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The Paper Chase (1973)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 16 October 1973 (USA)
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A first-year law student at Harvard Law School struggles with balancing his coursework and his relationship with the daughter of his sternest professor.

Director:

James Bridges

Writers:

John Jay Osborn Jr. (novel), James Bridges (screenplay)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Timothy Bottoms ... James T. Hart
Lindsay Wagner ... Susan Fields
John Houseman ... Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.
Graham Beckel ... Franklin Ford III
James Naughton ... Kevin Brooks
Edward Herrmann ... Thomas Craig Anderson
Craig Richard Nelson ... Willis Bell
Robert Lydiard Robert Lydiard ... O'Connor
Lenny Baker ... William Moss
David Clennon ... Toombs
Regina Baff ... Asheley Brooks
Irma Hurley Irma Hurley ... Mrs. Weasal
Bill Moher Bill Moher ... Philip
Blair Brown ... Miss Farranti
Richard Whelan ... Pruit
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Storyline

Serious, hard-working student James T. Hart faces the rigors of his first year at Harvard Law School. The pressure to succeed is tremendous and some of the students form study groups while also spending a great many hours studying. Hart's greatest challenge is contract law and his professor, Charles W. Kingsfield Jr. Using the Socratic method, Kingsfield challenges his students with questions demanding accuracy and creativity in their responses and often humiliating those who are unable to respond. As the school year progresses, Hart faces many challenges but befriends Susan Fields - unaware that she has a connection that affects their relationship. Finally, Hart accommodates himself to whatever might come his way, accepting a new set of priorities in his life. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You have to choose between the girl you love and the diploma you've worked for all your life. You have 30 seconds. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

16 October 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Bright Young Men See more »

Filming Locations:

Canada See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Approximately five years after this film, there was a television series of the same name, which ran for four seasons from 1978 to 1986. Actor John Houseman reprised his Oscar winning role for the TV show. The show lasted only one season on CBS, from 1978 to 1979, and was canceled because of low ratings. The cable channel Showtime revived the series in 1983, where it ran for three years without commercials and was a great success. John Houseman passed away two years after the series went off the air. The first season was released on DVD in April 2009, with Season 2 scheduled to follow in December. Chicago PBS station WTTW bought the rights to air season one episodes over a year after the series ended on CBS. The program aired on numerous PBS stations between 1980 and 1982. The revival was such a success, the Showtime cable network aired new episodes from 1983 to 1986. See more »

Goofs

When Jim falls on the ice, his position relative to the end of the sidewalk changes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.: Mr. Hart, would you recite for us the facts of Hawkins versus McGee?
[looks up]
Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.: I do have you name right? You are "Mr. Hart"?
James T. Hart: [mumbles] Yes, my name's Hart.
Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.: You're not speaking loud enough, Mr. Hart. Will you speak up?
James T. Hart: Yes, my name's Hart.
Charles W. Kingsfield Jr.: Mr. Hart, you're still not speaking loud enough. Will you stand? Speak louder, Mr. Hart! Fill the room with your intelligence!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: The Expendables (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

THE 'LITTLE FUGUE' IN G-
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

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User Reviews

 
MISTER Hart............
5 February 2005 | by RNMortonSee all my reviews

Story of Bottoms and cohorts trying to make it through first year of Harvard Law. Of anything I ever saw this is the one movie that made me want to go to law school. It's one of those treasured movies I feel like I lived; I actually used to set my watch, sit back and smile before my exams just like my boy Timothy. Bottoms perfectly captures the feel of a smart, hip and modest kid from the sticks trying to hang tough in the pressure cooker. Houseman was a behind-the-scenes movie guy who became an overnight sensation with his portrayal of the brilliant, caustic Professor Kingsfield. Wagner is hauntingly beautiful as Bottom's elusive love interest. I don't know how someone first viewing this film today would look at it, but it still has a classic, timeless quality for me and I highly recommend it.


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