Movies with Great Courtroom and Trial Scenes

You’re out of  order. No, YOU’RE out of order! Objection! We all earned our juris doctorate from movies like Erin BrockovichA Few Good Men, and The Rainmaker. How about we take a closer look at few other great movies that feature a courtroom (or parole board, committee hearing, and other government defense) scene?

On this page you’ll find a mix of foreign and familiar films, from long ago and very recent. Enjoy! 

Keywords: courtroom, judge, running list, movies, classics, hearings, politics


Release: 1990 Language: Iranian Alternate Title: کلوزآپ ، نمای نزدیک, Klūzāp, nemā-ye nazdīk Director: Abbas Kiarostami Writers: Abbas Kiarostami Production Co(s): Kanoon Distributor(s): The Criterion Collection, Janus Pictures, Celluloid Dreams

Close-up is a part scripted narrative and part raw documentary film that tells the story of Hassain Sabzian, an Iranian cinephile who impersonated a respected filmmaker for personal gain. 

On a bus one day, he tells a stranger a white lie that he is the famous director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and then continues the lie to the extent that he meets her family multiple times and promises that they’ll be part of his next film. After mediation, the family agrees with the judge to let him go on the promise that Sabzian will make better choices in the future. 

The courtroom scene is important to the story not just because it is where the characters talk to the judge about how Hassain came into their lives, but it’s also when the everyone can see the power of wealth. The family knows they are afforded more opportunity than Hassain, and that he likely told his lies to imagine himself in a different life, one where he wasn’t impoverished and struggling. 

Told in a narrative style with the main characters being played by the actual people involved in the man’s con game, the movie investigates how society and class affect a person’s dreams and reality. Keep reading about this movie, where we also have a link to watch the full film online with English subtitles.


Release: September 25, 2020 Director: Aaron Sorkin Writer(s): Aaron Sorkin Production Co(s): Paramount Pictures, Cross Creek Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Marc Platt Productions, ShivHans Pictures Distributor(s): Netflix

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a 2020 American historical legal drama film about the trial of seven defendants charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The film was directed by Aaron Sorkin and written by Sorkin and the film’s producer, Steven Spielberg. 

The film begins with the defendants being arrested and taken into custody. They are then subjected to a lengthy and highly publicized trial, which is presided over by Judge Julius Hoffman. The trial is a circus, with the defendants and their lawyers constantly clashing with the judge. The film also explores the political climate of the time, with the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement being major factors in the trial.

The movie has multiple scenes that take place in the courthouse. The scenes are often chaotic and intense, with the defendants and their lawyers snipping, clarifying, and then shouting at the judge and each other. The courtroom scenes are a mix of circus and order, of respect and obstinance. 

The Trial of the Chicago 7 tells the story of a pivotal moment in American history. The trial was a test of the First Amendment, and it ultimately helped to define the limits of free speech. The film is also a reminder of the power of protest and the importance of fighting for justice.


Release: 2012 Director: Ben Affleck Writers: Chris Terrio Production Co(s): GK Films, Smokehouse Pictures Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures

Argo is a 2012 American historical political thriller film directed by Ben Affleck and written by Chris Terrio. It is based on the 1980 covert operation by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to rescue six American diplomats from Tehran, Iran, after the 1979 Iranian Revolution and hostage crisis. The film stars Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Kyle Chandler.

The film begins with the Iranian Revolution, which results in the overthrow of the Shah of Iran and the establishment of an Islamic republic. Six American diplomats are trapped in the Canadian embassy in Tehran, but they are eventually forced to flee. They take refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador, Ken Taylor (Cranston), who helps them to create a fake movie production company as a cover for their escape.

The CIA sends Tony Mendez (Affleck), a Hollywood make-up artist, to Tehran to help the diplomats get out of the country. Mendez poses as a producer for a science fiction film called Argo, and he convinces the Iranian government that the diplomats are part of the film crew. The diplomats are eventually able to board a plane and fly to safety.

The courthouse scene takes place in Tehran, where the six diplomats are being held in a courtroom. The scene is tense and suspenseful, as the diplomats try to avoid being caught by the Iranian authorities. The scene is also a reminder of the danger that the diplomats faced, and the courage that they showed in escaping from Iran.

