One of the most popular settings in cinema, the courtroom has provided some of the most stirring and emotional moments ever put to film. Covering all kinds of crimes and injustices, the battle for protecting the innocent has made for some very compelling movies. In the 1990s, there were many landmark films that still have influence now. Today’s Here’s 5 are classic 90s courtroom movie moments.
When a 10-year-old girl is raped by two white men in Mississippi, her enraged father (Samuel L. Jackson) takes justice into his own hands and murders them. In the subsequent trial, he is defended by young and inexperienced Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey), a white lawyer, who comes to learn about himself. His closing remarks are some of the most memorable words in the courtroom genre.
My Cousin Vinny (1992)
A couple of New York college boys (Ralph Macchio, Mitchell Whitfield) end up in the deep south, accused of murder and call in cousin Vinny (Jow Pesci), a new attorney with zero experience. Tagging along is Vinny's fiancée Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei), who just happens to know a thing or two about cars, which proves to be very useful in the case against the "two yutes."
Primal Fear (1996)
After a highly influential Chicago Archbishop is horrificly murdered and his own alter boy is accused of the crime, press-hound lawyer Martin Vail (Richard Gere) jumps at the chance. But young, innocent, and stammering Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton) isn't exactly who he seems to be, and on the stand, pressed by attorney Janet Venable (Laura Linney), she gets to meet "Roy."
Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)
When a local fisherman is presumed murdered by a stoic Japanese-American (Rick Yune) man in the years right after World War II, recent prejudices and old wounds resurface, leading to a lengthy and moving trial that sees the defendant's lawyer, an elderly man named Nels Gudmundsson (Max von Sydow) render a stirring speech about what it means to be an American, and a human being. Greatest. Courtroom. Moment. Ever.
A Few Good Men (1992)
And now to the granddaddy of all courtroom moments, when Guantanamo Bay Naval Base base commander Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson) takes the stand in the trial of two marines accused of killing another under a secret, unpublished military rule called Code Red. Say it with us now, "You can't handle the truth." Classic.