Favorite Civil Justice Movie?

I just received an email about American Violet, a movie about civil justice released earlier this year.

And as I read the promo and watched the video preview, I realized that movies are powerful media. I reflected on earlier movies that had inspired me to move into a civil justice career such as Cry Freedom, Sound and Fury, A Civil Action, and Mississippi Burning to name a few.

Then I thought, if seeing the preview for American Violet has inspired me so, what other inspirational movies are out there that I’ve either forgotten or have never seen?

That’s where YOU Dear Reader come in.

Please add your favorite in the comments section of this blog.

Feel free to say why or how it inspired you too.

Plus you gain the opportunity to inspire someone else too.




19 thoughts on “Favorite Civil Justice Movie?

  1. I think the first movie I ever saw that really caused me to think deeply about justice was “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It presented in a dramatic way, the circumstantially impossible situation of a black man in our society, and I found it afecting at that time in my life. Indeed, I still find it an affecting movie today, in a much more general way.

  2. Oh Eduardo Arbusto – Thanks for reminding me. How could I possibly forget “To Kill a Mockingbird?” What a great movie!

  3. From Twitter – ronfox responded – ‘Re Social Justice: Yertle the Turtle. Read it in my PI workshop for 1L’s. In first draft in late 40’s/50’s Yertle had thin mustache.’

    Good book and good movie! Thanks ronfox!

  4. When I was in 10th grade, our government teacher showed us Gideon’s Trumpet, with Henry Fonda. I like to think it helped inspire me to a legal career many years later.

  5. Definitely My Cousin Vinny, one of the best courtroom films ever. Or maybe, in the 1960s, that episode of Superman (George Reeves) where the man who was falsely accused and convicted of murder was strapped to the electric chair, but Superman put his arm in the giant knife switch that was being thrown on the electric chair (good thing it was not a button). I wondered why Superman’s arm did not conduct electricity, but his outfit does have long sleeves. To Kill a Mockingbird is pretty good also.

  6. Jenny – Thanks for reminding me of Gideon’s Trumpet. Wow, how can I forget these classics?

    Freehawk – My Cousin Vinny is a fun one. And I’ll have to go back to find the Superman episode. Not remembering it off the top of my head but sounds like I should. Thanks!

  7. “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Gentleman’s Agreement” are the first movies that come to mind.

    But, in a broader sense, films that show characters standing up for themselves, showing a commitment and dedication to service, acting against social norms and stereotype and proclaiming independence are also important:

    “The Miracle Worker”
    “Norma Rae”
    “The Best Years of Our Lives”
    “The Grapes of Wrath”
    “Million Dollar Baby”
    “High Noon”
    “On the Waterfront”
    “Malcolm X”
    “Mr. Smith goes to Washington”
    “Lord of the Rings”
    “Forrest Gump”
    “Schindler’s List”

  8. tnovsa – Good point. I like the broad sense of your choices. Thanks!

    Michael Jeffcoat – Another great choice. Thanks!

  9. Totally hokey, I know, but if we’re talking FIRST movie to inspire me, I’d have to throw in “Miracle on 34th Street.” The powers that be so misunderstood Santa, who was gentle and kind, and it took a spunky lawyer to set everyone straight. Still watch it every year.

  10. Tanya – That’s a great movie and interestingly enough, it is the spunky lawyer who helps turn around the situation. Thanks!

  11. Does Norma Rae (Sally Field) count? I saw that movie and it brought tears to my eyes how people had to fight for simple decent conditions at work. I know people don’t like unions, but if it weren’t for them, a lot of folks would still be suffering under some pretty unfair, unhealthy work conditions.

  12. Aldrena – Great choice. Decent work conditions are definitely a part of civil justice. And Norma Rae is a good reminder. Thanks!

  13. THX-1138. Futuristic dystopias may seem a little abstract, but I’ve always liked how the protagonist bravely fought a ridiculously overpowered government for the right to be human.

  14. Sue C – Thanks for adding a movie into my consciousness. I have not yet seen THX-1138 but will definitely add to my “Must See” list. In a similar theme – Minority Report and Gattaca – may also qualify.

  15. The first movie to come to mind is Mississippi Burning, the next would be Erin Brockovich. Having worked with attorneys for most of my adult life, seeing folks with disabilities, the injustices of large corporations, children left in homes where their parents have harmed them, and this list is endless, I have grown to hate the large insurance companies and the attorneys who represent them! I have personally bought diapers, food, clothing, and this, too, is endless, for those who have been shoved aside by society and most importantly large corporations, insurance companies and, in many instances, other members of society in their mistreatment of other. Children are my passion when it comes to justice! As an abused child in a county where they would not prosecute my abuser, there will never be enough protection, other than that of God, and certainly not from society, for those who have no word in this world! I was 10!

    1. @Rene P – Thanks for your candor and your choices. Certainly there are many injustices in the word and it sounds as though you have survived quite a few of them yourself. Your passion sounds deep-rooted and sincere, and it sounds like you have taken your pain and chosen to focus it into assistance for others. All the best!

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