...And Justice for All.

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...And Justice for All
Justice movieposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNorman Jewison
Produced by
  • Norman Jewison
  • Patrick Palmer
Written by
Music byDave Grusin
CinematographyVictor J. Kemper
Edited byJohn F. Burnett
Columbia Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • September 15, 1979 (1979-09-15) (Toronto)
  • October 19, 1979 (1979-10-19) (United States)
Running time
119 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$4 million
Box office$33,300,000[1]

...And Justice for All is a 1979 American courtroom drama neo noir film directed by Norman Jewison and starring Al Pacino, Jack Warden and John Forsythe. Lee Strasberg, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Lahti, Craig T. Nelson and Thomas 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 yells, "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).


Arthur Kirkland, a defense attorney in Baltimore, is in jail on a contempt of court charge after punching Judge Henry T. Fleming while arguing the case of Jeff McCullaugh. McCullagh was stopped for a minor traffic offense, but then mistaken for a killer of the same name and has already spent a year and a half in jail; Fleming has repeatedly stymied Arthur's efforts to have the case reviewed. Though there is strong new evidence that Jeff is innocent, Fleming refuses his appeal due to its late submission and leaves him in prison.

Arthur starts a new case, defending Ralph Agee, arrested for a small crime and becoming a victim of the legal system.

Arthur pays regular visits to his grandfather Sam in a nursing home, who is progressively 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. Arthur has a friendly relationship with Judge Francis Rayford, who takes him on a hair-raising ride in his personal helicopter, laughing as he tests how far they can possibly go without running out of fuel, while a terrified Arthur begs him to land. Rayford, a veteran of the Korean War, is borderline suicidal and keeps a rifle in his chambers at the courthouse and an M1911 pistol in his shoulder holster at all times, and eats his lunch on the ledge outside his office window, four stories up.

One day, Arthur is unexpectedly requested to defend Judge Fleming, who has been accused of brutally assaulting and raping a young woman. As the two loathe each other, Fleming feels that having the person who publicly hates him argue his innocence will be to his advantage. Fleming blackmails Arthur with an old violation of lawyer-client confidentiality, for which Arthur will likely be disbarred if it were to come to light.

Arthur's friend and partner, Jay Porter, is also unstable. He feels guilt for gaining acquittals for defendants who were truly guilty of violent crimes, and shows up drunk at Arthur's apartment after one of his clients kills two kids after his acquittal. After a violent breakdown at the courthouse, wherein he ends up throwing plates at people, Jay is taken to a hospital. Before leaving in the ambulance, Arthur asks Warren Fresnell, another partner, to handle Ralph Agee's court hearing in his absence. Arthur gives Warren a corrected version of Ralph's probation report and stresses that it must be shown to the judge so that Ralph will get probation rather than jail time.

Unfortunately, Warren shows up late and forgets to give the judge the corrected version causing Ralph to be sentenced to jail. Arthur is livid and attacks Warren's car. When Warren argues that Ralph's trial was nothing but "nickels and dimes" and beneath him, Arthur reminds him that "they're people!" He then reveals that 30 minutes after he was sentenced, Ralph committed suicide by hanging himself. Meanwhile, Jeff, sexually and physically abused by other inmates, finally snaps and takes two hostages. Arthur pleads with him to surrender, promising to get him out, but a police sniper shoots and kills Jeff when he moves in front of a window.

A clearly disturbed Arthur takes on Fleming's case. He tries to talk the prosecuting attorney, Frank Bowers, into throwing the case out but Bowers, who recognizes the prestige that convicting a judge would earn him, refuses to back down. Arthur meets with another client, Carl, who gives him photographs that show Fleming engaged in BDSM acts with a prostitute. Gail warns him not to betray a client, revealing that the ethics committee has been keeping their eye on him ever since the contempt of court incident. He shows the pictures to Fleming, who freely admits he is guilty of the rape.

