This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ABA Journal, so we’ve been exploring the legal and cultural history of the past century. For our annual pop culture issue, we looked for the best legal movies released in the decades since our launch in 1915. What follows is our list of the most important and influential legal movies for each decade, along with comments from some of the jurors who helped us with our picks.
To determine the ballot and make selections, jurors used criteria adapted from Professor Christine A. Corcos, who created a list of must-see movies for law students.
Jurors considered the following six elements when choosing the most important and most influential movies of the defined decades:
The film must say something important, enduring, and arguably true about law and justice.
The film should be a good piece of moviemaking: well-acted, well-directed, well-photographed.
The film should invite repeated viewing and encourage thought and study of the themes presented.
The film should be in English, primarily because of the makeup of our English-speaking audience.
Films considered are silver screen films, not “made for television” movies.
The film, even from the most recent decades, should be of the quality to stand the test of time.
Read our full August 2015 cover story package here: “Why the movies love lawyers.”
Attribution: Cover slides designed by Monica Burciaga.