A 1982 courtroom drama film which tells the story of a down-on-his-luck alcoholic lawyer who pushes a medical malpractice case in order to improve his own situation, but discovers along the way that he is doing the right thing. Since the lawsuit involves a woman in a persistent vegetative state, the movie is cast in the shadow of the Karen Ann Quinlan case. The movie stars Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Milo O’Shea, and Lindsay Crouse.
Directed by Sidney Lumet, the film was adapted by David Mamet from the novel by Barry Reed and is not a remake of the 1946 film of the same name.
The Verdict garnered critical acclaim and box office success. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Actor in a Leading Role (Paul Newman), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (James Mason), Best Director (Sidney Lumet), Best Picture and Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (David Mamet).
The Verdict holds a 96% “Fresh” rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes. In a poll of 500 films held by Empire magazine, it was voted 254th Greatest Movie of all time. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked the screenplay #91 on its list of 101 Greatest Screenplays ever written. Richard D. Pepperman praised the scene in which Judge Hoyle eats breakfast and offers Galvin coffee as “a terrific use of objects, making for a believable judge in his personal, comfortable and suitable place, as well as a Physical Action (motion) that demonstrates the subtext of the Judge’s objective (in support of the insurance company, the doctor and their attorney) without an abundance of expository dialogue.”
Language(s):English, English (Commentary)