...And Justice for All (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

...And Justice for All (1979)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

...And Justice for All Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Infused with a rich mixture of biting social satire, pathos and drama, Norman Jewison's And Justice for All targets the corruption of an American justice system that has become a commodity to be purchased and sold by those wielding enough power and clout to do so. The story centers on the crusade of an impeccably principled attorney Arthur Kirkland (Al Pacino) to enact reforms in the corrupt Maryland judicial system so that he can pursue justice for his wronged clients, one of whom committed suicide while in jail and another, who was railroaded into the joint after pleading his case for a traffic violation. Naturally, his crooked colleagues shun Kirkland, but he does have one friend in the certifiably crazy Judge Rayford (Jack Warden). Kirkland gets his revenge on the legal community when he agrees to represent a black-hearted judge accused of battering and raping a woman. Actress Christine Lahti made her big-screen debut in this film.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Barry Levinson, Valerie Curtin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 16, 2001
Columbia Pictures


Al Pacino
as Arthur Kirkland
Jack Warden
as Judge Francis Rayfor...
John Forsythe
as Judge Henry T. Flemi...
Lee Strasberg
as Grandpa Sam
Jeffrey Tambor
as Jay Porter
Christine Lahti
as Gail Packer
Robert Christian
as Ralph Agee
Thomas G. Waites
as Jeff McCullaugh
Larry Bryggman
as Warren Fresnell
Craig T. Nelson
as Frank Bowers
Dominic Chianese
as Carl Travers
Victor Arnold
as Leo Fauci
Vincent Beck
as Officer Leary
Michael Gorrin
as Elderly Man
Joe Morton
as Prison Doctor
Alan North
as Deputy Sheriff
Thomas Quinn
as Desk Clerk Kiley
Charles Siebert
as Assistant District A...
Robert Symonds
as Judge Burns
Keith Andes
as Marvin Bates
Stephen Blackmore
as Robert Wenke
Jack Hollander
as Prison Warden
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for ...And Justice for All

Critic Reviews for ...And Justice for All

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (6)

Justice is seldom as deep or trenchant as it wants to be, but there's abundant pleasure to be gleaned from skating along its surfaces.

Full Review… | January 24, 2013
AV Club
Top Critic

Attempts to alternate between comedy and drama, handling neither one incompetently, but also not excelling at either task.

Full Review… | January 24, 2013
Top Critic

Aims to do for the American judicial system what All the President's Men did for the presidency, and if Jewison had only maintained the tone of the superb original screenplay, he might have succeeded.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

With the exception of Mr. Strasberg and Mr. Levene, the actors are as hysterical as their material.

Full Review… | July 25, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Here's an angry comedy crossed with an expose and held together by one of those high-voltage Al Pacino performances that's so sure of itself we hesitate to demur.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

...And Justice for All has no part in the stock trade of shock witnesses and surprising revelations. This is about how too many guilty people walk while the innocent take their places in overcrowded jails.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for ...And Justice for All

Not for all, at leas not for THE ONE who matters the most!! Clumsy way of making an attempt to expose the legal system for what it is, and displaying its effects on those concerned. But it was much realistic and wish I could have appreciated it for that.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

An over-rated legal drama centering on one lawyer's (Al Pacino) desire to take-down the legal system that is so corrupt. While this movie features a heck of a turn from Pacino (but this is always expected), as well as a phenomenal performance by the vastly under-rated Jeffrey Tambor, this film is convoluted to the max. There is just frankly way to much stuff going on packed in to a two-hour slot, topped off with an overdone Pacino speech near its conclusion that feels forced and something totally expected in a Hollywood crowd-pleasing script. A pretty bad film, and one that should have dropped one of its many side-plots and focused on only two or three of them, that way the dramatic punch it tries to swing at its conclusion would have had more weight to it.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Al Pacino (along with Robert DeNiro) was probably the greatest actor of the 1970's. Long before he became the yelling guy that found his start in Scarface and was awarded for his noise in Scent of a Woman, Pacino was an actor's actor. He ended his reign in the 1970's with ... And Justice For All, a courtroom drama that wasn't a very stellar story but overcame its problems with great acting and direction.

Arthur Kirkland (Pacino) is an idealistic defense attorney that tends to grate against the established legal hierarchy in Baltimore. He soon finds himself juggling two cases where the defendants don't really belong in jail, a suicidal judge (jack Warden), a girlfriend (Christine Lahti) who is investigating ethics issues in the courts, and the judge (John Forsythe) he hates who asks him to defend him in a rape trial. That's a ton of stuff to juggle and as the movie progresses Arthur becomes more and more disgusted by the way the law has turned into a car lot mentality. "Let's make a deal! Let's make a deal!"

The story is just so-so. There are points that feel like pure manipulation and predictability is the standard. The thing about this film is that when you dissect it into its acting and directing you get more than what the total film really is. The acting from all levels is superb with that young Pacino leading the way. he was still a king in 1979. Jewison directs the film in a way that leaves room for comedy and a little bit of tension. He makes a bland story interesting.

... And Justice For All has been shafted for years as some of Pacino's lesser work, but when you look at it from a technical standpoint and forget about the many flaws of the script you see what a precision picture this film really is. A '70's classic that closed the decade with class.

Chris Garman

Super Reviewer

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