Dateline Movies Presents: Top Courtroom Actions in a Movie

It's just good to watch how actors/actresses play their respective roles in a movie, more especially in courtroom scenes.  Seeing them in action makes one really think that they are actual attorneys or lawyers in real life.  With their convincing speeches, facial expressions, their realistic depiction of courtroom strategies and techniques, as well as the tone of their voices, makes one really want to stand up and applaud them for their performances.  Herewith are my top five courtroom actions that are just too memorable and worth watching over and over again.  

My Cousin Vinny

My Cousin Vinny stars Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Marisa Tomei, Mitchell Whitfield and Fred Gwynne.  It was directed by Jonathan Lynn and was released on March 13, 1992.  

When two friends, Billy Gambini (Ralph Macchio) and Stan Rothenstein (Mitchell Whitfield) were wrongfully accused of a crime they didn't commit, they called on their cousin, Vincent "Vinny" LaGuardia Gambini  (Played by Joe Pesci) who has just passed the bar exam after six attempts.  He willingly accepts to defend them in court even though he has no actual trial experience.  He is accompanied by his fiancee, Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei). Joe Pesci's acting is just humorous and at the same time very convincing.  For her resounding performance, Marisa Tomei won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 65th Academy Awards in 1993.

Screenplayed, produced and directed by Oliver Stone, JFK was loosely based on 2 books - the 1988 book by Jim Garrison titled On the Trail of the Assassins and the 1989 book by Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy.  It stars 2 popular actors with the first name of Kevin, namely Kevin Costner as Jim Morrison and Kevin Bacon as Willie O'Keefe.  Also appearing in this movie are Tommy Lee Jones as  Clay Shaw/ Clay BertrandLaurie Metcalf as New Orleans Assistant District Attorney Susie CoxGary Oldman as Lee Harvey OswaldMichael Rooker as the New Orleans Assistant District Attorney Bill Broussard and Sissy Spacek  as Jim Garrison's wife, Liz Garrison.  It was released on December 20, 1991.

It narrates the story as well as the sub-story of the assassination by US President John f. Kennedy. The film JFK was nominated for a staggering eight nominations at the 64th Academy Awards which includes Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Tommy Lee Jones, Best Director for Oliver Stone, Best Original Score for John Williams, Best Sound for Michael Minkler, Gregg Landaker and Tod A. Maitland, Best Cinematography for Robert Richardson, Best Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay both for Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar.  Of it's 8 nominations, it won two awards - Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.  Kevin Costner did extensive research and actually met Jim Morrison himself before portraying the role.  

A Few Good Men

Released on December 11, 1992, the movie was based on a 1989 play by Aaron Sorkin titled A Few Good Men.  It was also written by Aaron Sorkin for the film and was directed and produced by Rob Reiner.  It has an impressive line up of stars headed by Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollak, Wolfgang Bodison, James Marshall, J. T. Walsh and Kiefer Sutherland. 

This drama movie is about 2 Marines who were charged of murdering a fellow Marine.  It is up to the inexperienced and hesitant US Navy Marine Lawyer Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee played by Tom Cruise and his team to find out the truth as to what real happened at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.  The movie was nominated for four awards at the 65th Academy Awards:Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Jack Nicholson, Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing for Kevin O'Connell, Rick Kline and Robert Eber.  The film was nominated for five Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director for Rob Reiner, Best Actor for Tom CruiseBest Supporting Actor for Jack Nicholson and Best Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin. 

Primal Fear

Primal Fear is a crime-thriller film that stars Richard Gere, Laura Linney, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand and Edward Norton.   It was based on the 1993 novel by American novelist and photojournalist William Diehl bearing the same title.  It was directed by Gregory King Hoblit and was released on April 3, 1996.

Primal Fear is about a Chicago defense attorney by the name of Martin Vail, played by Richard Gere, who always wants to take on sensational, high-level court cases to be on the spotlight.  Thinking that by taking on the case of an altar boy named Aaron Stampler, played by Edward Norton, who has been accused of viciously attacking and murdering an Archbishop would bring him more fame and glory, well, let's just say, he will be in for a big surprise.   Edward Norton's portrayal of the role earned for him numerous praises from several award-winning bodies, most notable of which is his nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the 69th Academy Award.

To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird stars Gregory PeckJohn Megna, Ruth White, Paul Fix, Brock Peters as well as Frank Overton and introducing Mary Badham and Phillip Alford.  It was released on Christmas Day, December 25, 1962 and was directed by Robert Mulligan.  It was based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize- winning novel bearing the same title that was published in 1960.   The movie garnered a total of 8 nominations at the 35th Academy Awards and won 3 namely: the Academy Award for Best Actor for Gregory Peck which was presented to Gregory Peck by Sophia Loren, Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Horton Foote and the Academy Award for Best Art Direction - Set Decoration, Black-and-White for Henry Bumstead, Alexander Golitzen, and Oliver Emert. The movie also won 3 awards at the Golden Globe: the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama for Gregory Peck, the
Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score — Motion Picture for Elmer Bernstein and the Golden Globe Award for Best Film Promoting International Understanding — To Kill a Mockingbird.

 Atticus Finch played by Gregory Peck is an honest and honorable lawyer who was assigned to defend a black man that has been accused of raping a white teenage girl at a time when racism and belief in inequality runs high.  To Kill a Mockingbird is considered as one of the greatest movies of all time.

These 5 films are really worth seeing and I suggest you watch them too for they will truly make your day.

My Cousin Vinny is available on iTunes

JFK is available on iTunes

A Few Good Men is available on iTunes

Primal Fear is available on iTunes

To Kill a Mockingbird is available on iTunes


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