UC Berkeley Library

Lawyers & the Legal Process in Film

Chained for Life(1951)

Director, Harry L. Fraser. Cast: The Hilton Sisters, Mario Laval, Allen Jenkins, Patricia Wright, Alan Keys, Norvel Mitchtell. Daisy and Violet Hilton, real life siamese twins, star in a vaudeville-singing act. When a gigolo deserts one twin on their wedding night, the other twin kills him. The Hamilton twins go on trial and the judge asks the viewer to hand down the verdict. 81 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Character (Karakter) (Netherlands / Belgium, 1997)

Directed by Mike Van Diem. Cast: Jan DeCleir, Fedja Van Huet, Betty Schuurman, Tamar Van Den Dop, Victor Low, Hans Kesting. Dreverhaven is dead. The city's most feared bailiff, the curse of the poor, the agent of law without compassion--discovered with a knife through his heart. A self-taught lawyer who just passed his exams was the last person to see Drevehaven alive. Now, the police want to know why he visited the old man, and the young barrister is ready to tell the story of a lifetime. 125 min.

Chicago (2002)

Directed by Rob Marshall. Cast: Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, John C. Reily, Lucy Liu, Taye Diggs, Christine Baranski. Music, John Kander: lyrics, Fred Ebb: original score music, Danny Elfman. In this dazzling musical set at a time when crimes of passion result in celebrity headlines, nightclub sensation Velma Kelly and spotlight-seeking Roxie Hart both find themselves on Chicago's famed Murderess Row. They also share Billy Flynn, the town's slickest lawyer with a talent for turning notorious defendants into local legends.


Directors: Frank Urson, Cecil B. DeMille Cast: Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou, George Montgomery, Lynne Overman, Nigel Bruce, Phil Silvers, Sara Allgood, William Frawley, Spring Byington. Based on a true crime story, the movies is about a jazz-loving flapper Roxie Hart, put on trial for the murder of her lover, who hits the headlines with her courtroom theatrics. Based on the play "Chicago" by Maurine Dallas Watkins. 119 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Class Action (1990)

Director, Michael Apted. Cast: Gene Hackman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Colin Friels, Joanna Merlin, Laurence Fishburne. A court of law becomes a battleground for a father and daughter as they find themselves facing each other as opposing attorneys in a multimillion dollar law suit involving a potentially defective auto design that could involve corporate corruption and violations of legal ethics. 110 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Compulsion (1959)

Director, Richard Fleischer. Cast: Orson Welles, Dean Stockwell, Diane Varsi, Bradford Dillman, E.G. Marshall, Martin Milner, Richard Anderson. A riveting true story about the notorious 1924 Leopold-Loeb murder case. Brilliant attorney Clarence Darrow defended two wealthy Chicago teenagers who thought their superior intellect would enable them to execute the perfect crime. Darrow's history-making and controversial defense against capital punishment saved the boys from a death sentence. 105 min.

Counsellor at Law (1933)

Director, William Wyler. Cast: John Barrymore, Bebe Daniels, Doris Kenyon, Melvyn Douglas, Isabel Jewell, Thelma Todd. High-powered attorney George Simon frantically juggles the scandals, crimes, and crises that pass through the chrome-and-glass doors of his art deco office high in the Empire State Building. Balanced on an ethical tightrope, Simon engages in insider trading and bleeds funds from wealthy clients, while tending to the needs of the less fortunate New Yorkers who come from his own working-class background.

Devil's Advocate (1997 )

Directed by Taylor Hackford. Cast: Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, Jeffrey Jones, Judith Ivey, Craig T. Nelson. Hotshot attorney Kevin Lomax's 64-0 case record has brought him a tempting offer from an elite New York firm. But the job Lomax accepts isn't what it seems. The Devil is in the details. 144 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
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Dirty Pictures (2000)

Directed by Frank Pierson. Cast: James Woods, Craig T. Nelson, Diana Scarwid, Leon Pownall, Judah Katz. Commentary: William F. Buckley, Barney Frank, Salman Rushdie, Fran Lebowitz, Susan Sarandon. Based on true events, tells the story of Cincinnati museum director Dennis Barrie, who went on trial in 1990 to protect the right of freedom of expression. Interspersed within the film's narrative, are interviews with cultural figures who address the censorship issue. A number of the actual Robert Mapplethorpe photographs that were at the heart of the controversy were used in the production.

Dishonored Lady (1947)

Directed by Robert Stevenson. Cast: Hedy Lamarr, Dennis O'Keefe, John Loder, William Lundigan. Hedy Lamarr is Madeleine Damien, a gorgeous and sophisticated fashion editor living life in the fast lane in an age when "good girls didn't." Depressed by her tarnished reputation, she deliberately crashes her car into a tree and lands on a psychiatrist's couch. Encouraged to change her ways, she starts over with a new name and a new career. She falls in love with a young doctor but her past-life returns to haunt her.