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10 Best Courtroom Dramas Every Law Student Must Watch

The practice of law has always been interesting. This occupation has been glamorized for years in movies, television shows, and literature, with the climax concluding in a dramatic court case. The protagonist frequently triumphs in the end through moving oratory, thrilling and thrilling the audience. The made-up storylines that are featured in the movies reveal a lot about the political and social realities. Despite the fact that these films do not depict genuine legal situations, they present a wealth of opportunities for teaching law students about current societal issues.

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Here is a list of ten legal-themed films both from the Indian and Hollywood film industries, that are required viewing for law students.

Dark Waters

Apparently uninteresting items like non-stick pots and pans contain the hazardous, mass-produced chemicals that Mark Ruffalo’s tenacious lawyer Robert Bilott fights against. Dark Waters, the ripped-from-the-headlines story of a lawyer fighting a decade-long court battle against DuPont, one of the most powerful corporations in the world, explores the real-life tragedies with a stunning banality. The place where families eat meals together and talk about their days becomes the crime scene.

Director Todd Haynes emphasises the domestic and social aspects of the legal thriller, shooting a stiff corporate holiday party and a conversation outside a Benihana with All the President’s Men levels of tension and his own sense of melodrama. The story, which primarily takes place in Ohio and West Virginia, is frequently depressing.

Erin Brockovich

To be engaging, a legal drama need not be primarily focused on courtroom scenes. Civil litigation are also common, and Erin Brockovich is a riveting legal thriller that also serves as a character study and critique of big business. It is also about the law and lawyers.

The Oscar-winning performance by Julia Roberts as the titular real-life legal assistant who exposes environmental negligence and a cover-up by California’s largest electric and gas company is likely what audiences will remember most about Steven Soderbergh’s movie. Roberts plays the character with brashness, foul language, and overall lovability. It also explores how corporations deliberately poison people while doing nothing about it, as well as the bravado and tenacity required to bring them to justice.

Primal Fear

This timeless thriller, which is based on the 1993 William Diehl novel of the same name, has it all: murder, a potentially innocent man on trial, dissociative identity disorder, and a determined defence lawyer (Richard Gere) who is battling for his client’s right to be treated fairly. The man at the centre of the movie is Aaron Stampler, a stuttering and timid former altar boy played by Edward Norton. Did he or didn’t he kill the Archbishop who sexually assaulted him as a teenager? The performances always warrant a second viewing, and the twists, turns, and evil that are revealed endure.

The Client

John Grisham ruled in 1994. The legal thriller author appeared unstoppable following the financial success of the 1993 film versions of his books The Firm and The Pelican Brief, as well as his run on the best-seller list. With The Client, which depicts the fairly straightforward tale of a brave young boy (Brad Renfro) who witnesses a suicide and the astute lawyer (Susan Sarandon) who helps him battle the system, Spielberg extended his winning streak. (Tommy Lee Jones).

The Client’s mob elements are ridiculous, full of cartoonish villains and groan-inducing legal manoeuvres, just like in The Firm, and the suspense scenes near the end border on being tedious, but director Joel Schumacher, who also directed the 1996 version of Grisham’s A Time to Kill, gives the film an over-the-top swampy atmosphere. This is one of the more heartfelt examples of the genre due of the relationship between Sarandon and Renfro.

The Devil’s Advocate

The Devil’s Advocate is a strange movie. It alternates features a murder mystery horror plot and a slow-burn courtroom drama. It’s also incredibly challenging to avoid giving anything away because the reveal is an integral element of its magnificent kookiness. Kevin Lomax, the cocky young Florida attorney played by Keanu Reeves, can’t and won’t lose a case, acquitting even the most horrible criminals. He receives an invitation to New York to assist a prestigious law practise with jury selection, and is finally hired by the organisation led by Al Pacino’s enigmatic John Milton.

The title actually tells you everything you need to know about who this “John Milton” is, and soon Kevin and his wife start experiencing some pretty unsettling things (Charlize Theron). What you might overlook about The Devil’s Advocate, though, is how much of a legal drama it actually is in between all of Al Pacino’s screaming.

12 Angry Men

In this timeless judicial drama starring Henry Fonda, a lone juror attempts to stop a travesty of justice by urging his fellow jurors to re-examine the facts. The movie serves as a helpful reminder that jurors are people and that their personal experiences will affect how they view the case when they enter the courtroom.


“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, save as a punishment for crime when the party shall have been lawfully convicted, shall exist within the United Declares,” states the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The film’s title, which is an allusion, is from Ava DuVernay. The American prison system, racial inequity, and mass incarceration are among topics covered in the movie. Although it may not be an enjoyable documentary to see, it will encourage you to concentrate in your upcoming criminal law lesson.

The Good Wife

“According to the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, save as a punishment for crime when the person shall have been properly convicted, shall exist within the United Declares”. The film’s title, which comes from Ava DuVernay, alludes to this. The film touches on a number of issues, including mass incarceration, racial injustice, and the American prison system. It may not be a pleasant documentary to see, but it will help you pay attention in your future criminal law lecture.

How To Get Away With Murder

How To Get Away With Murder is the legal drama’s response to the many occupational series that have a main character who serves as a mentor to a group of characters, whether they are detective shows like Lie To Me or medical dramas like House. The show centres on Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), a professor of law and criminal defence lawyer who mentors five pupils. It’s an intriguing story as those particular folks become involved in their own murderous scheme.


The reason Suits is so fascinating is that it focuses more on the internal operations of the law company than it does on the actual cases the business takes on. Suits Deftly portrays Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a law associate who never actually attended law school, as he wraps off cases while still keeping his secret. The majority of the time, the show is filled with predictably irate, rude lawyers who shout over one another while using the most dense legal jargon conceivable, but that’s exactly what makes it so hilarious.

Aayushi Chopra
Aayushi Chopra
Aayushi Chopra is a law student who is interested in creating content on education, lifestyle, law, health, and environment. She enjoys researching different topics and then expressing her views on them.

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