Top 20 Trial Movies

Films about trials capture us with a tough intellectual confrontation between defenders and prosecutors, where the defendant’s freedom and reputation are at stake. This selection presents the best court dramas of recent years, in which the intrigue remains until the last blow of the hammer. Some films reveal the imperfection of the system, while others give hope for the triumph of justice.

Trial of the Chicago Seven (2020)

The new movie, which received a high rating immediately after the premiere, is based on real events in 1968. The massive losses of the American army in Vietnam cause protests and demonstrations in the United States, turning into clashes with the police. In Chicago, authorities launched a high-profile lawsuit against the organizers of street riots. Judge Julius Hoffman, the namesake of one of the seven defendants, became the personification of the prejudice against pacifist rebels, because of which he makes a statement that he refuses his name, now disgraced.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Genre:
Thriller, biography

Actors:
Eddie Redmayne, Alex Sharp, Sacha Baron Cohen …

Country:
USA, UK, India

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 7.8

Age restrictions:
16+


Mauritanian (2020)

The list of the best films about the courts was replenished with a new foreign drama with elements of a thriller about the arbitrariness of the punitive system. After the events of September 11, a total hunt for terrorists was declared in the United States . Men of Arab origin fell under suspicion, and the confessions received from the detainees were explained by the brutality of the Guantanamo prison staff. Nancy Holander becomes the protector of one of the prisoners. At the trial, the woman intends to prove the innocence of the ward, and at the same time demonstrate to the world the inhuman conditions of detention of the accused.

Original title:
The Mauritanian

Genre:
Biography, drama, thriller

Actors:
Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Benedict Cumberbatch, Shailene Woodley …

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
18+


Dark Waters (2019)

Robert Bilott is an employee of a prestigious law firm dedicated to protecting the interests of large corporations. Among the firm’s clients is industrial giant DuPont, which produces non-stick cookware. The company claims that the products have passed the necessary checks and have quality certificates, but the shocking truth is hidden behind the big words and perfect documents.

Original title:
Dark Waters

Genre:
Thriller, drama, biography, history

Actors:
Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
16+


The Collini Case (2019)

The action of an interesting forensic detective takes place in Berlin, where the murder of an influential tycoon took place. The elderly Fabrizio Collini immediately surrendered to the police, confessed to his deed, but flatly refused to cooperate with the lawyer. Kaspar Lainen cannot talk to the ward, so he decides to independently establish the motives of the client’s act. The search for truth leads far into the past, where the gloomy secrets of the murdered businessman are hidden .

Original title:
Der Fall Collini

Genre:
Detective, drama

Actors:
Elias EmBarek, Heiner Lauterbach, Alexandra Maria Lara…

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Just Mercy (2019)

After graduating from Harvard University, African American Brian Stevenson intends to defend black compatriots. The young man does not charge for legal services, because he is driven by a sense of justice and a desire to help the undeservedly accused. However, the very first case leads to disappointment – the most powerful argument for the police and judges is the skin color of the suspect. But Brian does not give up – and gets involved in one of the most famous lawsuits.

Original title:
Just Mercy

Genre:
Drama, crime, biography

Actors:
Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
18+


Judgment (2018)

The Viguiers stopped getting along a long time ago, took lovers, continuing to be jealous and reproach each other. When Suzanne disappears without a trace, suspicion falls on Jacques, who had motives for killing his wife. The trial of Viguier lasted several years: the man was sent to prison , acquitted, and the proceedings began again. An old friend of the family, Nora, persuades a friend to help her in the investigation, because she believes in the innocence of Jacques. The film about judges and defendants is based on a real case that caused a huge outcry in France.

Original title:
Une intime conviction

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Marina Fois, Olivier Gourmet, Laurent Luca…

Country:
France, Belgium

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
12+


By gender (2018)

Ruth Ginsburg is one of Harvard Law School’s top graduates, but a degree isn’t enough to get a job. In the 70s of the last century, sexism flourished, so only men spoke at trials. The fight against injustice and discrimination became the main goal of Ruth – she did not give up in the face of difficulties and prejudice against women and eventually became the supreme judge of the United States.

Original title:
On the Basis of Sex

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux…

Country:
USA, China, Canada

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.1

Age restrictions:
16+


Reinvestigation (2017)

The Korean court drama is based on a true story, where a simple guy Hyun-woo was assigned to the role of a criminal by the police, in front of whom a murder was committed. But the police arrested the witness as the main accused, as a result of which he served 10 years. Lawyer Lee Jun Yong specializes in financial disputes and at first undertakes to defend a young man to move up the career ladder. However, soon victory in the lawsuit becomes a matter of honor and principle for him.

Original title:
Jaesim

Genre:
Drama, detective, biography

Actors:
Jung Woo, Kang Ha-neul, Lee Dong-hwi…

Country:
South Korea

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 6.8


Marshall (2017)

A small American town is shocked by a high-profile crime, because the victim of an African-American rapist was his rich employer. The chauffeur , Joseph Spell, was in the dock, and Thurgood Marshall was charged with the defense. The future first black justice of the Supreme Court is involved in the processes where the defendants are representatives of the colored population, and in most cases the suspicions are based on slander. Together with a Jewish lawyer, Thurgood is ready to confront the system and a racist society.

