Movie Mom

Movie Mom

List: Movie Judges

posted by Nell Minow

supreme-court.jpgAs President Obama thinks about his selection to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter, it is a good time to take a look at some memorable movie judges.
1. Anatomy of a Murder Real-life lawyer — and real-life American hero — Joseph Welch plays the judge in this spell-binding story of a murder trial, based on a real-life case in a novel written by Robert Traver (pen name of John Donaldson Voelker, a Michigan Supreme Court justice). You can see Welch’s stand against Joseph McCarthy in Point of Order!
2. The Supreme Court A superb documentary about our government’s smallest and least transparent branch.
3. The Talk of the Town Ronald Coleman plays a law professor whose appointment to the Supreme Court is jeopardized when his landlady hides an anarchist (Cary Grant) from the authorities in the farmhouse where he is staying. The two men engage in a spirited debate about the law and a competition for the heart of the lovely landlady.
4. Separate But Equal Sidney Poitier plays Thurgood Marshall in the story of Brown v. the Board of Education, the Supreme Court decision that may have had the most significant impact on the lives of all Americans. It is as gripping as any thriller, especially for those who find it hard to imagine a time when segregation in schools was legal. The way this case was assembled and presented is at time shocking, all the more reason that it is a must-see. Marshall, who argued the case, later became the first black Supreme Court justice. Thurgood Marshall: Justice for All is his story.
5. Stranger in Town Frank Morgan, who played the title character in The Wizard of Oz plays a Supreme Court justice on a hunting trip who gets caught up in a small town’s political dispute.

  • Legal Eagle

    Joseph Nye Welch was not a real-life judge. He was a Boston attorney representing the U.S. Army against McCarthy. During the filming of “Anatomy of a Murder” Welch commented that now he’d played the role of Judge Weaver in the film so people could call him a judge if they wanted to, even if he really hadn’t been one. He died about 16 months after the movie was made.

  • Nell Minow

    You are right, Legal Eagle — I’ll make the correction. Reminder: 10 corrections and you get a free copy of my book, so you only have nine to go!

  • Andreas Ulanowsky

    Anatomy of a Murder is a great film. Saw this a few months ago here in Sweden. I don’t have this on DVD. It’s hard to find it here! Oh well, I recommend this film to anyone wanting to see a good classic film.

  • Kevin L.

    Myrna Loy in “The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer”
    Liam Dunn in “What’s Up Doc?”
    Spencer Tracy in “Judgement at Nuremberg”
    Gene Lockhart in “Miracle on 34th Street”

  • Nell Minow

    Four of my favorites, Kevin! Thanks!

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