Adapted by David Mamet from the novel by Barry Reed, Lumet’s masterful courtroom drama features Paul Newman in one of his greatest performances as ‘Frank Galvin,’ an alcoholic Boston ambulance-chaser who takes a seemingly open-and-shut medical malpractice case for an easy settlement. But after visiting the bedside of the comatose plaintiff, Galvin undergoes a crisis of conscience and finds himself pushing the case to trial, where he squares off against a high-end defense attorney and a politically connected judge. Nominated for five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Director, Actor (Newman), Supporting Actor (Mason) and Adapted Screenplay, the film also stars Charlotte Rampling as Newman’s alcoholic lover, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him Bruce Willis as a courtroom extra. —Film Society of Lincoln Center
Sidney Lumet (born June 25, 1924) is an American film director, with over 50 films to his name, including 12 Angry Men (1957), Serpico (1973), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Network (1976) and The Verdict (1982), all of which, except for Serpico (1973), earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Director.
According to The Encyclopedia of Hollywood, Lumet is one of the most prolific directors of the modern era making more than one movie per year on average since his directorial debut in 1957. He is especially noted for his ability to draw major actors to his projects. “Because of his visual economy, strong direction of actors, vigorous storytelling and use of the camera to accent themes,” states Turner Classic Movies. “Lumet produced a body of work that could only be defined as extraordinary.”
One of his steady themes during his career has been the “fragility of justice and the police and their corruption,” according to Thomson’s Biographical Dictionary of Film. He can deliver… read more
Paul Newman is fucking shining in "the Verdict", he's absolutely incredible.
First half: Interesting character study. Second half: Cliched Hollywood courtroom drama.
Typically, there's an artifice to courtroom dramas: they rely too much on machinations of the case to manufacture tension, much like sports movies that depend entirely on the thrill of the endgame. Here we're blessed instead with Paul Newman, whose face can reveal a change in motive without uttering a single word. Frank Galvin is the story, not the case, which makes this cinema, not Court TV.