Original title:
Marshall

Genre:
Drama, crime, biography, history

Actors:
Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson…

Country:
USA, China, Hong Kong

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Judge (2014)

Hank Palmer charges dearly for his services, because he always wins processes for his clients. For the sake of victory, the lawyer resorts to tricks and lies, having long forgotten about conscience and the triumph of justice. Everything changes when his father, an honest and respected judge, is accused of premeditated murder. Hank comes to the defense of the parent, figuring out the causes of an unusual crime. A movie about a jury trial is worth watching for anyone who likes dramas with a life story.

Original title:
The Judge

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 7.4

Age restrictions:
18+


In the labyrinth of silence (2014)

A young prosecutor discovers new evidence of Nazi executioner atrocities a couple of decades after the end of World War II . Johann begins an investigation that brings former concentration camp employees to the dock . German society is divided into those who want to quickly forget the shameful past, and those who intend to restore justice by any means.

Original title:
Im Labyrinth des Schweigens

Genre:
Drama, history

Actors:
Alexander Fehling, Andre Shimansky, Frederike Becht …

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Lincoln for Lawyer (2011)

The iconic litigation movie will impress with the unpredictable plot twists of this highly rated legal thriller. Successful lawyer Mickey Holler believes that the innocent must be acquitted, and is guided by this principle in his work. The next client of the defender is the son of an influential family, Louis Rule, accused of assaulting a prostitute . Mike seeks an acquittal, but after the trial, he realizes that he made a terrible mistake.

Original title:
The Lincoln Lawyer

Genre:
Thriller, drama, crime, detective

Actors:
Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.8, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Client (2011)

The disappearance of a woman and a huge pool of blood in the living room is a good reason to make her husband the main suspect in the crime. The victim’s body has not been found, but circumstantial evidence points to a spouse. The man claims that he bought an anniversary gift for his wife, although forensics and police have a different opinion. The young lawyer Kang Sung-hee, who also begins to doubt his sincerity, is taken to defend the widower in court.

Original Title :
Uiroein

Genre:
Detective, Thriller, Crime

Actors:
Ha Jung-woo, Park Hee-sun, Chan Hyuk…

Country:
South Korea

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 6.9


Puncture (2011)

The top films continue with an exciting judicial thriller about the struggle of aspiring lawyers with an imperfect system. Mike and Paul are partners in a law firm that specializes in personal injury cases. The company is approached by a desperate nurse who pricked herself with a contaminated needle during a call. Buddies undertake to represent the interests of the victim – and collide with heavyweight lawyers of the pharmaceutical company.

Original title:
Puncture

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Chris Evans, Mark Kassen, Marshall Bell…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
18+


The Good Wife (TV series 2009 – 2016)

After the wedding, Alicia gives up her lawyer career in order to provide her husband Peter with a reliable rear and a comfortable life. The husband made it through the ranks to the position of district attorney, but everything collapses amid a loud scandal. Peter is sent to prison on charges of sexual harassment and corruption, and Alicia is forced to return to the practice of law after years of hiatus.

Original title:
The Good Wife

Genre:
Drama, crime, detective

Actors:
Julianna Margulis, Matt Zukri, Archie Panjabi …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.0, IMDb – 8.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Fracture (2007)

A feature film about a complicated court case keeps the audience in suspense until the very end, since it is impossible to predict the outcome of the intellectual game started by the criminal in order to beat the young prosecutor. Ted Crawford finds out about the betrayal of his wife – and puts a bullet in the traitor ‘s forehead. Then the man calls the police, confesses his deed to the arriving officer, and at the trial refuses his own words.

Original title:
Fracture

Genre:
Thriller, drama, crime

Actors:
Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike …

Country:
USA, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Money Verdict (2003)

Celeste Wood’s husband was shot dead with a well-known company pistol – and the widow of the deceased filed a lawsuit against the company. In court, the interests of a woman are represented by a lawyer who opposes the free sale of weapons. However, the manufacturer has its own spheres of influence, huge money and a hired “processor” of the jury. A man exerts pressure from within, inclining people to a solution that is beneficial for the corporation.

Original title:
Runaway Jury

Genre:
Thriller, drama, crime

Actors:
John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 7.1

Age restrictions:
12+


Particularly serious crimes (2002)

In the center of the plot of the film about court hearings is the successful lawyer Claire. A young woman suddenly learns the truth about her husband. Tom turned out to be a secret agent working undercover, and now he will be tried for a war crime. Claire is ready to defend her beloved at the hearing, so she enlists the help of a military attorney. A woman does not suspect that a cruel system does not imply friendship and trust.

Original title:
High Crimes

Genre:
Thriller, drama, crime, detective

Actors:
Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, James Caviezel…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.4

Age restrictions:
16+


Civil suit (1998)

Highly paid and cynical lawyer Jan Schlichtmann is consulted by the residents of a small American town. The number of child deaths in families has increased, and the reason lies in the deterioration of the environment. The investigation helps uncover high levels of groundwater pollution leading to a cancer outbreak, but the local plant denies any involvement in the tragedy.

Original title:
A Civil Action

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Tony Shalhoub …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 6.6

Age Limits :
12+


Primal Fear (1996)

Residents of Chicago are shocked by the brutal murder of a local priest, who was considered a good patron of orphans. The suspect in the case is one of the archbishop’s novices, the modest and quiet teenager Aaron. The self-confident and experienced Martin Vale is appointed as the defender, who, during the investigation, learns about the mental disorder of the young man. A dark entity lurks inside Aaron, seizing power over the body of a teenager in moments of danger and danger.

Original title:
Primal Fear

Genre:
Thriller, drama, crime, detective

Actors:
Richard Gere, Edward Norton, Laura Linney …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.8, IMDb – 7.7

Age restrictions:
18+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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