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The Best Off-Beat Lawyer Movies

Most lawyer movies are filled with tense courtroom scenes and dramatic reveals of a client’s guilt or innocence. Legal conflicts are a natural fit for dramatic movies; most of the movies you’ll find featuring lawyers are dramas or thrillers. Alongside these intriguing stories you’ll find a few other off-beat lawyer movies. Comedies, musicals, period dramas, and even holiday movies have prominently featured lawyers and complex courtroom battles. These ten movies showcase the lighter side of the law and other unique takes on the legal profession.

  1. My Cousin Vinnie. This classic comedy flick was released in 1992; it starred Melissa Tormei who won an Oscar for best supporting actress. Joe Pesci is Vinnie, a loud-mouthed lawyer from New York City who goes to the aid of his cousin and a friend who have been accused of murder in a small Alabama town. The wackiness continues as Vinnie dominates the courtroom with his outspoken antics and willingness to do anything to keep his cousin out of prison. Full of classic quotable lines.

  2. Legally Blonde. After her boyfriend breaks up with her, happy go lucky sorority girl Elle Woods decides to earn a law degree. The pretty young woman faces hostility at Harvard Law School on account of her looks and peppy attitude. Elle becomes involved with a sorority sister accused of murdering her husband; Elle successfully disproves the accusation and begins to win the admiration of her peers. The case doesn’t end quickly and Elle soon becomes embedded in a scandal that reaches farther than she expects.

  3. Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde. Elle Woods is back and this time she’s trying to reunite her pet Chihuahua Bruiser with his mother in the hopes of gathering the whole family together for Elle’s upcoming wedding. The search soon takes Elle to Washington D.C. where she lands a job as a staffer for Congresswoman Rudd with the hopes of curtailing cosmetic testing on animals. With the odds stacking against her, Elle turns to her friends to rally support for her bill and save Bruiser’s mother.

  4. Chicago. A toe-tapping musical set in Chicago during the turbulent years of Prohibition, this movie tells the story of Roxie Hart, a pretty flapper who murdered her lover. The news stories following her trial become increasingly wild and Roxie becomes a local celebrity. Roxie’s rising star threatens Velma Kelly, another glamorous woman in the midst of her own high profile murder trial. Helped along by smooth talking lawyer Billy Flynne, Roxie and Velma continue to strive for the lion’s share of public attention and newspaper coverage.

  5. Miracle on 34th Street.  Though this movie is usually thought of as a holiday classic, the storyline focuses on a courtroom trial; the original 1947 movie was remade five different times, once as a Broadway musical. Kris Kringle gets a job as the resident Santa Claus in Macy’s department store and impresses Susan, a skeptical second grader, with his magical charm. Kringle’s wit and charm continue to enchant but he eventually lands in court accused of being mentally ill. A creative defense attorney decides to prove that Mr. Kringle really is the actual Santa Claus.

  6. Liar Liar. This Jim Carey movie shows what could happen if birthday wishes really came true. Max, the ten year old son of busy lawyer Fletcher Reede, is tired of his father spending time at the office and making excuses for his absence. During his birthday party Max makes a wish that his father would be unable to tell a lie for the entire day. Fletcher discovers to his horror an inability to bend the truth in court and has to rethink the way he spends his time and serves his sometimes unethical clients.

  7. A Man for all Seasons.  Another unique period piece, this one set in Tudor era England.  King Henry VIII is determined to break from the Roman Catholic Church to form his own church in order to legally divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, so he can marry Anne Boleyn. Sir Thomas Moore is caught in the ensuing political struggle and tries to keep the peace in the midst of a growing conflict. This movie won Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture.

  8. The Devil’s Advocate. While most lawyer movies are dramatic, this supernatural thriller has more in common with horror flicks. Florida defense attorney Kevin Lomax secures a ‘not guilty’ judgment for his client, a man who actually is guilty of molesting a child. His success earns him a plum job offer from a big city law firm. Before long however, Kevin realizes that his new bosses are trying to bring about the birth of the Antichrist.

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