As a busy Massachusetts personal injury lawyer, I don’t get to watch a whole lot of TV during the week, but I do love to sit down with the family on Friday nights and watch a good movie. Sometimes, my family even lets me watch some of my favorite law movies…
Two of my favorites based here in Massachusetts were Travolta’s portrayal of Jan Schlichtmann in 1998 film A Civil Action and the classy Paul Newman – yet another Massachusetts personal injury lawyer – in The Verdict.
Another lesser-known Massachusetts lawyer film was 2010’s Conviction starring Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell. Good – but didn’t make our list here.
But it made me realize that since there are so many great law movies – so why not create a top 10 list of my personal favorites?
There was only one problem… I could find only eight of them that I really liked.
Maybe you have a few more?
Usually here on the blog, we talk about ways in which a Massachusetts personal injury lawyer such as myself can help victims of an injury find the best way to settle and resolve your case. But today, we’re going to take a little break from all that and talk a little bit of Hollywood.
Everyone does “top 10 movie lists” – but instead of trying to squeeze 10 in here, I’m just going to list my top eight real favorites.
Some of these you may have seen, some of these you may not have seen, but if you’re looking for a good movie this Friday night as you kick back after a long week, then take your pick from any of these top eight here.
Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawyer’s Top 10 Lawyer Flicks
1. Joe Pesci as Vinny Gambini in My Cousin Vinny
Joe Pesci’s role as Vinny Gambino is one of the funniest roles (let alone lawyer roles) there ever was on the big screen. I still chuckle when I think of the “two yutes” line by Judge Haller – played by now deceased Fred Gwynne. My personal favorite give and take from Vinny and Judge Haller:
Judge Chamberlain Haller: That is a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out objection.
Vinny Gambini: Thank you, Your Honor.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Overruled!
2. John Travolta as Jan Schlichtmann in A Civil Action
As a graduate of the New England School of Law, I like Travolta’s tenacity, as well as his subtle disdain for the Harvard lawyer types. My favorite line:
Al Eustis: You’ve never been here before? What kind of Harvard man are you?
Jan Schlichtmann: The Cornell kind.
3. Al Pacino as Arthur Kirkland in …And Justice For All
Pacino – one of my favorites. This movie received two Academy award nominations – one for Pacino as Best Actor in a Leading Role also received a Golden Globe nomination. One of his best performances. My favorite line:
Arthur Kirkland: I’ve just completed my opening statement.
4. Paul Newman as Frank Galvin in The Verdict
Yet another lawyer movie that racked up incredible award nominations – including five Academy Awards, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Director, Best Picture as well as Best Screenplay. My favorite line:
Frank Galvin: I changed my life today, what did you do?
Laura Fischer: I changed my room at the hotel.
Frank Galvin: Why did you do that?
Laura Fischer: TV didn’t work.
5. Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird
Without a doubt, one of the classics of all time. So good in fact that the American film Institute named Peck’s character the greatest hero ever in American film. My favorite line:
Atticus Finch: The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.
6. Denzel Washington as Joe Miller in Philadelphia
At the height of the HIV/AIDS paranoia, this movie was a showstopper. Denzel – as he always is in seemingly every movie – nearly stole the movie away from Tom Hanks. You especially have to love his Halloween costume as a “law suit” – as a Massachusetts personal injury lawyer, I have to use that one next month! An unbelievable actor who’s played so many roles so well. My favorite line:
Librarian: Wouldn’t you be more comfortable in a research room?
Andrew Beckett: No. Would it make you more comfortable?
7. Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovitch in Erin Brockovitch
I have to admit that I’ve never really been a huge fan of Julia Roberts, but she was pretty incredible in this role. After all, she did win the Academy award, Golden Globe, screen actors Guild award and various other awards for best actress – so you have to hand it to her. My favorite line:
Erin Brockovitch: Not personal?! That is my work, my sweat, my time away from my kids! If that’s not personal, I don’t know what is!
8. Jack Nicholson as Col. Jessep in A Few Good Men
I’ve not a huge Jack Nicholson fan, but I really respect his acting ability. How Tom Cruise uses Jessep’s own ego against himself as a tool get him to admit to ordering the “code red” is a classic scene no matter what you may think of Cruise or Nicholson. My favorite line (although everyone knows this one):
Jessep: You can’t handle the truth!
Do You Agree with This Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawyer?
With movies just a click away on Netflix or on demand on cable, watching great movies has never been easier. And there’s tons of lawyer movies to choose from as well – so I know this list here leaves out many of the really popular ones. What do you think? What are your favorite lawyer flicks? Leave a comment below and let me know!
And of course, if you ever need us, you can always contact us for a free consultation.
And while you’re there, maybe we can chat about some of your favorite law movies…