The Verdict

December 8th, 1982


The Verdict

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Still of Paul Newman and Jack Warden in The VerdictStill of Paul Newman and Jack Warden in The VerdictStill of Paul Newman in The VerdictStill of Paul Newman in The Verdict

A lawyer sees the chance to salvage his career and self-respect by taking a medical malpractice case to trial rather than settling.

Release Year: 1982

Rating: 7.7/10 (14,153 voted)

Director: Sidney Lumet

Stars: Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden

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.

Writers: Barry Reed, David Mamet

Paul Newman - Frank Galvin
Charlotte Rampling - Laura Fischer
Jack Warden - Mickey Morrissey
James Mason - Ed Concannon
Milo O'Shea - Judge Hoyle
Lindsay Crouse - Kaitlin Costello
Edward Binns - Bishop Brophy
Julie Bovasso - Maureen Rooney
Roxanne Hart - Sally Doneghy
James Handy - Kevin Doneghy
Wesley Addy - Dr. Towler
Joe Seneca - Dr. Thompson
Lewis J. Stadlen - Dr. Gruber (as Lewis Stadlen)
Kent Broadhurst - Joseph Alito
Colin Stinton - Billy

Release Date: 8 December 1982

Filming Locations: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Gross: $54,000,000 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Two cast members - Edward Binns and Jack Warden - played jurors #6 and #7, respectively, in 12 Angry Men, also by Sidney Lumet.

Continuity: The amount of coffee in the cup from the judge changes.

[telling the joke to the others in the bar]
Frank Galvin: So Pat says, he says, "They got this new bar... and you go inside and for half a buck you get a beer, a free lunch and they take you in the back room - they get you laid... Mike says, "Now wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Do you mean to say there's a new bar and you go inside and for a half a buck they give you a beer...

User Review

Newman amazing as drunken lawyer in story of redemption...

Rating: 10/10

The title of this movie is deceiving. THE VERDICT suggests a courtroom drama, something like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, or INHERIT THE WIND. It does have some riveting court scenes, but what happens outside of court and to Paul Newman is the real attraction here. The title not only refers to the inevitable decision of the important case of the film, but also to how the Newman character is going to live the rest of his life. Should he sell out and take the easy settlement, or take the highly regarded archdiocese of Boston to court for real justice. These are the questions Newman must face in this profound drama that seems more like a picture of the 70's than an 80's film.

Director Sidney Lumet has dealt with the legal system before in his first film, 12 ANGRY MEN. He takes it to a more personal level and Paul Newman, one of the finest actors of the past 40 years, is the person to do it. He is a legend and he bares his soul as attorney Frank Galvin, a lonely, corrupt drunk whose license to practice law is hanging by a thread. Jack Warden plays his trusty assistant who gets him a case that could help Frank change his life. Warden, however, has had enough.

Newman plays an excellent drunk, even cracking an egg into an 8am beer to start his day. This is a dim looking movie, shot during a cold winter in Boston. There are no great shots, or even any emotionally-rousing speeches, but this is Lumet's style. It is plodding and we see into the life of a lawyer on the ropes. James Mason is perfect as the slimy defense lawyer. Newman is constantly underestimated because of past failures. He is a drunk, but he still has some tricks up his sleeve.

NOTE: Look closely at the closing argument given by Newman. In the background, you can glimpse a then-unknown Bruce Willis.


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