The closing testimonies in courtroom dramas have produced some of the most riveting cinema on the silver screen. The moment, so pregnant with anticipation, can’t help but suck us into its tense and anxious vortex.
Many such moments exist on film, but we’ve unearthed three of what we feel are the very best from A Few Good Men, …And Justice For All, and The Verdict. These scenes are expertly crafted to carry the weight of the movie into the courtroom, then to pull you along on an emotional roller coaster before ending with the arresting force of justice being served. You can’t watch these scenes without thinking about them for days to come. Isn’t that what you want in a movie?
We know this isn’t an exhaustive list, so we want to hear from you. What is your favorite courtroom drama? Or, better yet, what is your favorite courtroom drama scene? Let us know in the comments section below. But before you do, behold the power of the courtroom drama in all its splendor.
A Few Good Men
In this climactic scene, Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Cruise) attempts to goad Col. Nathan R. Jessup (Nicholson) into admitting he ordered the code red that resulted in two marines killing a fellow soldier. Nicholson was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of the war-hardened Colonel.
…And Justice For All
Lawyer Arthur Kirkland (Pacino), a young idealistic defense attorney, is forced to defend a judge he despises who has been accused of rape. During his closing statement, he decides to uphold the meaning of…and justice for all. Pacino was nominated for an Academy Award for this role.
In stark contrast to Cruise and Pacino, who were young and idealistic, Newman plays Frank Galvin, a down-on-his luck alcoholic lawyer who stumbles into doing the right thing. But do the right thing he does. This is the final scene in which the weight of his failures as a lawyer and a man give pathos to the subtle brilliance of his performance. Yes, Newman, too, was nominated for an Academy Award.
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