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Law-Related Movies — Court Martial Movies


Movies - Home Page
"A to Z" List of Law-Related Movies
Movies Organized by Substantive Law Subject
Court Martial Movies

Courtroom Dramas
Inspirational Lawyer Movies
Prison-Related Movies
Top 10

Anatomy of a Murder (1959). Starring Jimmy Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, directed by Otto Preminger. A courtroom drama involving a murder trial where the accused, a lieutenant in the army, is charged with murdering a bar owner who had raped his wife. Will the defence of temporary insanity prevail? Multiple Academy Award nominations. Read an online review from the New York Times.

Billy Budd (1962). Starring Peter Ustinov, Terence Stamp. The story, based on Melville's novel, of Billy Budd, accused of mutiny on the high seas of the murder of the ship's Master-of-Arms. Read the original New York Times review here.

Breaker Morant (1980). Starring Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson. An excellent Australian court-martial movie set in the time of the Boer War. Three Australian lieutenants are treated as scapegoats when prosecuted for executing prisoners of war. Strong performance by their defence lawyer. See a good review here from The Guardian.

The Caine Mutiny (1954). Starring Humphrey Bogart, Jose Ferrer, Van Johnson, and Fred MacMurray. Based on the novel by Herman Wouk. This movie tells the story of an alleged mutiny aboard a Navy destroyer—minesweeper in the Pacific in World War II, with Humphrey Bogart playing Captain Queeg. Read the original New York Times review here. Also made into a "made for TV movie" in 1988 directed by Robert Altman and starring Eric Bogosian, Jeff Daniels and Brad Davis.

Court Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955). Otto Preminger directs an all-star cast led by Gary Cooper and including Hawaii Five-O notable Jack Lord and Elizabeth Montgomery from Bewitched. Tells the true story of General Billy Mitchell, a Word War I air combat commander who was court-martialed for criticizing those in the military elite for incompetence. Read the original New York Times review here.

A Few Good Men (1992). Starring Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, many others. Tom Cruise plays a Navy lawyer charged with the duty of defending two Marines charged with murder who say they were acting under orders of a colonel (played by Jack Nicholson). Good court room and trial prep scenes. Read Roger Ebert's review (2.5 stars out of 4).

Hart's War (2002). Stars Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell and Terrence Howard. A military court martial movie set in a POW camp during World War II in Germany, with Bruce Willis as a senior officer in the US army and Colin Farrell, a lawyer and lieutenant, assigned to defend a black officer accused of murder. Ostensibly the movie is more about the actions of Bruce Willis's character and concepts of duty, valour and justice, than pure military justice. Read Roger Ebert's review (3 out of 4 stars).

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961). Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster. A strong dramatization of the Nazi war crime trials. Maximilian Schell won the Oscar for his portrayal of the defence lawyer. Read the original Variety movie review here.

Paths of Glory (1957). This Stanley Kubrick film stars Kirk Douglas as a colonel serving in the French Army in World War I who, as a defense lawyer prior to the war, defends three of his men unfairly charged with cowardice in the face of the enemy regarding the refusal of the troops to proceed against enemy gunfire in what would have been a suicide mission for all concerned. Read Roger Ebert's review here.

Rules of Engagement (2000). Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson. A court-martial drama in which a lawyer/military man (played by Tommy Lee Jones) agrees to defend his colleague (played by Jackson) who is charged of breach of duty for a botched embassy rescue mission. At issue in the trial are the "rules of engagement" and the pressures that soldiers face when under enemy fire. Read Roger Ebert's review (2.5 out of 4 stars).

A Soldier's Story (1984). Directed by Canadian Norman Jewison and starring Howard Rollins, Adolph Caesar, Robert Townsend and, in one of his earlier roles, Denzel Washington. Although the movie is a military criminal investigation, I have included it here (and under "Court Martial movies, even though it is not really a court martial movie). The movie, set in a military barracks in Arkansas during World War II, tells the story of a black Sergeant (played by Adolph Caesar) killed one evening outside of the base and the black Captain (Howard Rollins) put in charge of the investigation. Read the original New York Times review here.


Last updated: January 2024     |    Legal / Terms of Use    |    Ted Tjaden © 2010-2024

  Cover of 4th edition of Legal Research and Writing
                (Irwin Law)

Legal Research and Writing:
4th Edition

by Ted Tjaden

Softcover 512 pgs.
Published: January 2016
Paperback: 978-1-55221-414-5
e-book: 978-1-55221-415-2

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