Looking for a good courtroom mystery featuring knowledgeable lawyers fighting it out with each other? Someone on a popular online forum asked for courtroom mystery recommendations and movie fans had some great suggestions. Here are the top 20 responses.
1. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
Witness for the Prosecution is a legal mystery thriller following a man (Tyrone Power) on trial for the murder of an affluent woman. He employs a prestigious lawyer (Charles Laughton). However, his alibi depends on his wife's testimony, and she chooses to appear in court against him.
2. Primal Fear (1996)
Primal Fear is a legal thriller following a prestigious Chicago defense lawyer (Richard Gere) representing an altar boy (Edward Norton) accused of murdering an influential Catholic archbishop. He quickly realizes the case isn't simple as it twists down a dark revelation of church secrets and perceived danger.
3. Fracture (2007)
Fracture is a psychological, legal crime thriller following a man (Anthony Hopkins) who represents himself in court after shooting his unfaithful wife. A young hotshot prosecutor (Ryan Gosling) about to take a job at a private law firm is handed one last case before departing. However, what should be an open-and-shut case proves otherwise as the two engage in a battle of the wits showdown.
4. A Time to Kill (1996)
A Time to Kill tells the story of a Black father (Samuel L. Jackson) who shoots the two bigoted men who assaulted his ten-year-old daughter. He trusts an unseasoned lawyer (Matthew McConaughey) to defend him as racial tensions rise in the small, segregated Southern town.
5 – Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a mystery thriller following a young journalist (John Cusack) who becomes enamored by a case in Savannah, Georgia. It involves a wealthy societal figure (Kevin Spacey) on trial for murdering a man, which he alleges was in self-defense.
6. Presumed Innocent (1990)
Presumed Innocent is a legal thriller that follows a chief deputy (Harrison Ford) charged with assaulting and murdering his colleague and mistress (Greta Scacchi). He hires a defense attorney (Raul Julia) and is shocked by his trial's revelations.
7. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
The Lincoln Lawyer is a legal thriller following Matthew McConaughey as the titular character, Mickey Haller. He works from a chauffeur-driven Lincoln Town Car rather than a typical office. Nevertheless, a mother and affluent Los Angeles businesswoman hires him to defend her son against assault charges.
8. Jagged Edge (1985)
Jagged Edge is a neo-noir legal thriller following a lawyer (Glenn Close) who reluctantly accepts a case of a man (Jeff Bridges) accused of killing his wife but remains unsure of his guilt or innocence. The film twists and turns in suspense to the very end.
9. A Few Good Men (1992)
A Few Good Men is a legal drama following a military lawyer (Tom Cruise) defending two U.S. Marines charged with murdering a fellow Marine. A Lieutenant commander (Demi Moore) convinces him they likely were carrying orders from a commanding officer. He takes it to trial and puts his career at risk by calling a colonel (Jack Nicholson) to the stand, hoping to uncover the truth.
10. My Cousin Vinny (1992)
My Cousin Vinny is a comedy courtroom film following two young New Yorkers, Bill and Stan (Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield), arrested for a murder they didn't commit. Bill's uncle Vinny (Joe Pesci) is a man who failed the bar five times before passing to become a lawyer — and he's their only hope. It co-stars Marisa Tomei as the adorable Mona Lisa Vito, Vinny's fiancee.
11. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009)
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt includes surprising twists for fans who love a good crime drama. A local reporter frames himself for an unsolved murder to show the DA’s corruption. However, things get out of control. The 2009 version is a remake of the 1956 noir film of the same name.
12. The Firm (1993)
In this thrilling crime drama, a young lawyer (Tom Cruise) realizes the prestigious firm he just joined is a front for organized crime, laundering money for the mob and covering up crimes. As members of the firm are murdered, the plot continues to thicken.
13. Erin Brockovich (2000)
When a single mother becomes a legal assistant, she takes on a case about a California power company that is accused of polluting the city's water supply. This Julia Roberts movie is an interesting look at the legal system and working hard to get where you want to in life.
14. Sleepers (1996)
What was supposed to be a harmless prank between a group of friends raised in a crime-filled family ends with the four boys in a detention center. 13 years later though, the group gets back together to avenge their case. It stars Robert De Niro, Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt, and Jason Patric.
15. The Rainmaker (1997)
This film, starring Danny DeVito and Matt Damon, is about an underdog lawyer who takes on a big case taking down a fraudulent insurance company.
16. Molly's Game (2017)
Molly's Game, which is based on a true story, follows Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), an Olympic-class skier who was charged with running an exclusive high-stakes poker game. She eventually became an FBI agent as well.
17. The Client (1994)
A young boy is put on trial after he witnesses the death of a mafia lawyer. He needs his own lawyer to protect him when he's put in the middle of a case where the District Attorney is trying to take down a powerful mob family.
18. Find Me Guilty (2006)
Set in the 1980s, this is the story of the longest criminal trial in American judicial history, when a low-level gangster (Vin Diesel) defended himself in court. Find Me Guilty also stars Peter Dinklage and Ron Silver.
19. The Judge (2014)
A man heads back to his hometown after becoming a big-shot lawyer, but while he's there, his dad is suspected of murder. His dad, who is the town's judge, is now put on trial and his son will have to represent him in court. This movie is filled with big names, including Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, and Billy Bob Thornton.
20. Murder in the First (1995)
When an ambitious, young lawyer defends an Alcatraz prisoner who is accused of murdering a fellow inmate, the case shocks everyone. Instead of focusing on what his client did, he focuses on how Alcatraz made him this way.