As the trial opens, Fleming, while looking at the victim, makes a casual remark to Arthur that he "wouldn't mind seeing her again sometime." Arthur's face indicates his disgust. In his opening statement, Arthur begins by mocking Bowers' case while speculating on the ultimate objective of the American legal system. He appears to be making a strong case to exonerate Fleming – but then, unexpectedly, he bursts out that the prosecution is not going to get Fleming, because he is going to get him and declares that his client is guilty. Judge Rayford yells that Arthur is "out of order," to which Arthur retorts, "You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They're out of order!" Arthur is dragged out of the courtroom, venting his rage all the way and condemning Fleming for his and the legal system's abuse of the law. As the courtroom spectators (including Gail) cheer for Arthur, Fleming sits down in defeat, and a fed-up Rayford storms out.

In the end, Arthur sits on the courthouse's steps, knowing his antics will probably cost him his career in law. An apparently cured Jay passes by and tips his wig to Arthur in greeting, leaving him sitting on the steps in disbelief.



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]


The film premiered as the closing night gala presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 15, 1979.[4]


...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 83% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 29 reviews.[5] Brian W. Fairbanks in the book The Late Show called the film's screenplay "overly contrived", despite Pacino's "trademark" phrase in the courtroom.[6] Zagat gave the film 23 of 30 possible points overall; the quality of acting a score of 26 of 30, and story and production 22 each,[7] where 20 to 25 represents "very good to excellent"; 26 to 30 "extraordinary to perfection".[8] The Empire magazine called it a "solid but slightly clichéd courtroom drama" and rated it three stars out of five.[9]

Kirkland's opening courtroom statement near the film's ending, as well as his subsequent outburst "You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They're out of order!" (often misquoted as "I'm out of order?! You're out of order! This whole courtroom is out of order!"), has been often discussed: Filmsite named the ending one of the Best Film Speeches and Monologues.[10] MSN Canada noted that the whole phrase is one of the top 10 "misquoted movie lines".[11]

The film received two Academy Award nominations. Al Pacino was nominated for Best Actor (in a lead role), and Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson were nominated for Best Original Screenplay.[12] Pacino was also nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance.[12]

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. It is also echoed in Pacino's speech in the film "Scent of a Woman".

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!"[13]

Joey Tribbiani says in Friends season 1 episode 6 "The One with the Butt": "Can you believe this? Al Pacino! This guy is the reason I became an actor. I'm out of order? You're out of order! This whole courtroom's out of order!"[citation needed]

The Character Howard Wolowitz in the American sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" does an imitation of Pacino in the season 6 episode 23 "The love Spell Potential": "You're playing 'D&D'!, You're playing 'D&D'!. This whole APARTMENT is playing 'D&D'!" [14]



  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. ^ Adilman, Sid (September 12, 1979). "Strong Opening For Toronto Festival". Variety. p. 7.
  5. ^ "Movie Reviews for ...And Justice for All". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  6. ^ Fairbanks, Brian W. (2007). "Profiles: Al Pacino". The Late Show: Writings on Film (2nd ed.). Lulu.com. p. 230. Retrieved 2013-12-13.
  7. ^ Zagat 2010, pp. 4, 37.
  8. ^ Zagat 2010, p. 4.
  9. ^ "And Justice For All". Retrieved 2013-12-13.
  10. ^ "Best Film Speeches and Monologues 1978-1979". Filmsite.org. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
  11. ^ "Top 10 most misquoted movie lines (...And Justice for All)". MSN Entertainment (Canada). June 6, 2011. Archived from the original on August 12, 2011. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  12. ^ a b "Award wins and nominations for ...And Justice for All". IMDb. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
  13. ^ 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. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-06-095252-5. LCCN 98141857. OCLC 37796735. OL 433519M.
  14. ^ Rich, Anthony (2013-05-09), The Love Spell Potential (Comedy, Romance), Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Chuck Lorre Productions, Warner Bros. Television, retrieved 2020-09-10


External links[edit]