IMDb Polls

Poll: Which Movie Best Makes Legal History?

Which movie inspired by a real-life courtroom case or actual litigation that forever changed history* is the most compelling legal story?

* Answer pool options made history both as landmark, influential and precedent setting cases, as well as, more infamous and sensational cases. Regardless, all are well-known, influential and had a historical impact.

Discuss the topic here.

Make Your Choice

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    On the Basis of Sex (2018)

    A biographical legal drama inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg's work in advancing gender equality and women's rights by winning multiple legal victories arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court.
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    Amistad (1997)

    A historical drama inspired by the 1841 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Schooner Amistad, which upheld the liberation of kidnapped native Africans brought to the United States after the importation of slaves had been prohibited.
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    Erin Brockovich (2000)

    A biographical drama inspired by a Hinkley, CA groundwater contamination class action lawsuit against P.G. & E settled in 1996. It led to a US$333 million settlement, a record at the time.
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    The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

    A courtroom drama inspired by Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, in which the 1988 U.S. Supreme Court ruled the First Amendment protected Hustler Magazine's right to parody public figures.
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    Inherit the Wind (1960)

    A courtroom drama inspired by the Scopes Monkey Trial over the teaching of human evolution in 1925.
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    Bridge of Spies (2015)

    A fictionalized historical drama of the U. S. espionage trial of Soviet KGB spy Rudolf Abel. A case that is appealed to the Supreme Court in Abel v. United States for the lack of a search warrant for the seizure of Abel's ciphers and photography equipment.
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    Philadelphia (1993)

    A fictionalized drama inspired by two different real-life attorneys with AIDS who had sued their respective employers for wrongful termination in 1987 and 1990.
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    A Few Good Men (1992)

    A fictionalized drama inspired by a Guantanamo Bay Naval Base hazing incident by Marines and their subsequent attempted murder trial in 1986.
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    Loving (2016)

    A biographical romantic drama inspired by Loving v. Virginia class action suit that invalidated all race-based prohibitions on marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967.
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    Chicago (2002)

    A fictionalized drama adapted from 1926 play which was inspired by two unrelated actual 1924 court cases involving two women, Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner, who were both suspected and later acquitted for murder.
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    North Country (2005)

    A fictionalized drama inspired by the filing, Lois E. Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co. in 1988, the seminal case was the nation's first class-action lawsuit over sexual harassment.
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    The Post (2017)

    A historical political thriller inspired by United States v. Washington Post Co. and New York Times Co. v. United States and the 1971 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Post's and Times' right to publish the Pentagon Papers.
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    Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)

    A fictionalized historical drama inspired by the Judges' Trial of 1947, one of the twelve U.S. military tribunals held in Nuremberg in 1947, the most famous war crimes trials in world history.
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    The Accused (1988)

    A legal drama inspired by victim Cheryl Araujo treatment during trial. It sparked national outrage over how prosecutors treat victims in court and victim's privacy rights in 1983.
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    Recount (2008)

    A fictionalized historical drama inspired by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bush v. Gore case and preceding events that settled a recount dispute in Florida's 2000 presidential election.
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    Woman in Gold (2015)

    A fictionalized drama inspired by Republic of Austria v. Altmann case, the 2004 U. S. Supreme Court ruling secured her the right to sue a foreign government. She sought recovery of five paintings stolen by the Nazis during World War 2 from the collection of the Austrian National Gallery.
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    Murder in the First (1995)

    A fictionalized drama inspired by Henri Young murder trial in 1941. His case highlighted inmate treatment and led to national prison reform and the closing of Alcatraz.
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    JFK (1991)

    A fictionalized historical drama inspired by the 1969 Clay Shaw conspiracy trial over his role in the Kennedy assassination.
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    Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)

    A biographical courtroom drama of the 1994 trial of the white supremacist, Byron De La Beckwith accused of the 1963 assassination of civil rights activist Medgar Evers. The twice prosecuted De La Beckwith previous trials both ended with all male and all white hung juries. His lawyers opposed the trial on the grounds that it violated his rights to a speedy trial, due process and protection from double jeopardy. Later, calling for a United States Supreme Court judicial review of his upheld Mississippi Supreme Court conviction.
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    In the Name of the Father (1993)

    A fictionalized biographical drama inspired by the falsely convicted Guildford Four of a 1974 pub bombing and their subsequent exoneration and release from prison.
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    Separate But Equal (1991)

    A historical drama depicting the landmark Supreme Court desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education and its companion case, Briggs v. Elliott. United States Supreme Court mandated individual states to desegregate public schools, based on the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
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    The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

    A historical drama inspired by the events leading up to and including to her ecclesiastical trial for the crime of heresy, based on her claim of visions and signs from God.
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    Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight (2013)

    A fictionalized drama inspired by the Clay v. United States case, in which the 1971 U.S. Supreme Court overturned Muhammad Ali's criminal conviction for refusing to report for induction into the United States military during the Vietnam War.
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    A Man for All Seasons (1966)

    A biographical drama about Thomas More, the Lord Chancellor of England who refused to sign a letter asking Pope Clement VII to annul King Henry VIII of England's marriage to Catherine of Aragon and refused to take an Oath of Supremacy declaring Henry VIII Supreme Head of the Church of England. His subsequent trial and manufactured evidence led to More's conviction for treason and forever changed the course of English history.
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    Gideon's Trumpet (1980)

    A historical drama film depicting the events surrounding Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that criminal defendants have the right to an attorney even if they cannot afford one.
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    Compulsion (1959)

    A fictionalized historical drama of the Leopold and Loeb kidnapping and murder trial characterized at the time as "the crime of the century. The famous duo were saved from the electric chair by an impassioned summation railing against capital punishment by lawyer Clarence Darrow. This despite their perceived intellectual superiority, believed absolution of responsibility and the heinousness of the act they thought was the perfect crime.
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    The Crucible (1996)

    A historical drama inspired by the Salem witchcraft trials.
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    A Cry in the Dark (1988)

    A fictionalized drama inspired by Azaria Chamberlain 1980 trial, her wrongfully imprisonment highlighted the issue of ‘trial by media’, after her nine-week-old baby was abducted and killed by a dingo.
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    The Conspirator (2010)

    A historical drama of the trial and execution of the Lincoln assassination conspirators. The movie focuses on a likely innocent Mary Surratt caught up in the blood thirst of a nation clamoring for justice. Her execution helped to strengthen the presumption of innocence principle and further the elimination of the use of the death-penalty.
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    Marshall (2017)

    A biographical courtroom drama depicting the defense of Joseph Spell by attorneys, Samuel Friedman and Thurgood Marshall. Spell, an African-American chauffeur stood accused of raping his employer, a wealthy white woman in The State of Connecticut v. Joseph Spell.
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    Tennessee Johnson (1942)

    A biographical historical drama based on the life of Andrew Johnson including his presidential impeachment trial. The trial and acquittal were among the most dramatic events during the Reconstruction Era and forever defined the scope of presidential powers in this battle with U.S. Congress.
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    Luther (2003)

    A historical drama loosely based on the life of Martin Luther and a series of trials by the Holy Roman Empire to recant his teachings. His refusal opened the door of religious freedom, as well as, led to today's 540 million worshipers in churches inspired by his Reformation.
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    Roe v. Wade (????)

    An upcoming courtroom drama about the events surrounding the landmark 1973 United States Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade. Alternate Current Movie: Roe vs. Wade (1989)

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