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Best Legal Movies of All Time

July 12, 2015 Hastings and Hastings

Sometimes, lawyers feel like their life is a Hollywood movie. Indeed, the study and practice of law deals with some of the most dramatic aspects of humanity. Lawyers come across a broad spectrum of cases: dark, exciting, empowering, horrifying, amusing, or remarkable. It should be no surprise that some of the best books and movies every created deal with lawyers. Below are some of the best attorney movies of all time.

My Cousin Vinny

Laugh all you want (that’s what the movie was made for) but My Cousin Vinny is actually an excellent attorney movie. Vincent Gambini, played by a one Joe Pesci, is a struggling lawyer who had to take the bar six times before passing it. The movie boasts the shortest opening argument of all time: “everything that guy just said is bulls***.” But, in Gambini’s defense, the movie accurately depicts the rules of criminal procedure, and the case is saved by a properly introduced testimony regarding tire marks left by a 1964 Skylark. Did I mention Marisa Tomei won an Oscar for her performance?


Bruce Springsteen provide the theme song, Tom Hanks plays the lead role, and Philadelphia yielded an Oscar. This movie is about a gay Ivy League-educated attorney who claims he was fired by his law firm after discovering he had AIDS. Denzel Washington also makes an appearance as Tom Hanks’ defense attorney. This is a very serious movie, so make sure you are in the mood to think deep.

The Verdict 

A personal favorite, this movie deals with a washed up, alcoholic lawyer who is handed the case of a lifetime on a silver platter. He goes up against the toughest attorneys in town and brings them down in the name of justice. This movie was nominated for five Oscars and can be found on Netflix.