Argo tells the story of a real-life event that had a major impact on American history. The film is also a reminder of the importance of the CIA and the work that they do to protect American interests around the world.


Release: 2023 Director: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley Writers: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Michael Gilio Production Co(s): Paramount Pictures, Hasbro, Entertainment One Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is a 2023 American fantasy heist film directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, who co-wrote the screenplay with Michael Gilio from a story by Chris McKay and Erik Sommers. Based on the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, the film stars Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, and Hugh Grant.

The film follows a group of unlikely heroes who must steal a powerful artifact from a corrupt lord in order to save their world. The film is set in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting and features a diverse cast of characters, including a bard, a barbarian, a rogue, and a wizard.

The first scene of the film takes place during a pardoning committee hearing for the heroes. The heroes are being held captive by the lord, who is trying to force them to work for him. However, the heroes manage to escape from the hearing and go on the run.

The first scene is important because it introduces the characters and the conflict of the film. It also sets the tone for the film, which is a mix of humor and action. The scene is also visually stunning, with the characters’ costumes and the setting bringing the world of Dungeons & Dragons to life.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is an important film because it is the first major motion picture adaptation of the popular role-playing game. The film has the potential to introduce Dungeons & Dragons to a new generation of fans and to help make the game more mainstream.


Release: 2010 Director: David Fincher Writers: Aaron Sorkin Production Co(s): Columbia Pictures, Relativity Media, Scott Rudin Productions, Michael De Luca Productions, Trigger Street Productions Distributor(s): Sony Pictures Releasing

The Social Network is a 2010 American biographical drama film about the founding of Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes. The film begins with Zuckerberg creating Facebook while he is a student at Harvard University. The site quickly becomes popular, and Zuckerberg is forced to deal with the legal and personal consequences of his creation. The film also explores the relationships between Zuckerberg and his friends and colleagues, as well as the impact of Facebook on society.

The courthouse scene takes place during a legal battle between Zuckerberg and Saverin, who is suing Zuckerberg for control of Facebook. The scene is tense and suspenseful, as Zuckerberg tries to defend himself against Saverin’s accusations. The scene is also a reminder of the legal challenges that Zuckerberg faced in the early days of Facebook.

The Social Network tells the story of one of the most successful companies in the world. The film also explores the legal and ethical issues surrounding social media, and it raises questions about the power of technology to shape our lives.


Release: 1992 Director: Jonathan Lynn Writers: Dale Launer Production Co(s): Twentieth Century Fox Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox

My Cousin Vinny is a 1992 American comedy film directed by Jonathan Lynn and starring Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, and Ralph Macchio. The film tells the story of Vinny Gambini (Pesci), a New York lawyer who is called to Alabama to defend two New York college students (Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield) who have been wrongly accused of murder.

The film begins with Bill Gambini (Macchio) and Stan Grossman (Whitfield) driving home from college when they are pulled over by the police in a small Alabama town. The police officers find a gun in the car, and Bill and Stan are arrested for murder.

Vinny Gambini, a cousin of Bill’s, is called to Alabama to defend the two young men. Vinny is a small-time lawyer who has never tried a murder case before, but he is determined to win.

The trial scene is one of the most important scenes in the film. It is here that Vinny must use all of his skills and cunning to defend his clients. He cross-examines the witnesses, presents evidence, and argues his case to the jury.

One of the most memorable scenes in the trial is when Vinny’s girlfriend, Mona Lisa Vito (Tomei), is called to the stand as an expert witness on cars. Mona Lisa is a mechanic, and she is able to use her knowledge of cars to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.

For example, Mona Lisa points out that the prosecution’s expert witness made a mistake when he said that the car in question could not have been driven from the crime scene to the location where it was found. Mona Lisa also shows the jury that the prosecution’s timeline for the crime is impossible.

Mona Lisa’s testimony is a turning point in the trial. It helps to convince the jury that Bill and Stan are innocent, and they are acquitted of the charges.

My Cousin Vinny is an important film because it is a heartwarming story about the power of family and friendship. It is also a funny film that will make you laugh out loud. The film is a reminder that even the most unlikely people can achieve great things if they work together.


