Law & film | Law

Law & film

Films are a wonderful way to enhance your understanding of the world in general and of law in particular. True stories in particular offer a valuable insight into the impact of the law on people's lives.

Here is a list which your lecturers have put together which may be helpful in developing a general understanding of legal matters. Take these with a grain of salt however, as some of the directors have taken liberties for dramatic effect – for example, in In the Name of the Father the director has put the trial and the appeal together as if they were one action.

Also bear in mind that movies out of Hollywood will show different court procedures to Australia. Australian lawyers will not walk around in front of the jury or ‘approach the bench’, for example. If you keep these things in mind we think these movies (in alphabetical order) are both excellent examples of cinema and of issues of law. We'd love to hear your thoughts on other films to include!

Holiday viewing

  • A Civil Action
  • A Man for all Seasons
  • Adam’s Rib
  • Anatomy of a Murder
  • Breaker Morant
  • In the Name of the Father
  • Inherit the Wind
  • Judgment at Nuremberg
  • Presumed Innocent
  • Reversal of Fortune
  • The Insider
  • The Paper Chase
  • The Verdict
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Twelve Angry Men

There are a number of books which set out films which are particularly useful for learning law eg Laster, Breckweg and King, The Drama of the Courtroom Federation Press, 2000 .