...And Justice for All (film)

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...And Justice For All
Justice movieposter.jpg
original movie poster
Directed by Norman Jewison
Produced by Norman Jewison
Patrick J. Palmer
Written by Valerie Curtin
Barry Levinson
Starring Al Pacino
Jack Warden
John Forsythe
Lee Strasberg
Music by Dave Grusin
Cinematography Victor J. Kemper
Edited by John F. Burnett
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s)
  • June 29, 1979 (1979-06-29)
Running time 119 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $4 million
Box office $33,300,000[1]

...And Justice For All is a 1979 courtroom drama film, directed by Norman Jewison, and starring Al Pacino, Jack Warden, John Forsythe, and Lee Strasberg. Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Lahti, Craig T. Nelson, and Thomas G. Waites appear in supporting roles. The Oscar-nominated screenplay was written by Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson.

The film includes a well-known scene in which Pacino's character shouts, "You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They're out of order!" It was filmed in Baltimore, including the courthouse area. It received two Academy Award nominations: Best Leading Actor (Pacino) and Best Original Screenplay (Curtin and Levinson).

Plot[edit]

Arthur Kirkland (Al Pacino) is a defense attorney in Baltimore. As the film opens, he is in jail on a charge of contempt of court for having thrown a punch at judge Henry T. Fleming (John Forsythe) while arguing the case of an innocent defendant, Jeff McCullaugh (Thomas G. Waites), who was stopped for a minor traffic offense but then mistaken for a killer of the same name and convicted and has already spent a year and a half in jail, as Kirkland continues his efforts to have the case reviewed against Fleming's resistance. Though there is strong new evidence that Jeff is innocent, Fleming refuses McCullaugh's appeal due to a minor technicality and leaves him in prison.

Arthur takes another case, that of transgender woman Ralph Agee (Robert Christian), who is guilty of a small crime and becomes a victim of the legal system. Arthur also pays regular nursing home visits to his grandfather Sam (Lee Strasberg), who is becoming senile. It is revealed that Arthur was abandoned by his parents at a young age, and it was Sam who raised him and put him through law school. Arthur also begins a romance with a legal ethics committee member, Gail Packer (Christine Lahti).

One day, Arthur is shocked to find himself requested to defend Fleming, who to everyone's surprise has been accused of rape. The two loathe each other, but Fleming feels that everyone will believe he is innocent if the person publicly known to hate him also argues his innocence. Fleming uses blackmail, telling Kirkland an old violation of lawyer-client confidentiality will be reviewed by the ethics committee, and Arthur likely will be disbarred if he refuses to represent Fleming. Gail confirms this off the record.

An eccentric judge named Rayford (Jack Warden), who has a friendly relationship with Kirkland, takes Arthur for a hair-raising ride in his personal Bell 47 helicopter over the harbor and Fort McHenry, laughing as he tests how far they can possibly go without running out of fuel, while Arthur begs him to land the helicopter immediately. Rayford, a veteran of the Korean War, is possibly suicidal and keeps a rifle in his chambers at the courthouse, a 1911 pistol in his shoulder holster at all times and eats his lunch out on the ledge outside his window, four stories up.

Arthur's friend and partner, Jay Porter (Jeffrey Tambor), is also unstable. He feels guilt from gaining acquittals for defendants who were truly guilty of violent crimes and gets drunk and goes to Arthur's apartment when one commits another murder. After a breakdown at the courthouse, Jay is taken to a hospital accompanied by Arthur. Before leaving in the ambulance, a distracted Arthur calls Warren Fresnell (Larry Bryggman), another lawyer friend and partner to handle Ralph's court hearing in his absence. Arthur gives Warren a corrected version of Ralph's probation report and stresses that Warren must show the corrections to the judge so that Ralph will get probation rather than being sent to jail. Unfortunately, Warren forgets to appear on time, fails to show the judge the corrected report, and Ralph is sentenced to jail. Arthur is livid and attacks Warren's car with his briefcase in retaliation to get his attention. Warren argues that Ralph's trial was nothing but "nickels and dimes" and beneath him, before Arthur reminds him that "they're people". He then reveals that 30 minutes after he was sentenced, Ralph hanged himself, causing Warren to feel remorse.

His other client, Jeff, abused by fellow prisoners (including multiple rapes), snaps one day and takes two hostages. Arthur pleads with him to surrender, promising to get him out, but the police shoot and kill Jeff after he stands up, providing a shot for a police sharpshooter, as Arthur looks on in horror.

A clearly disturbed Arthur takes on Fleming's case, which Rayford and a jury will hear in court. Arthur acquires from another client, Carl, incriminating photographs that show Fleming in BDSM acts with a prostitute. Gail warns him not to betray a client. He shows the pictures to Fleming, who then freely admits that he is guilty of the rape.

