19 Best Lawyer and Courtroom Movies on Netflix (May 2024)

Injustice revelations, corrupt systems, politicians, and plot twists can make you rewind the entire film to a certain point because you missed one tiny dialogue. Courtroom movies are like that. But they are not a new trend and have been here for ages, not just in movies but in books, from classics like ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ and ‘The Wrong Man’ to modern emotional movies like ‘The Judge.’ There are different reasons to watch such movies; maybe you love the intense drama that revolves around courtroom debates, or you want to learn more about the historical significance of an event. Some of these movies prove educational for aspiring lawyers, and some hold political and historical importance that can add value to anyone’s general knowledge.

19. Liar Liar (1997)

This one is a comedy film that centers on a lawyer and his latest case. So, in essence, it is a courtroom drama. We have Fletcher Reede (Jim Carrey), an attorney whose lie-filled exploits in the courtroom are renowned and have earned him quite a reputation. But after he misses his son’s birthday and the kid wishes for his father to speak only the truth for a whole day, Reede finds himself unable to tell lies: that too on a day he has to win a case that shall decide his career. Not only is he unable to tell lies, he can barely prevent himself from speaking the truth to people on their faces in the most distasteful ways. Thanks to Carrey’s brilliant comic timing and an interesting case, ‘Liar Liar’ has become a rare addition to the courtroom genre. Directed by Tom Shadyac, the movie co-stars Jennifer Tilly, Amanda Donohoe, Justin Cooper, and Cary Elwes. You can watch it here.

18. Legal Eagles (1986)

Directed by Ivan Reitman, this legal drama stars Robert Redford, Debra Winger, and Daryl Hannah. The film follows Assistant District Attorney Tom Logan (Robert Redford) and Attorney Laura Kelly (Debra Winger), who work together to solve the mysterious case of Kelly’s client, Chelsea Deardon (Daryl Hannah). Deardon has been accused of stealing a painting owned by millionaire Robert Forrester (John McMartin), although she claims that the painting belonged to her father, who is later revealed to have been murdered. As the plot proceeds, the investigation into the case gets more complex, and Logan and Kelly find themselves ‘playing with fire.’ One of the costliest productions of the time, ‘Legal Eagles’ offers a lot of action for a legal drama, which certainly adds to the overall effectiveness. You can watch the movie here.

17. Vaashi (2022)

Penned and directed by Vishnu G. Raghav, ‘Vaashi’ is a captivating drama featuring Tovino Thomas and Keerthy Suresh. The plot unfolds as a courtroom drama, pitting two skilled, self-made lawyers against each other in a high-stakes case. Their determination to win takes center stage as the legal battle intensifies, providing a riveting narrative that explores the complexities of justice, ambition, and the clash of legal minds. ‘Vaashi’ promises a compelling portrayal of courtroom dynamics fueled by the captivating performances of its lead actors. You can watch the movie here.

16. Unspeakable Acts (1990)

Starring Jill Clayburgh, Brad Davis, Season Hubley, and Gary Frank, ‘Unspeakable Acts’ is a biographical drama directed by Linda Otto. Based on the 1986 book of the same name by Jan Hollingsworth, the film showcases one of the worst cases of child abuse in the United States, the child abuse in Country Walk daycare in Miami, Florida, in 1984. It was run by Frank and Iliana Fuster in their home. Psychologists Laurie and Joseph Braga were introduced to the case, and they were the ones who spoke to the children who were the victims. These interviews served as testimony in court and led to the first successful prosecution of daycare operators charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse. Jill Clayburgh plays Laurie, and Brad Davis plays Joseph. We see how they try to persuade one child whose testimony the case rests. You can watch the film here.

15. Shastry Virudh Shastry (2023)

Directed by Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee, ‘Shastry Virudh Shastry’ is an Indian Hindi-language film that is a remake of the Bengali film ‘Posto’ (2017) that is also directed by the same duo. It pins Manohar (Paresh Rawal) against his son Malhar (Shiv Panditt) in an emotional custody battle for the former’s grandson, 7-year-old Yaman Shastry (Kabir Pahwa). Yaman lives with his grandparents Manohar and Urmila (Neena Kulkarni), and his parents Malhar and Mallika (Mimi Chakraborty) visit them on weekends, but when they decide to take Yaman and settle in the U.S., things go sideways as Manohar is against it. A compelling film bound to move you to the core, ‘Shastry Virudh Shastry’ is a must-watch. You can do so right here.

14. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (2019)

A sensational retelling of an already sensational case – that of serial killer Ted Bundy – from the point of view of his long-time romantic partner. His girlfriend, who refused to believe the truth about her serial killer boyfriend for a long time, opens her eyes to the monster that he is in this compelling and thrilling film that stars Zac Efron as the charismatic, magnetic, compulsively watchable Ted Bundy. We’ve put this film so low on this list because it feels more like an emotional/romantic drama than a lawyer movie or a courtroom drama (even though it is). The film focuses too much on Bundy’s love life than on his damaged psyche. You can watch the movie here.

13. Yara (2021)

An exhilarating courtroom drama, ‘Yara,’ directed by Marco Tullio Giordana, follows the aftermath of the murder of 13-year-old Yara Gambirasio. The shocking murder ends up dividing the town of Brembate di Sopra into two as people clamor for the murderer to be brought to justice. In such a tumultuous setting, prosecutor Letizia Ruggeri has no leads other than a trace DNA to convict the perpetrator. Thus, the scene is set for a brilliant courtroom drama as the prosecutor tries to detect and convict the criminal based on the power of arguments. Feel free to check out the movie here.

12. In Defense of a Married Man (1990)

This one is an oldie but goodie. The premise is so interesting – a man having an extra-marital affair becomes the prime suspect in the murder of his girlfriend and has to lawyer up. Who’s the lawyer? The very wife he was cheating on. ‘In Defense of a Married Man’ is a satisfyingly soapy, made-for-TV movie that features some brilliant acting and a script that draws you in. The viewers can feel the lawyer’s pain when she has to defend the very man who has wronged her with his philandering ways in court. But she chooses to do justice to her profession rather than being vindictive. You can check out the film here.

11. The Laundromat (2019)

This star-studded film about the real-life scandal of the Panama Papers and a money manipulation scam is headed by Meryl Streep. But even the legendary Streep’s presence is not enough to elevate a dry script and make this appear as an entry much higher on this list. The story, direction, and acting jobs are all well done, but the film’s narrative loses its footing at times. It becomes way too boring when it goes into unnecessary details of money laundering, possibly in an ill-advised bid to keep away from sensationalizing the whole scandal. You can watch it for its stellar star cast (Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman star as the corrupt lawyers helping wealthy individuals with their tax evasion and whatnot). You can watch ‘The Laundromat’ here.

10. A Fall From Grace (2020)

When a woman is jailed for the murder of her husband, a rookie lawyer believes that things just don’t add up and starts an investigation of her own. When the woman denies killing her husband, the lawyer knows she has to find out the truth at all costs. The truth is something entirely different, and her client is being framed, especially since the dead body was never found. She might be a novice in court, but the attorney gives her all to ensure she does not mess it up for her client. The story is gripping, though predictable, and the performances are convincing. There’s a twist towards the end that may come as a surprise to most viewers. Overall, it is a compelling courtroom drama/ murder mystery movie. You may watch it here.

9. Seeing Allred (2018)

‘Seeing Allred’ is an interesting documentary that follows women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred and documents her firebrand court performances as she fights famous people charged with sexual misconduct and assault. The attorney, who is considered a stalwart in her field, undertook various controversial cases and has fought for women’s rights against famous figures, including senators and Hollywood personalities. The film aims to be a tribute to her incredible work and offers an authentic insight into her life through photographs, archival footage, and interviews. You may watch ‘Seeing Allred’ here.

8. Monster (2021)

‘Monster’ revolves around Steve Harmon, a typical seventeen-year-old honors student who does brilliantly at school. A film student at an elite Harlem school, he feels content in his everyday life and even looks forward to the future. However, in a sudden twist of fate, his world comes crashing down when he is shockingly charged with felony murder. Steve unexpectedly loses the luxury he had taken for granted as he is forced to confront a criminal justice system to prove his innocence and integrity. With the justice system already holding a preconceived notion, convincing them otherwise seems like a mountainous task, which the movie wonderfully documents through incredible courtroom scenes. You can stream ‘Monster’ here.

7. Woman in Gold (2015)

Directed by Simon Curtis and written by Alexi Kaye Campbell, ‘Woman in Gold’ is a biographical drama that showcases the story of old Jewish refugee Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) who, with the help of young lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), took on the government of Austria to get back the possession of the painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I that was stolen by the Nazis in Vienna before World War II. The painting was that of her aunt Adele Bloch-Bauer I and was made by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt. Together, Altmann and Schoenberg took the case to the Supreme Court of the United States, where the case (Republic of Austria v. Altmann) was ruled in favor of Altmann. ‘Woman in Gold’ offers a great watch that is underscored by the subtle chemistry between Mirren and Reynolds. You can watch the film here.