Release: 1993 Director: Jonathan Demme Writers: Ron Nyswaner Production Co(s): Clinica Estetico, TriStar Pictures Distributor(s): Sony Pictures Entertainment, TriStar Pictures

Philadelphia is a 1993 American drama film that tells the story of Andrew Beckett, a young lawyer who is fired from his job after his employers learn that he is gay and has AIDS. Beckett hires Joe Miller, a homophobic African-American lawyer, to sue his former employers for wrongful termination.

The film begins with Beckett being fired from his job at a prestigious law firm. He is told that he is being let go because of “poor performance,” but he knows that the real reason is his illness. Beckett hires Miller to sue his former employers, but Miller is initially reluctant to take the case. He is a homophobic man, and he does not believe that Beckett has a chance of winning.

However, Miller eventually agrees to take the case, and he begins to prepare for trial. He faces many challenges, including the prejudice of the legal system and the public. However, he is determined to fight for Beckett and to win justice for him.

The one of the trial scenes, Miller delivers his closing argument, in which he makes a passionate plea for justice for Beckett. Miller’s closing argument is a powerful indictment of the prejudice and discrimination that people with AIDS face. It is a reminder that justice is not always blind, and that we need to fight for equality for all people.

At its core, Philadelphia is about the fight against blind prejudice and discrimination and for justice and understanding. 


Release: 2001 Director: Frank Darabont Writers: Michael Sloane Production Co(s): Frank Darabont Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures

The Majestic is a 2001 American drama film about Peter Appleton, a Hollywood screenwriter who loses his memory after a car accident and takes on the identity of Luke Trimble, a local hero who disappeared during World War II.

The film begins with Peter Appleton arriving in the small town of Lawson, California. He has amnesia and does not remember who he is. He is taken in by the townspeople, who believe him to be Luke Trimble, a local hero who disappeared during World War II. Peter begins to adjust to his new life in Lawson, and he falls in love with the town’s sweetheart, Eve Rand. However, his past catches up to him when he is summoned to appear before a congressional committee investigating communist infiltration of Hollywood.

The committee hearing scene is one of the most important scenes in the film. It is here that Peter Appleton stands up and talks about character. He tells the committee that character is not something that can be easily defined, but it is something that is essential to who we are. He says that character is about being honest, being kind, and being brave.

Peter’s speech is a powerful indictment of the witch hunt that was taking place in Hollywood at the time. It is a reminder that we should not judge people based on their political beliefs, but on their character.


Release: 2016 Director: Mike Judge Writers: Mike Judge, Etan Cohen Production Co(s): Twentieth Century Fox Distributor(s): Twentieth Century Fox

Idiocracy is a 2006 American satirical science fiction comedy film set in the year 2505, where the world has become a dumbed-down, hedonistic society.

Dimwitted but kind-hearted Joe Bauers is a military officer who is assigned to be cryogenically frozen in 2005. He’s quickly forgotten about, and it isn’t until a landfill avalanche in 2505 that his box is uncovered and opened. He thaws out and quickly has to come to terms with a new world where pictures are used instead of words and the president is a celebrity.

Joe is eventually put on trial for being too intelligent. The courtroom is run more like a television show, somewhere between game show and Judge Judy. The proscecuter uses single-syllable words and what can only be called mouth sounds to explain all that Joe’s done wrong, and the audience breaks out in applause. Even Joe’s attorney objects to Joe because of a personal issue. Joe calls for a mistrial, but it falls on deaf ears and the judge sentences him on the spot.

Idiocracy is a cautionary tale about the dangers of stupidity and projects a crazy dystopian future if we don’t start focusing on education and critical thinking. The film is a satire, but it is also a serious film that raises important questions about the future of our society.


Release: 1996 Director: Matthew Bright Writers: Matthew Bright Production Co(s): The Kushner-Locke Company, Illusion Entertainment Group Distributor(s): Republic Pictures

Freeway is a 1996 American black comedy about Vanessa Lutz, a teenage runaway, hitchhiking to her grandmother’s house. She is picked up by Bob Wolverton, a charmer who turns out to be a sadistic serial killer. 

Vanessa and Bob go on a road trip together, and after a series of terrible events, Vanessa is arrested and sent to prison. There she makes a new group of friends, and they escape prison

Before going to prison, Vanessa has her day in court, and Bob is wheeled into the courtroom. She sees how badly she hurt Bob, and she takes the opportunity to mock him and tell him he got “beat with the ugly stick.” It’s one of the happy moments in her tragic life, and she sees that she has the power to protect herself and hurt the people who hurt her. 