Disgusted with his situation, Arthur goes to trial. Fleming makes a sleazy remark to Arthur about wanting to rape the victim again, which finally pushes Kirkland to the breaking point. In his opening statement, Arthur begins by mocking the case of the prosecuting attorney (Craig T. Nelson) while speaking of the ultimate objective of the American legal system. He appears to be making a strong case to exonerate Fleming but unexpectedly, he bursts out and says that prosecution is not going to get Fleming, because he is going to get him. Arthur tells the jury, "My client, the honorable Henry T. Fleming, should go right to fucking jail! The son of a bitch is guilty!"

Judge Rayford tells Arthur that he is "out of order" and bangs his gavel to bring the court to order. Arthur replies, "You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial's out of order!" Arthur is dragged away, continuing to shout his rage all the way out the door and to criticize Fleming for his and the legal system's abuse of law and order that cost the lives of his two clients and let true criminals like Fleming go free to commit more crimes. As the courtroom spectators (including Gail) cheer for Arthur, Fleming sits down in defeat, and a fed-up Rayford walks down from his bench.

In the end, Arthur sits on the court's steps, all by himself, weary from his breakdown, knowing that his antics will probably cost him his practice and career in law but will presumably put Fleming in jail.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was filmed in Baltimore, including the courthouse area, the Washington Monument of the Mount Vernon district, and Fort McHenry.[2] Pacino practiced the "You're out of order!" scene 26 times at the building ledge.[3]

Reception[edit]

...And Justice for All opened to critical acclaim and box office success. Produced on a modest budget of $4 million, it grossed over $33.3 million in North America,[1] making it the 24th highest grossing film of 1979. The film received mostly positive reviews from critics, earning an 84% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.[4] Brian W. Fairbanks in the book The Late Show called the film's screenplay "overly contrived", despite Pacino's "trademark" phrase in the courtroom.[5] Out of 30 points, Zagat gave the film 23 overall, acting 26, and story and production 22 each.[6] (20–25 represents "very good to excellent"; 26–30 represent "extraordinary to perfection".[7]) The Empire magazine called it a "solid but slightly clichéd courtroom drama" and rated it three stars out of five.[8]

Kirkland's opening courtroom statement in the film ending, including the whole phrase, "You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They're out of order!", has been often discussed. Filmsite named the ending one of the Best Film Speeches and Monologues.[9] MSN Canada noted that the whole phrase is one of the top 10 "misquoted movie lines".[10]

The film received two Academy Award nominations, for Best Actor in a Leading role (Pacino) and for Best Original Screenplay (Curtin and Levinson).[11] Pacino also received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance.[11]

References in popular culture[edit]

The line "You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They're out of order!" has been parodied many times in popular media.

Homer Simpson's bedroom rant to Marge in The Simpsons episode "Secrets of a Successful Marriage" is a parody mishmash of four popular films: ...And Justice for All, A Few Good Men, Patton and Chinatown. He says: "Look, Marge, you don't know what it's like. I'm the one out there every day putting his ass on the line. And I'm not out of order! You're out of order. The whole freaking system is out of order. You want the truth? You want the truth?! You can't handle the truth! 'Cause when you reach over and put your hand into a pile of goo that was your best friend's face, you'll know what to do! Forget it, Marge, it's Chinatown!"[12]

It was also used in the series Two and a Half Men (S07E01 around 5 min) by the character Alan(Jon Cryer) when trying to hide from his son Jake(Angus T. Jones) that he might have a daughter, he shouts to Jake: "You're my daughter, I'm your daughter, this whole court is out of daughter"

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Box Office Information for ...And Justice for All". The Numbers. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  2. ^ "Movies Made In Maryland". DelMarWeb. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  3. ^ Simpson, Paul (2008). "P: Al Pacino". Movie Lists: 397 Ways to Pick a DVD. Profile Books. p. 266. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  4. ^ "Movie Reviews for ...And Justice for All". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  5. ^ Fairbanks, Brian W. (2007). "Profiles: Al Pacino". The Late Show: Writings on Film (2nd ed.). Lulu.com. p. 230. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  6. ^ Zagat 2010, pp. 4, 37.
  7. ^ Zagat 2010, p. 4.
  8. ^ "And Justice For All". Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  9. ^ "Best Film Speeches and Monologues 1978-1979". Filmsite.org. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  10. ^ "Top 10 most misquoted movie lines (...And Justice for All)". MSN Entertainment (Canada). June 6, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Award wins and nominations for ...And Justice for All". IMDb. Retrieved January 28, 2012. 
  12. ^ Groening, Matt (1997). Richmond, Ray; Coffman, Antonia, eds. The Simpsons: A Complete Guide to Our Favorite Family. Created by Matt Groening; edited by Ray Richmond and Antonia Coffman. (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. ASIN 0060952520. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M.  ISBN 0-06-095252-0, 978-0-06-095252-5. p. 130.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]