Courtroom movies are about digging up buried secrets and seeking truth in the nooks and crannies of an unsolved case, as it all leads to a thrilling legal showdown. If the Sherlock Holmes in you is eager to open another cold case, you’re in the right place. On the internet, I mean.
Taking old and new hits from the vast archives of Hollywood, this article includes a selection of the best courtroom drama movies that will keep you on the edge of your seat as the suspense escalates.
So, without further delay, let’s get started with this list!
The Lincoln Lawyer
|Cast||Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe|
|Genre||Crime, Drama, Mystery|
|Release Date||March 10, 2011|
Based on the best-selling novel by Michael Conelly, this movie stars Matthew McConaughey as the street-smart and curious defense attorney Mickey Haller.
When Haller takes up a high-profile case of a very wealthy man accused of murder, he realizes there’s more to the story than all visible on the surface. Hence, the deeper he digs in, the more he gets entangled in an intricate web of lies and conspiracies.
The Trial of the Chicago 7
|Cast||Eddie Redmayne, Alex Sharp, Sacha Baron Cohen|
|Genre||Drama, History, Thriller|
|Release Date||September 25, 2020|
‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ is a thought-provoking film that takes one back to a pivotal moment in American history. It is based on the trial of seven people under various charges of inciting violence and corruption among protestors following the turbulent uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.
This movie has made its mark among the best courtroom drama movies because of its story and the impactful performances by Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, and more.
|Cast||Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, Nouhe Hamady Bari, Saadna Hamoud|
|Genre||Crime, Drama, Biography|
|Release Date||February 12, 2021|
Based on the actual case of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, ‘The Mauritanian’ explores the boundaries of justice within the US legal system.
After being detained for more than two years at Guantanamo Bay under false charges of being involved in the 9/11 tragedy, Slahi finally sees a light amidst the bleak reality of his life and chance for freedom when a determined defense attorney, played by Jodie Foster, takes up his case.
|Cast||Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga|
|Release Date||October 10, 2014|
Robert Downey Jr. plays the role of a successful lawyer, Hank Palmer, who has returned to his hometown to help his estranged father, a judge accused of murder.
In doing so, Hank gets a chance to mend relations with the rest of his estranged family. ‘The Judge’ goes beyond legal drama and explores complex family dynamics.
On The Basis of Sex
|Cast||Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux|
|Release Date||November 8, 2018|
This is a depiction of the true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to become the Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. New to motherhood and struggling to make her place in the world of justice as an attorney, this is Ginsburg’s story of the challenges and hardships she faced on her journey to the top.
If you’re fond of stories belonging to powerful women who’ve made it in the books of history, this surely would be one of the best courtroom drama movies for you to watch right away.
|Cast||Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Edward Norton|
|Genre||Crime, Drama, Mystery|
|Release Date||April 3, 1996|
Accused of the murder of a church priest, a young altar boy, Aaron Stampler, played by Edward Norton, depends on a charismatic attorney, Martin Vail, to bring him justice.
But things are not as simple as they seem when Vail digs deeper into a web of lies and deception that leads to a devastating revelation. As for Norton, his performance as the seemingly innocent and naive Stampler earned him an Academy Award nomination.
12 Angry Men
|Cast||Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam|
|Release Date||April 10, 1957|
‘12 Angry Men’ is a timeless classic directed by Sidney Lumet that explores the world of justice and the power of human logic and reasoning. The movie is shot almost entirely inside a courtroom where twelve jurors decide the fate of one young man accused of murdering his father.
Faced with a cruel dilemma, these twelve jurors must make the right decision, for when the gavel bangs against the block, their collective verdict could either save the young man or adversely affect his life.
This movie was released back in 1957, and yet it still stands among one of the best courtroom drama movies to date.
To Kill a Mockingbird
|Cast||Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton|
|Release Date||December 25, 1962|
Based on the international and globally acclaimed bestseller of the same title by Harper Lee, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a testament to human conscience and morals. Set in Depression-era Alabama, Atticus Finch is a widowed lawyer fighting the case for a young black man, Tom Robinson, charged with the rape of a white woman.
Finch also tries to teach his children the morals of the human society. This story is told from the perspective of his daughter, Scout, who witnesses the complexities of human morals and legal standards in the face of racial justice.
A Few Good Men
|Cast||Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore|
|Release Date||December 9, 1992|
Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, played by the charming Tom Cruise, is a US Military Lawyer assigned to protect two Marine men accused of murder at Guantanamo Bay.
The two accused men say they acted under orders, but is that all there is to the story? Uncovering the truth is now up to Kaffee, but the unfortunate complications of military justice do not make matters easy for him.
Whether you’re a legal enthusiast, an aspiring law student, or simply seeking the cinematic thrill of the courthouses, these best courtroom drama movies will surely provide you with the entertainment you’re looking for.
Allow me to bid farewell now. Happy streaming!