The 12 Best Court Movies to Stream Right Now

Warner Bros. Pictures

A slightly forgotten genre of film, court movies have some of the most intricate plots in the game. Each plays the game in its own way: films like Jagged Edge blend in the psychological thriller genre, while The Trial of the Chicago 7 focuses on explaining the entire story of a real event. From absolute classics like To Kill a Mockingbird to fresher takes on the genre like Just Mercy, these 12 are a few of the best that we've seen so far.

1. "Just Mercy"

Based on a true story, Just Mercy follows Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan), a recent Harvard law school graduate, as he founds the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. Working with Eva Ansley (Brie Larson), Stevenson plans to overturn the convictions of wrongfully prosecuted inmates.

In the film, Jamie Foxx plays Walter "Johnny D." McMillian, a man who was jailed and put on death row for a crime he didn't commit. Stevenson and Ansley work to overturn McMillian's conviction and free the innocent man from prison.

Watch on Prime Video

2. "The Lincoln Lawyer"

Part courtroom drama, part thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer stars Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller, a criminal defense attorney based in Los Angeles County, California. Realizing that the case he is currently working on is eerily similar to one from his past, he comes to discover that they are somehow intertwined.

Watch on HBO Max

3. "A Time to Kill"

Another Matthew McConaughey starring film, A Time to Kill sees his character Jake Brigance take up the case of Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson), a man who murdered the two white men who raped and nearly murdered Hailey's ten-year-old daughter.

As the case and trial begin to garner national media attention and the small Mississippi town becomes engulfed in racial strife, Brigance finds himself at the center of the storm.

Watch on HBO Max

4. "A Few Good Men"

One of the most classic courtroom dramas ever, A Few Good Men is an adaptation of the stage play by the same name and both are written by Aaron Sorkin. In it, Tom Cruise's character Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, along with Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore), and Lieutenant Sam Weinberg (Kevin Pollak) defend two Marines who are accused of murdering a fellow marine.

In true Aaron Sorkin fashion, the film is filled with endlessly quotable moments including the famous "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH" bomb from Jack Nicholson.

Watch on Prime Video

5. "The Trial of the Chicago 7"

Having just been released in 2020, Aaron Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7 has earned tons of praise for its portrayal of the 1969 trial involving seven men charged after the 1968 DNC protests. Taking place during the time of the Vietnam War, the protestors were vehement opposers of the war; even though people have the right to protest, these seven were arrested for conspiracy and inducing riots, as well as crossing state lines. The film has a massive cast, with Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Strong, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Frank Langella starring in main roles.

Watch on Netflix

6. "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Of course, based on the iconic book of the same name, To Kill a Mockingbird placed an even larger focus on Atticus Finch, especially with his speeches in front of the court. Gregory Peck put on a performance for a lifetime in his portrayal of Finch, where he argues for Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), an African-American man accused of the rape of Mayella Ewell (Collin Wilcox).

Watch on Prime Video

7. "Erin Brockovich"

Julia Roberts plays an unlikely legal aide in this film based on the real story of Erin Brockovich, which tracks Brockovich (Roberts) as she works alongside lawyer Albert Finney (Ed Masry) to expose the company, Pacific Gas and Electric, for causing tons of people to fall ill in a town in California. Dealing more so on the behind-the-scenes side of things, Brockovich gathers the victims and research to build a strong case, while Finney works on the classical lawyer side to make sure that the company is charged.

Watch on Prime Video

8. "On the Basis of Sex"

Reenacting Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life, On the Basis of Sex especially focuses on Ginsburg’s on her time spent as an upcoming lawyer and the time it took to be taken seriously as a woman. Though unable to find a job at first as an attorney because of her sex, she works as a professor at Rutgers before learning about a case from her husband entitled Moritz v. Commissioner. This case ends up changing her life, as she's finally able to take it on alongside her husband. Kathy Bates, Justin Theroux, and Armie Hammer also star in the film.

Watch on Prime Video

9. "Jagged Edge"

With Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges starring alongside each other, Jagged Edge not only falls into the courtroom genre, but also spends some time in the thriller category, as the film mixes both into one. Teddy Barnes (Close) represents Jack Forrester (Bridges), a husband who has been accused of murdering his wife, and though she was initially pretty reluctant about taking on the case, she ends up developing a close relationship with him.

Watch on Hulu

10. "My Cousin Vinny"

Joe Pesci plays Vinny Gambini, a lawyer who just can’t seem to win any cases, who is desperately called into action after his cousin and friend are arrested for murder. The film takes on the classic legal drama genre from a comedy angle, as it was later cemented as a major classic film after garnering a major critical success at the box office.

Watch on Hulu

11. "The Rainmaker"

Based on the book of the same name by John Grisham, Matt Damon plays an attorney, Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon), who’s so desperate for a job after law school that he starts working for a pretty sketchy lawyer (Mickey Rourke). The film has an incredible cast, with Damon and Rourke starring alongside Claire Danes, Danny DeVito, and Roy Scheider.

Watch on Hulu

12. "Suspect"

Cher takes on the role of public defender as Kathleen Riley in Suspect, as she's assigned to represent Carl Anderson (Liam Neeson), a homeless, mute, and deaf man who is accused of murdering a file clerk who worked at the Justice Department. The film combines mystery with the legal drama genre, as Riley has to figure out whether or not Anderson was actually capable of committing this crime.

Watch on Prime Video
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