Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies

By in Judicial System on March 26, 2013

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Informative and entertaining, Reel Justice rates trial scenes in films on a one-to-four-gavel scale, with four being a classic and one being “ask for a new trial.” Authors Paul Bergman and Michael Asimow, both accomplished law professionals, discuss the cultural messages encoded in the films, point out what went right and wrong in scenes where liberties were taken, and even answer a few legal questions along the way.

Completely revised and reformatted from the successful first edition, this new edition of Reel Justice includes more than two dozen recent movies as well as many older favorites that weren’t covered in the first version. Just a few of the films reviewed:

” A Time to Kill

” Legally Blonde

” Philadelphia

” Inherit the Wind

” A Few Good Men

” The Devil’s Advocate

” I Am Sam

” Intolerable Cruelty

” Rules of Engagement

” Twelve Angry Men

” Ghosts of Mississippi

” Runaway Jury

Reel Justice is an indispensable video guide for film viewers who want the legal lowdown on courtroom scenes.

3 thoughts on “Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies

  1. 1
    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A popular film guide with real substance., August 24, 2001
    By 
    Zeldock (Pennsylvania USA) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    As a lawyer, I did not expect that a book on movie trials, aimed at a popular audience, would have much substance. But I was very pleasantly suprised. The authors, two law professors, do an excellent job of pointing out the numerous errors Hollywood makes when it tries to depict a trial. (Most non-lawyers would be surprised, for example, to learn that *My Cousin Vinny* is much more realistic than *The Verdict.*) The authors’ discussions go into real (but not tedious) depth about not only the errors in the way judges, lawyers, etc., behave on film, but also the mistakes scriptwriters make in creating tactics and legal theories for their characters. In addition, the authors helpfully explain what would (most likely) *really* happen in many filmed situations. Because the authors treat each movie at length, this is not an exhaustive filmography. However, all the biggies are here, and the book also contains usefully organized indexes. This would be a great selection for lawyers, film buffs, or anyone who has to serve on a jury.

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  2. Rebecca Brown "rebeccasreads"
    2
    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    the best reference book updated, June 7, 2006
    By 
    Rebecca Brown “rebeccasreads” (Clallam Bay, WA United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies (Paperback)

    Narayan of Rebeccasreads highly recommends REEL JUSTICE as a great companion for the courtroom movie buff.

    “Every third Hollywood movie is bound to be a courtroom drama/ legal thriller.” Not 100% true — every third movie every produced is bound to be one. The fascination with law, lawyers & courtrooms is not restricted to Hollywood — it also holds true for Bollywood (Hindi movies) & Mollywood — the Malayalam movie industry over here in Kerala, India — where I’m from.

    But how real are the concepts of law, courtroom & lawyers presented in movies? Through a finely selected collection of movies — law professors & exponents in law & popular culture — authors Paul Bergman & Michael Asimow explain where fact ends & fiction begins in some of the all-time classic movies from around the world.

    Though I’ve seen many of the courtroom classics discussed in REEL JUSTICE, I’m off to pick up CDs of those I’d never heard of.

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  3. benboy "Conned-sumer"
    3
    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    the new edition is great, May 30, 2006
    By 
    benboy “Conned-sumer” (SAUSALITO, CA, United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies (Paperback)

    I’ve read the new and older edition. Both are great, though the newer edition is even more fun and informative. There’s a new feature, ‘Picturing Justice’ that provides an analysis of how cinema art — the direction, imagery and screenwriting — can add an extra dimension to judicial themes. This is a welcom edition for any cinema or legal library. And it’s pretty witty, as well.

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