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      Anatomy of a Murder

      Now Playing 2 hr. 40 min. Crime Drama Mystery & Thriller TRAILER for Anatomy of a Murder: Trailer 1 List
      100% 53 Reviews Tomatometer 91% 10,000+ Ratings Audience Score Semi-retired Michigan lawyer Paul Biegler (James Stewart) takes the case of Army Lt. Manion (Ben Gazzara), who murdered a local innkeeper after his wife (Lee Remick) claimed that he raped her. Over the course of an extensive trial, Biegler parries with District Attorney Lodwick (Brooks West) and out-of-town prosecutor Claude Dancer (George C. Scott) to set his client free, but his case rests on the victim's mysterious business partner (Kathryn Grant), who's hiding a dark secret. Read More Read Less Now in Theaters Now Playing Buy Tickets

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      Anatomy of a Murder

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      Anatomy of a Murder

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      Critics Consensus

      One of cinema's greatest courtroom dramas, Anatomy of a Murder is tense, thought-provoking, and brilliantly acted, with great performances from James Stewart and George C. Scott.

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      Audience Reviews

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      Nathan T As good as any courtroom drama out there. Still great and relevant. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/15/24 Full Review Jack V The beginning is a little drawn out and the movie could've been shorter for sure, but otherwise it's a perfect courtroom thriller! The courtroom scenes are all so captivating, with the two equally clever lawyers taking shots at each other non-stop. The case is fairly complex too and all the characters are well written. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 03/02/24 Full Review John E Anatomy of a Murder was directed by Otto Preminger and released in 1959. It made my must-see 2023 film list because it is often cited as being one of the best American courtroom dramas ever made. The film starts off with a jazzy upbeat score by the legendary Duke Ellington. The music's lack of intensity and drama establishes a mood that will run throughout the film. You see, this movie isn't really about who's innocent or guilty, this film is about the spinning of narratives that our legal system is predicated upon. While the viewer is firmly vested in finding out what the final verdict will be, the true story is the "sport" of the courtroom. Lieutenant Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara) is accused of murdering an innkeeper named Barney Quill. Manion had been told by his wife Laura (Lee Remick) that Quill had raped her. District Attorney Lodwick (Brooks West, the only one-note actor in an otherwise outstanding ensemble) wants to convict Manion of first-degree murder. The State of Michigan sends big-city D.A. Claude Dancer (George C. Scott in one of his earliest film roles) to assist Lodwick. Lt. Manion hires a lawyer named Paul Biegler (Jimmy Stewart) to represent him. Once Biegler accepts the challenge of Manion's case, he's determined to fight for Manion's plea of temporary insanity and for the win. Presiding over the game, oops, I mean trial, is Judge Weaver, our referee. (As an interesting side note, Judge Weaver is played by the real-life Judge Joseph N. Welch who was known by many for taking on Senator Joseph McCarthy in the Army-McCarthy hearings.) Anyone having served on a jury knows that real trials do not play out with the same speed and lack of repetition that a movie trial does. But setting that aside, this is a fascinating spectator vantage to the dual of legal machinations. Preminger doesn't make Manion a particularly likable person, so you aren't automatically rooting for him. Laura's rape is never shown so the viewer, like the jury, is left to decide if it was a real event. Most of the central characters (much like each viewer) have differing positions of what is right or wrong given the facts presented. Ethics, showmanship, sportsmanship and credibility are what this legal battle comes down to… not justice. The intensity of this case (based on actual events), through Preminger's guidance, was extremely compelling and immensely rewarding. So much so that one barely notices that the film's full run time is 160 minutes. This movie fully lived up to its reputation and deserves the accolades it still receives. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 06/20/23 Full Review Farah R Anatomy of a Murder is a gripping courtroom drama thanks to its realistic depiction of a trial and Jimmy Stewart's performance. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 05/20/23 Full Review Shioka O It's a courtroom classic, lengthy. James Stewart looks too nice for this character! Rated 3 out of 5 stars 10/01/22 Full Review Audience Member There are some truly great courtroom dramas ("Witness for the Prosecution" "The Verdict" "To Kill a Mockingbird"), but I would argue that Otto Preminger's "Anatomy of the Murder" is the best cinematic courtroom drama of all time. Jimmy Stewart plays a lawyer in a sleepy resort community in the upper peninsula of Michigan who's hired to defend serviceman Fredrick Manion (Ben Gazarra in his only second film appearance) for gunning down a local bar owner who he believes raped his wife, Laura (Lee Remick in only her fourth film appearance). There's no mystery who did the murder, but the case hinges on whether Gazarra was in his right mind at the time or was in the grips of an "irresistible impulse" at the time of the murder. "Anatomy" features an amazing cast of young actors. Stewart, Arthur O'Connell, and Eve Arden are veteran Hollywood actors of the group, and besides Gazarra and Remick you also have a young George C. Scott in his second film role and also early roles for Kathryn Grant, Orson Bean, and Murray Hamilton. Perhaps the most interesting casting is of Joseph N. Welch as the trial judge, who's best know as the real-life lead counsel for the Army in the Army-McCarthy hearings where he uttered the famous line "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" This was Welch's first and only acting role, but he's terrific. The folks behind the camera are just as impressive. Produced and directed by Hollywood veteran Otto Preminger ("Man with the Golden Arm" "Advise & Consent" "Laura"), Saul Bass ("Vertigo,"Ocean's 11" and "Goodfellas") made an ultra cool title sequence, how can you not love the knockout jazz score by Duke Ellington. Ellington even makes a cameo as "Pie-Eye" during a dancehall scene. There's a lot that sets "Anatomy" apart from other courtroom dramas. I'm no lawyer, but I've read multiple times how this film is one of the more accurate representations of courtroom proceedings, taking it's time to go through pre-trial research, interviews, and investigations, jury selection, and getting into the minutia of nitpicking objections or manipulating juries throughout the trial. It takes its time to show the court proceedings from start to finish and is almost the entirety of the film. That immersiveness is only part of what makes this film such a classic. The verbal sparing between Stewart, who plays himself up as a simple country lawyer to the jury (when he's anything but), tying fishing lures throughout the trial, setting himself up as the little guy going up against big city prosecutors, the most formidable of which is the great George C. Scott. Their back and forth are simply magic to watch. These courtroom scenes make it the kind of film where if your'e flipping channels and happen upon it, there's no way you can turn it off. And the verbal sparing is not limited to the courtroom. The dialogue between characters outside the courtroom is just as riveting, which gets at what the film is really about, how people endlessly play games with one another. There's always something beneath the surface, or an agenda, or even outright lies in just about every interaction. Sometimes it's just playing around with one another, like when Stewart plays coy about what's he has in a brown bag (it's booze) with a colleague, or Remick flirting with Steward in order manipulate him, or the more consequential moments whether Gazarra was gripped by an irresistible impulse or if he was committing pre-meditated murder. This cynical theme of "don't trust what anyone says or does at face value" is given emphasis when Stewart's Paul Biegler states, "As a lawyer, I've had to learn that people aren't just good or just bad. People are many things." This is a must see film that everyone should watch at least once. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Anatomy of a Murder

      Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - Pliant's Testimony Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - Pliant's Testimony 3:02 Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - Think of an Answer Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - Think of an Answer 2:40 Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - He Was a Wolf Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - He Was a Wolf 2:36 Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - I Beg the Court! Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - I Beg the Court! 2:28 Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - Questioning Laura Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - Questioning Laura 2:40 Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - Reason To Be Jealous Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - Reason To Be Jealous 2:00 Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - This is Not a High School Debate! Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - This is Not a High School Debate! 2:49 Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - A Felon on the Stand Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - A Felon on the Stand 2:30 Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - Panties? Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - Panties? 2:45 Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - Four Ways to Defend Murder Anatomy of a Murder: Official Clip - Four Ways to Defend Murder 3:10 View more videos
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      Critics Reviews

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      Myles Standish St. Louis Post-Dispatch Director Preminger has worked out his canvas with minute thoroughness. The film is two hours and 40 minutes long, but so absorbing is it that it seems short. Jun 23, 2021 Full Review Mae Tinee Chicago Tribune The film is lengthy, with an ending that is both enigmatic and ironic, but presented with such finesse and pace that it is guaranteed to hold your interest from start to finish. Jun 18, 2020 Full Review TIME Magazine At 160 minutes, Anatomy is longer than the subject warrants, but the pace seldom slackens -- thanks to the competence of Director Otto Preminger. Apr 24, 2009 Full Review Jet Staff Jet Magazine The questions, like the suspense, mount explosively... And even as movie-goers file out of the theater, some of the issues remain in doubt. Jan 16, 2024 Full Review Sean Axmaker Stream on Demand ... crackles as Stewart and Scott spar with witnesses and one another: the cagey country lawyer hiding his endgame behind a folksy manner versus the smart, sarcastic, thoroughly urban legal eagle who makes a show of his intelligence and showmanship. Aug 19, 2023 Full Review Alistair Lawrence Common Sense Media With no character shown to be faultless, the movie's real masterstroke is to expose the messiness of criminal trials and America's divides. Rated: 4/5 Feb 15, 2023 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Semi-retired Michigan lawyer Paul Biegler (James Stewart) takes the case of Army Lt. Manion (Ben Gazzara), who murdered a local innkeeper after his wife (Lee Remick) claimed that he raped her. Over the course of an extensive trial, Biegler parries with District Attorney Lodwick (Brooks West) and out-of-town prosecutor Claude Dancer (George C. Scott) to set his client free, but his case rests on the victim's mysterious business partner (Kathryn Grant), who's hiding a dark secret.
      Director
      Otto Preminger
      Screenwriter
      John D. Voelker, Wendell Mayes
      Distributor
      Columbia Pictures
      Production Co
      Carlyle Productions, Columbia Pictures Corporation
      Genre
      Crime, Drama, Mystery & Thriller
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Jul 1, 1959, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Apr 16, 2012
      Sound Mix
      Mono
      Aspect Ratio
      Flat (1.85:1)
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