First Monday in October (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
First Monday in October
Directed by Ronald Neame
Produced by Paul M. Heller
Martha Scott
Based on First Monday in October
by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee
Starring Walter Matthau
Jill Clayburgh
Barnard Hughes
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • August 21, 1981 (1981-08-21)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $12,480,249[1]

First Monday in October is a 1981 American film based on the play of the same name by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, and directed by Ronald Neame. Walter Matthau (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy) and Jill Clayburgh (for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy) performed the principal roles.

The cast also includes Jan Sterling in her final film role.

In her review, Janet Maslin noted several narrative discontinuities in the film, as well as the casting of James Stephens in a role very similar to his one in the television series The Paper Chase.[2]

The film was scheduled for a February 1982 release; President Ronald Reagan's appointment of Sandra Day O'Connor as the first female Supreme Court justice on July 7, 1981 forced the film's release a month after the presidential nomination.


At the start of the story, the death of Associate Justice Stanley Moorehead has created a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court. The new appointee turns out to be Ruth Loomis, a staunch conservative, who is confirmed as the first female US Supreme Court Justice. She and Associate Justice Daniel Snow, a committed liberal and many years older than Loomis, clash intellectually on just about every judicial issue before them. One case involves a pornographic film and arguments about freedom of speech. With time, the two characters develop a liking and respect for each other.


  • Walter Matthau (Associate Justice Daniel Snow)
  • Jill Clayburgh (Judge, later Associate Justice, Ruth Loomis)
  • Barnard Hughes (Chief Justice James Jefferson Crawford)
  • Jan Sterling (Christine Snow)
  • James Stephens (Mason Woods)
  • Joshua Bryant (Bill Russell)
  • Wiley Harker (Associate Justice Harold Webb)
  • F.J. O'Neil (Associate Justice Waldo Thompson)
  • Charles Lampkin (Associate Justice Josiah Clewes)
  • Lew Palter (Associate Justice Benjamin Halperin)
  • Richard McMurray (Associate Justice Richard Carey)
  • Herb Vigran (Associate Justice Ambrose Quincy)


  1. ^
  2. ^ Janet Maslin (21 August 1981). "Movie Review: First Monday in October". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 

External links[edit]