The best law movies and TV series
13th October 2015
Legal drama shows have been a staple of television for years, and there have also been a whole host of hugely popular movies based in the courtroom.
Here we give our verdict on the best law movies and TV series that people working in lawyer jobs and other budding legal professionals need to watch.
A Few Good Men
This courtroom thriller was released back in 1992 and features Hollywood stars Tom Cruise, Demi Moore and Jack Nicholson.
The plot of the film sees a Navy lawyer, who has a reputation for being lazy, defend two Marines who are accused of murdering a colleague. The two Marines say that they were acting under “code red” orders from their respected colonel.
This hugely popular film, which was nominated for an Oscar, plays out the story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a highly ranked boxer in the middleweight division who was wrongly imprisoned for murder. The film looks at his story and the people who helped The Hurricane prove his innocence.
Not only was Rubin Carter’s story turned into a movie featuring Oscar-winning Denzel Washington, but it was the inspiration behind Bob Dylan’s 1975 song “Hurricane”.
Another great law-based film featuring Hollywood actor Denzel Washington is the two-time Oscar-winning Philadelphia.
The movie, which also stars Tom Hanks, follows the story of a man with AIDS who is fired by his law firm as a result of his condition. After being turned down by other lawyers to help fight his corner, the man then turns to a homophobic lawyer from a small company to take on his former employers for wrongful dismissal.
Starring Harrison Ford, Witness plays out the story of a policeman protecting a young Amish boy, who is the sole witness to a murder, before the case goes to trial.
There are plenty of trials and tribulations in this Oscar-winning film.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Another must-watch movie for people working as in-house legal lawyers is To Kill a Mockingbird. The film follows the story of a lawyer based in the south of the US during the Great Depression, who decides to defend a black man against an undeserved rape charge. This has a knock-on effect as the lawyer’s kids are then subjected to prejudice from the local community.
The fact that the To Kill a Mockingbird film won a staggering 3 Oscars when it was released in 1962 should be enough of a reason to watch this classic.
Law & Order
This decades-old drama shows a crime from two different perspectives, with one part of the show focusing on the investigation of the crime and the second part giving viewers an insight into the actual prosecution of the crime in court.
There is still a Law & Order series being televised in the US, and there is also a UK version of the show. The most recent UK series from 2014 will be the last to be transmitted for the foreseeable future, according to ITV.
This hugely popular US television series ran for a number of years (1997-2004) as viewers of the show were captivated by the storylines.
The Practice follows the exploits and cases of defence attorneys in a law firm based in Boston. Check out the IMDB website for more information.
The BBC series starring Rupert Penry-Jones, Maxine Peake and Neil Stuke looks at the problems and dilemmas that modern-day barristers have to face.
To check out some clips and meet the characters, visit the BBC website.
Kavanagh QC follows the story of a barrister who has to deal with very difficult criminal cases at work, as well as the normal challenges of family life. The inimitable John Thaw starred as James Kavanagh over six series from 1995 to 2001.
The Good Wife
After her husband is involved in a public sex and political scandal, housewife Alicia Florrick has to restart her career as a defence attorney to help provide for her family.
The Good Wife plot follows her experience as a junior associate at a law firm in Chicago and her rise in the company.