Freeway explores the themes of violence and domestic abuse. It’s a dark and disturbing look at the underbelly of American society. And in this movie, the system doesn’t work in the hero’s favor.


Release: 2007 Director: Mike Binder Writers: Mike Binder Production Co(s): 3 Arts Entertainment, Sunlight Productions Distributor(s): Sony Pictures Entertainment

Reign of Me is a 2007 American drama film that tells the story of two former college roommates who reconnect after one of them, Charlie Fineman, loses his wife and two daughters in the September 11 attacks.


Charlie is struggling to cope with his grief and has withdrawn from the world. He spends his days playing video games, listening to music, and avoiding any reminders of his past. His parents-in-law are worried about him and try to get him to get help, but he refuses.


One day, Charlie runs into his former roommate, Alan Johnson, a dentist who is also feeling lost and unfulfilled in his life. The two men rekindle their friendship, and Alan tries to help Charlie to start to heal.


The trial scene is one of the most important scenes in the film. It is here that Charlie is forced to confront the reality of his loss. After an unsuccessful attempt of suicide, he’s put into a psychiatric ward and then must go before a judge who will decide whether Charlie should be committed to psychiatric care. Charlie is uncooperative, and then puts on headphones, and later he loses control of himself and must be taken out of the room.


In the end Charlie convinces his in-laws that he handles his grief in his own way, and he’s allowed to move to a new apartment and distance himself from the painful memories. 


Release: 1993 Director: Jim Sheridan Writers: Terry George, Jim Sheridan Production Co(s): Universal Pictures, Hell’s Kitchen Films Distributor(s): Universal Pictures, Argentina Video Home

In the Name of the Father is a 1993 biographical British drama film based on the true story of Gerry Conlon, who was wrongfully convicted of the Guildford pub bombings in 1974 and spent 15 years in prison.

The film begins with Gerry Conlon as a young man living in London. He is a petty thief and a drug user, but he is not a terrorist. On the night of the Guildford bombings, he is in Belfast with his father, Giuseppe.

The British police are under pressure to find the bombers, and they quickly arrest Gerry and four of his friends. The police use intimidation and torture to force the men to confess to the bombings, even though they are innocent.

Gerry is tried and convicted of the bombings and sentenced to life in prison. He spends the next 15 years in prison, fighting to clear his name. In 1989, the Maguire Seven, a group of Irish men who were also wrongfully convicted of the bombings, are released from prison. Gerry’s case is reopened, and he is eventually released from prison.

The trial scene shows that Gerry is forced to confront the injustice that he has suffered. He is accused of a crime that he did not commit, and he is powerless to defend himself. The scene is a powerful indictment of the British legal system and the dangers of false confessions.


Release: 1993 Director: Gary Ross Writers: Gary Ross Production Co(s): New Line Cinema Distributor(s): New Line Cinema

Pleasantville is a 1998 American comedy-drama film about the story of two teenage siblings who are sucked into a black-and-white 1950s television show called Pleasantville.

The film begins with David and Jennifer Wheeler watching Pleasantville when they are suddenly transported into the show. They find themselves in a world where everyone is perfect and conforms to the norms of the time.

David and Jennifer begin to disrupt the order of Pleasantville by introducing new ideas and concepts. This angers the town’s elders, and the two are brough to trial.

In the courtroom scene the judge confronts David and Jennifer about their changes to Pleasantville. David and Jennifer stand their ground, and they refuse to be intimidated. David argues that Pleasantville needs to change, and that people should be free to be themselves. The judge becomes angry when even more people accept their emotions and turn color. In an outburst of anger, even he turns from black and white to color, and he runs out of the room in embarrassment.

Pleasantville is about the power of change and the importance of being true to oneself, even when it’s difficult. The film is also a reminder that we should not be afraid to challenge the status quo.


Release: 1995 Director: John Fortenberry Writers: Barbara Williams, Samantha Adams, Neil Tolkin Producer(s): Triumph Films, TriStar Pictures

Paulie Shore plays an unemployed do-nothing kind of guy who gets a jury duty summons. Once he finds out that jury duty is a paying gig, with room and board, he makes it is priority to get the murder case he’s been on to drag on and on and on. His co-jurrors get annoyed with his antics, but in the end, it’s him who gets everyone to see the truth and make sure justice is served. Paulie Shore keeps the movie light and humorous with his crazy antics.

