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Most notable lawyers in movies

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The ABA (American Bar Association) Journal, in its current issue, ranks the most notable lawyers in movies and TV. With some editing by me, here are the ranked most notable lawyers/judges in pre-1990 films:


1-----Gregory Peck, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

2---Paul Newman, THE VERDICT

3--Jimmy Stewart, ANATOMY OF A MURDER

4--Spencer Tracy--INHERIT THE WIND





9--Orson Welles--COMPULSION

10--Katherine Hepburn--ADAM'S RIB

11--Jose Ferrer--THE CAINE MUTINY

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Since you brought it up, the post-1990 notable film lawyers that I left off the list (in rank order) were:



Tom Cruise in A FEW GOOD MEN




The top TV lawyer on the list was Raymond Burr in "Perry Mason". I also recall that the only "L.A. Law" character that made the list was Arnie Becker (Corbin Bernsen).


Edited by: finance on Aug 22, 2010 4:00 PM

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"And Justice for All" starring Al Pacino is one of my best. Lol, what he did at the end, how *guilty* are you when your own lawyer does that. Ever wished Robert Shapiro or Johnny Cochran done that? :)


"Miracle on 34th Street" (1947) is one of the top lawyer movies also, Santas young lawyer must proved beyond a reasonable doulbt who he is. (ah we already knew that)


For TV classics, "Perry Mason" and "Law and Order" rocks.


After seeing Fred Thompson, its getting hard to tell fact from fiction anymore.




Oh yes, I like to add for those who watches daytime network television, the lawyer charactor Michael Baldwin played by the Emmy award winning Christian LeBlanc.






Edited by: hamradio on Aug 22, 2010 5:10 PM

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Sad that only one woman makes the list. Kate was light years ahead of other actresses in the selection of her material (a role co-scripted by feminist Ruth Gordon).


And how come Spencer Tracy gets mentioned but Freddie March does not for INHERIT THE WIND? I think they're picking lawyers that fit their ideologic viewpoints, rather than based on performance and ability of the actor to convince an audience.


Paul Newman also plays a lawyer in MR. & MRS. BRIDGE.

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How about a crooked lawyer theme. In the silent movie "The Ragman" (1925) a junkyard dealer Max Ginsberg (Max Davidson) had invented a type of sewing machine, but Mr. Bernard (Robert Edeson), a crooked lawyer, cheated him out of the patent.


The little boy Max took in (Jackie Coogan) tracked the lawyer down and got things put right.


Guys like this always reminds me of the line in "King Henry VI, Part 2" by William Shakespeare

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.



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*Lawyer J. Noble Daggett* (John Fiedler) in *True Grit* (1969).


U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) was not fond of lawyers: "We had a good court going on here 'til them pettifogging lawyers moved in!"

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Well the ironic thing that most people don't realize is that March was a left-wing liberal and Spencer Tracy was a conservative Catholic. They were both cast against type in this movie and it's one of the things that makes INHERIT THE WIND so interesting and a great example of dramatic performance.

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The earliest movie on their list was ADAM'S RIB (1949). They could have gone back further to include John Barrymore in COUNSELLOR AT LAW, Warren William in THE MOUTHPIECE, etc. I guess most attorneys are not diehard classic film fans.


Edited by: finance on Aug 24, 2010 4:42 PM


Edited by: finance on Aug 24, 2010 4:47 PM

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The Encore Mystery Channel has just acquired the rights to all 30 of the PERRY MASON TV movies. They are kicking it off with a marathon on September 6th.


I think the quality of these films are fairly good. Barbara Hale appears in all of them. Raymond Burr is absent in the last few, due to his declining health and death (Paul Sorvino and Hal Holbrook take over as substitute lawyers in Perry's absence).

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