The Lincoln Lawyer. Matthew McConaughey plays Micky Haller, a young Beverly Hills lawyer that manages his business from the back of his Lincoln town car. He takes on a high profile real estate case that proves more complex than he anticipated. The film is the newest in a long line of legal thrillers and dramas that have won audiences over for decades. This is a winning formula: a young, morally conflicted lawyer taking on the trials, and tribulations, of our legal system. And we love seeing the good guy come out on top. Here are my favorites, the movies that give some meaning to right over wrong.
10. The Verdict (1982) - MRQE Metric: 72
9. The Firm (1993) - MRQE Metric: 64
8. Michael Clayton (2007) - MRQE Metric: 77
7. Amistad (1997) - MRQE Metric: 75
6. The Hurricane (1999) - MRQE Metric: 74
5. My Cousin Vinny (1992) - MRQE Metric: 66
4. Philadelphia (1993) - MRQE Metric: 73
3. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) - MRQE Metric: 92
You do not get more courageous than my choice for number 3. To Kill a Mockingbird is read and watched in classrooms across the country. And Atticus Finch--played by Gregory Peck--is the quintessential good guy for the courtroom genre. ATTICUS FINCH...the name just exudes good guy awesomeness. Adapted from the novel by Harper Lee, this legal drama centers around Peck's character, a hard working, ethical attorney in who defends Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a young white woman in 1930s Alabama. As the trial progresses, and ugly Southern prejudices surface, Tom's innocence grows clear. But the verdict goes against Robinson and Finch is left at a loss. Rarely does a legal drama depict injustice as its final outcome, which makes To Kill a Mockingbird that much more resonant.
2. 12 Angry Men (1957) - MRQE Metric: 86
In another classroom staple, at number 2 is 12 Angry Men. I vividly recall watching this film in my 8th grade Civics class. Directed by a young Sidney Lumet, this film teaches more about the impact of the average man on our justice system than any other film on my list. Did the teenage boy murder his father? Initially 11 out of 12 members believe so, but Henry Fonda convinces each juror that there is reasonable doubt. This film accurately presents the kind of power and responsibility held by the most average (and moody) US citizen. Every character in this film has his moment. Kudos to Sidney Lumet for shooting the entire film in one room and keeping the tension so thick you can cut it with a knife.
1. A Few Good Men (1992) - MRQE Metric: 69
My number one is a personal favorite. I must have watched this film dozens of times in college. A Few Good Men is a classic. "You want the truth, you can't handle the truth!" is arguably one of the most memorable movie lines in recent memory. Penned as the first feature by Aaron Sorkin, the movie centers around a young lawyer for the US Navy--played by Tom Cruise--who takes on the murder case of a Marine officer at Guantanamo Bay. With an all-star cast including Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore and Kevin Bacon, there are definitely a Few Good Actors in the lineup--especially Nicholson, who plays a real baddie. Justice is served in the end. With some great acting, a great score and some interesting twists, this is my favorite legal flick.