After we published 10 of the funniest lawyer-movie scenes of all time, we dug into our lawyer-movie archives and found 10 more legal-ish movie scenes that will (hopefully) make you laugh (and think) and maybe even convince you to seek out some movies you haven’t seen before. And because this article is a sequel, you’ll notice there are four movie sequels in the list.
The Dark Knight, 2008
Want to start a fight online? Declare on Twitter or Facebook that the Dark Knight, or any superhero movie, is the best superhero movie ever made. Whichever superhero movie holds your #1 spot, it’s hard to dispute that this scene showing one of Bruce Wayne’s attorneys who has discovered his secret identity and wants to use that knowledge to get rich is the funniest scene involving a lawyer attempting to blackmail a superhero in cinematic history.
The Rainmaker, 1997
Got to get more Grisham in your life? Danny DeVito shows hopelessly embarrassed/shocked new attorney Matt Damon how to hustle up personal injury clients in a hospital. Ethical? Not at all. Does it happen? Hopefully not much, but it isn’t hard to see some truth in this clip.
Ghostbusters 2, 1989
Although seen as a weaker second act to the 1984 original, Ghostbusters 2 still did well at the world-wide box office and it’s generally entertaining. There are two notable courtroom scenes in the film, one featuring a couple of formerly death-row ghosts coming back to take vengeance on their sentencing judge (saved, of course by the Ghostbusters). But this much more subtle scene demonstrates a textbook version of how not to lead a witness.
Catch Me if You Can, 2002
This movie was largely inspired by the true story of Frank Abignale, a real-life gifted liar who took on the roles of doctor and airline pilot along with faking his way into practicing law. Catch Me if You Can was an entertaining and very successful Speilberg film. This scene shows how a young, fake lawyer might proceed in court after watching Perry Mason as his only real form of legal education.
Ted 2, 2015
Think television doesn’t leave a lasting impression on the American public’s perception of the legal system? Watch Ted 2, which features a stoner/loser (Mark Wahlberg) and his real-life speaking, living teddy bear from his youth (you’ll have to watch the more entertaining prequel Ted if you want the origin story). In this scene, we see the effects of the non-stop availability of Law and Order and its various spawn on the TV-watching community.
Caddyshack II, 1988
Although the original Caddyshack might feature the single funniest line ever uttered from a judge in a movie (I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn’t want to do it … felt I … owed it to them. Judge Elihu Smails), Caddyshack II has Randy Quaid. Should you watch all of Caddyshack II? No. You really shouldn’t. It’s a vastly inferior sequel only buoyed by the genius tapped into by Randy Quaid prior to his well-publicized, real-life antics. Not sure what acting method Quaid employed to create this on-screen lawyer, but if you’re looking for alternative negotiation methods, here’s one that you probably haven’t tried (or if you have, you’re disbarred by now).
Erin Brockovich, 2000
You want a higher class of movie than Caddyshack II? Fine. Julia Roberts won an Oscar for her portrayal of Erin Brockovich. There’s a fun mic-drop deserving scene that has undoubtedly inspired some real-life negotiations. Roberts effectively proves that she is not boxed into a lifetime of romantic comedy roles.
The Lincoln Lawyer, 2011
Historians will undoubtedly argue about the exact turning point that started the McConaissance that we’re all lucky enough to be living through. The smart money is on the Lincoln Lawyer being the key move that launched the new Matthew McConaughey career trajectory after a series of rom-coms like Fools Gold, The Wedding Planner, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Just like in The Rainmaker, we see an ethically questionable move here by a lawyer tacitly endorsed by a judge, but at least it’s acted deftly.
Defending Your Life, 1991
Comedic genius Albert Brooks decided to take on the subject of the afterlife in this unique approach to what happens once you die. His premise: we all face a trial after we pass away. The verdict hinges on whether we lived our lives in fear. Basically, conquering fear on Earth means that you get to graduate to what’s next. This scene shows Brooks meeting his afterlife lawyer, played brilliantly by Rip Torn. The samples of Brooks’ life that we see are funny and eminently relatable. If you’ve never seen this movie, give it a shot. If you require acting chops in your Netflix queue, Meryl Streep is the love interest in this gem.
This Rip Van Winlkish film features America set 500 years in the future. But America hasn’t improved. Instead, it’s devolved into a country where generations have gotten increasingly dumber. 20th Century Fox all but abandoned the movie, opening it to a mere 130 screens, versus the typically minimum 600 or so that most big-studio movies get. They also refused to promote it, despite the fact that it was Mike Judge’s follow-up to his wonderfully satirical Office Space.
All kinds of theories abound as to why the studio buried the film. Most likely, it’s the fact that none of the ‘future’ companies featured in the film (Costco, Starbucks, Fuddruckers, Carl’s Jr.) are portrayed flatteringly.
So even though almost nobody saw the movie at a first-run theater, it’s taken on a cult status as a dystopian premonition of where America might be headed. Here, we see an example of this future in a ‘trial,’ which resembles a modern trial insofar as there is a judge, defendant, two attorneys and a gavel. Other than that, not so much.