Jury Duty checks out as independent. The movie was co-produced by Triumph Films and TriStar Pictures. Triumph was a part of Sony Pictures Releasing, which was established to distribute independent foreign films in the US. Fun fact: Marcie Bloom, who was part of the NY Film Festival back in the day and would later be part of the start-up crew for Orion Classics, joined Triumph in 1984 as publicity director of the studio. 

The movie was liked (but not loved) because of its star Paulie Shore, who had just left his VJ gig at MTV when this movie was released. It also came out on the heels of his other movies Son in Law (1993) and In the Army Now (1994). Paulie had a strong fanbase of preteens and young adults, but his quirky movies just never seemed to get critic approval. 


Release: 2017 Director: Craig Gillespie Writer: Steven Rogers Production Co(s): LuckyChap Entertainment, Clubhouse Pictures, AI Film Distributor(s): NEON, 30West

I, Tonya is a 2017 American biographical black comedy film about Tonya Harding, an American figure skater who was involved in a scandal that led to her expulsion from the 1994 Winter Olympics. 

The film depicts Harding’s childhood, where she is abused by her mother, LaVona Golden. Her relationship with her mother shapes her adult life. Harding’s skating career is also hampered by her relationship with her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly (Stan), who is involved in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan.

Spoiler alert: Tonya is convicted of hurting Nancy Kerrigan. Viewers know how important skating is to Tonya, but the sentencing scene near the end of the movie cements this idea firmly. The judge reads out what she must do, starting with probation, fines, and a psych evaluation. But it isn’t until the judge tells her she can never skate professionally again that Tonya wakes up. She’s visibly shaken, and she speaks out begging for prison time like the others involved in her crime if it means she can skate. She didn’t have much to lose, and it’s here that we see Tonya being stripped of whatever was holding her together. Love her or hate her, this scene evokes empathy.  

Watch the sentencing scene which takes place in the courtroom at the end of the movie here. 


Release: 1991 Director: Michael Caton-Jones Writers: Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman, Daniel Pyne Producer(s): Deborah D. Johnson, Susan Solt Distributor(s): Warner Bros.

Doc Hollywood is a 1991 American comedy film about a young doctor who is sentenced to practice medicine in a small town in the South. 

The film begins with Dr. Benjamin Stone (Fox) being awarded a prestigious residency at a major hospital in Los Angeles. However, on his way to the hospital, he is involved in a car accident and ends up in the small town of Grady, South Carolina. The local judge, Miss Tammy Hemphill (McDormand), sentences Stone to practice medicine in Grady as punishment for reckless driving.

Stone is initially reluctant to stay in Grady, but he eventually comes to appreciate the town and its people, turning the hard Doc Hollwood into a softie who prioritizes community. He also falls in love with a local woman, Jewel (Warner). The story is heartwarming and suitable for audiences of all age.


Release: 1995 Director: Danny Cannon Writers: William Wisher, Jr., Steven E. de Souza Production Co(s): Hollywood Pictures, Cinergi Pictures, Edward R. Pressman Film Corporation Distributor(s): Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Judge Dredd is a 1995 science fiction action film about Judge Dredd, a law enforcer in a dystopian future where judges are empowered to act as police, judge, jury, and executioner. The film is based on the British comic book of the same name.

The film’s story begins with Dredd and his partner Judge Hershey (Joan Chen) responding to a call about a gang war in the Peachtrees megablock. When they arrive, they are ambushed by the Angel gang, led by Rico (Armand Assante), Dredd’s former partner. Rico frames Dredd for murder and has him arrested.

Dredd is brought before a kangaroo court, where he is found guilty and sentenced to death. However, he escapes and teams up with a rookie judge named Cassandra Anderson (Dredd himself never removes his helmet, so Anderson is the only one who knows what he looks like) to clear his name and stop Rico.

At the trial, Dredd is accused of murder and he refuses to defend himself. He believes that he is innocent and that the truth will eventually come out. This scene shows Dredd’s strength of character and his commitment to justice.

The film explores themes of justice, law, and order in a dystopian future. It asks the question of whether it is possible to have a just society when the government has too much power. The film also raises questions about the role of violence in society.

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