Frank Galvin is a down-on-his luck lawyer, reduced to drinking and ambulance chasing. Former associate Mickey Morrissey reminds him of his obligations in a medical malpractice suit that he himself served to Galvin on a silver platter: all parties willing to settle out of court. Blundering his way through the preliminaries, he suddenly realizes that perhaps after all the case should go to court; to punish the guilty, to get a decent settlement for his clients, and to restore his standing as a lawyer.
|Release Date||:||December 8, 1982|
|Production Company||:||20th Century Fox|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Writers||:||Sidney Lumet, David Mamet, Barry Reed|
|Casts||:||Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Milo O'Shea, Lindsay Crouse, Edward Binns, Julie Bovasso, Roxanne Hart, James Handy, Wesley Addy, Joe Seneca, Lewis J. Stadlen, Kent Broadhurst, Colin Stinton, Bruce Willis|
|Plot Keywords||:||boston, court, malpractice, alcoholic, courtroom, defense attorney|
I love this film, I own a copy and I watch it at least once a year. It's hard to pick a "best work" from Sidney Lumet, Paul Newman or David Mamet, but this film ranks up there for all three. And really, when you say those three names on one film, that says it all, doesn't it?
Newman plays a down and out lawyer, a drunk ambulance chaser whose life changes when he turns down a pultry settlement offer to try a case that he can't possibly win. There are so many great scenes in this film, it's hard to pick a favorite. Possibly, the very end, the ringing phone Paul Newman ignores as he sips on some coffee, rather than whiskey, might be one of the all time greats. The scene sums up the movie so well. My other favorite is a long, single shot where Newman is on the phone trying to get another doctor to testify and Jack Warden paces the room. The camera is at the other end of the room, on the floor and the scene is about five or six minutes long, one continuous shot, beautifully done.
I read a book a couple years ago that covered blunders in film regarding court cases and apparently there were a couple in this one. But this is a film that is so great, so well done, I think Godzilla could have trampled part of Boston and Lumet could have made it believable. Although Cool Hand Luke is my favorite film of all time, The Verdict is my second favorite Newman film. See it if you can.