case in 1925, two great lawyers argue the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Dick York

Votes: 25,127

36. Breaker Morant (1980)

PG | 107 min | Drama, History, War

72 Metascore

Three Australian lieutenants are court martialed for executing prisoners as a way of deflecting attention from war crimes committed by their superior officers.

Director: Bruce Beresford | Stars: Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson, John Waters, Bryan Brown

Votes: 11,439 | Gross: $7.14M

37. Changeling (2008)

R | 141 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

63 Metascore

Grief-stricken mother Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) takes on the L.A.P.D. to her own detriment when it tries to pass off an obvious impostor as her missing child.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Angelina Jolie, Colm Feore, Amy Ryan, Gattlin Griffith

Votes: 225,541 | Gross: $35.74M

38. Nothing But the Truth (I) (2008)

R | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

64 Metascore

In Washington, D.C., a female reporter faces a possible jail sentence for outing a CIA agent and refusing to reveal her source.

Director: Rod Lurie | Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon, Vera Farmiga, Angela Bassett

Votes: 34,637 | Gross: $0.00M

39. The Enforcer (1951)

Approved | 87 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller

A crusading district attorney finally gets a chance to prosecute the organizer and boss of Murder Inc.

Directors: Bretaigne Windust, Raoul Walsh | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Zero Mostel, Ted de Corsia, Everett Sloane

Votes: 3,915

40. The Conspirator (2010)

PG-13 | 122 min | Crime, Drama, History

55 Metascore

Mary Surratt is the lone female charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination trial of Abraham Lincoln. As the whole nation turns against her, she is forced to rely on her reluctant lawyer to uncover the truth and save her life.

Director: Robert Redford | Stars: Robin Wright, James McAvoy, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin Kline

Votes: 26,613 | Gross: $11.54M

41. Compulsion (1959)

Approved | 103 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Two wealthy law-school students go on trial for murder in this version of the Leopold-Loeb case.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Orson Welles, Dean Stockwell, Diane Varsi, Bradford Dillman

Votes: 5,369

42. The Accused (1988)

R | 111 min | Crime, Drama

65 Metascore

After a young woman suffers a brutal gang rape in a bar one night, a prosecutor assists in bringing the perpetrators to justice, including the ones who encouraged and cheered on the attack.

Director: Jonathan Kaplan | Stars: Kelly McGillis, Jodie Foster, Bernie Coulson, Leo Rossi

Votes: 29,441 | Gross: $32.07M

43. A Cry in the Dark (1988)

PG-13 | 120 min | Biography, Drama

A mother whose child was killed in a dingo attack in the Australian Outback fights to prove her innocence when she is accused of murder.

Director: Fred Schepisi | Stars: Meryl Streep, Sam Neill, Dale Reeves, David Hoflin

Votes: 8,543 | Gross: $6.91M



Recently Viewed