6. OMG 2 (2023)

An Indian Hindi-language film directed by Amit Rai, this film portrays a Lord Shiva devotee/father going against his son’s school and his entire community at large in a court of law. Kanti Sharan Mudgal (Pankaj Tripathi) finds out that his son Vivek (Aarush Varma) has been expelled from school after a video of him masturbating inside the school premises goes viral. Despite such stuff being taboo for him, he, after much struggle and inability to decide what to do to help his son, who has already tried to kill himself twice due to being shamed by their neighborhood, calls out to Lord Shiva, who sends his messenger (Akshay Kumar) to help Kanti.

On his suggestion, Kanti files a case against the school, citing the absence of sex education in the education system, which is the primary reason why anything related to sex is looked down upon in the country. With a vital commentary on sex education and society, ‘OMG 2’ is a compelling legal drama garnished with a father’s love for his son, a love as strong and fierce as the Almighty. You can stream the film here.

5. Jana Gana Mana (2022)

Directed by Dijo Jose Antony, ‘Jana Gana Mana’ is an Indian Malayalam-language film that takes place in the aftermath of the murder of a college professor. While a protest by the students of the college is suppressed, public outrage at large makes the state government appoint Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Sajjan Kumar (Suraj Venjaramoodu) to investigate the case. Unfortunately, his action against the culprits lands him in court and a prosecution represented by Advocate Aravind Swaminathan (Prithviraj Sukumaran). What follows is the revelation of multiple truths concerning both Kumar and Swaminathan, rooted deep within the government. It is a gripping story that holds your attention and doesn’t let it go for a second. You can watch the movie here.

4. Dark Waters (2019)

This engrossing legal drama is based on a 2016 New York Times Magazine article by Nathaniel Rich. The article addressed the legal battle between lawyer Robert Bilott and the chemical manufacturing corporation DuPont, whose unregulated chemicals dumped in a landfill led to the deaths and ailments of farm animals downstream in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The case began in 1998, and the final settlement in favor of Robert’s client, Wilbur Tennant, a farmer, was made in 2021, more than 15 years after Tennant’s passing. In the film, Mark Ruffalo plays the role of Robert Bilott and Bill Camp plays Wilbur Tennant. Co-stars include Anne Hathaway, Victor Garber, and Tim Robbins. A Todd Haynes directorial, ‘Dark Waters’ won the Best Feature Film award at the 2020 Environmental Media Awards. You can watch it here.

3. The Judge (2014)

A strained father-son relationship is explored in this moving drama wherein both are lawyers. When Judge Joseph Palmer is convicted of murder, it is up to his son Hank, a successful lawyer, to clear his estranged father of the charges. But before this, Hank has to get close to Joseph and open himself up to him to ensure that his father tells him the truth about the incident that landed them both in the situation. Directed by David Dobkin, ‘The Judge’ is an underrated courtroom drama featuring compelling performances by Robert Downey Jr. as Hank and Robert Duvall as Joseph. The film also co-stars Leighton Meester, Vera Farmiga, Sarah Lancaster, and Jeremy Strong. You can watch it here.

2. Worth (2021)

Another biographical drama, ‘Worth’ takes place in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks that shook the entire world. However, the movie gives us a different view of the cost of life, and one can even say that it is a rather literal one. Renowned attorney Kenneth Feinberg (Michael Keaton) is appointed to lead the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which was formed to allocate financial resources to the victims’ families. But can there be a way to calculate how much a life is ‘worth’? Directed by Sara Colangelo, this one is a must-watch. You may watch the film here.

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

A fascinating historical legal drama film, ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7‘ is directed by Aaron Sorkin. It chronicles the trial of several anti-Vietnam War protestors who crossed state lines intending to incite a riot at Chicago’s 1968 Democratic National Convention. Charged with trying to start a riot, the group faces trial by jury in front of a legal system that is heavily against them. From the beginning, the judge shows extreme prejudice towards the prosecution, making it quite challenging for the defense attorneys to prove their points. Moreover, the abuse of violent punishment threatens to jeopardize the trial. Chock full of nail-biting drama and heartwrenching emotions, this incredible legal drama is a must-watch for courtroom movie lovers. You may watch it here.

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