A Civil Action - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Civil Action Reviews

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Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide's Movie Guide
November 22, 2009
This is a case in which the material really is better served in book form.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Rob Gonsalves
July 30, 2007
The movie becomes one more David-and-Goliath morality play.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Emanuel Levy
June 1, 2006
Based on a true story, this is an intelligent legal thriller, very much in the mode of 1970s issue-oriented films, that may be too subtle and complex for the damands of today's market.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic

Time Out
February 9, 2006
Delivering the verdict two thirds into the movie is anti-climactic, while Schlichtmann's belated atonement feels beside the point.
Anthony Miele
Film Threat
December 6, 2005
While Travolta is passable as Schlichtmann, it is the outstanding work from Duvall, Macy and briefly Tony Shalhoub that drive the story.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Robin Clifford
Reeling Reviews
April 9, 2005
I expected a harder hitting indictment against the uncaring power of corporate America. Instead, we get a middlin' courtroom drama that lacks the intensity of such films as the 1982 Sidney Lumet/Paul Newman film, The Verdict.
Dragan Antulov
Draxblog Movie Reviews
February 28, 2005
the film is slightly overlong and the ending is anti-cathartic.
Full Review| Original Score: 5/10
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
February 5, 2005
... hints at the complex moral issues that vein the story.
Full Review| Original Score: B
Judith Egerton
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
July 6, 2004
A legal drama that doesn't follow the usual Hollywood-John Grisham formula.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
James Sanford
Kalamazoo Gazette
July 31, 2003
neatly avoids slipping into melodrama, and despite plenty of niggling minor faults along the way the movie finally succeeds. With a more comfortably cast lead actor it could have been even more powerful.
Eugene Novikov
Film Blather
May 22, 2003
The film is so daring because it features a protagonist that we cannot and do not sympathize with.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
John R. McEwen
Film Quips Online
February 8, 2003
My only real problem is with the script.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Margaret A. McGurk
Cincinnati Enquirer
October 15, 2002
More complex, subtle, perplexing and memorable than the usual courtroom theatrics.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Marty Mapes
Movie Habit
August 21, 2002
It's not bad, but with everything else out there, I won't recommend it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Jeffrey Westhoff
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
July 2, 2002
Just when it seemed the courtroom drama was suffering a fatal case of John Grisham, A Civil Action" rescues the genre.
Full Review| Original Score: 3.5/4
Wade Major
Boxoffice Magazine
June 5, 2002
Though the plot plays largely by the numbers, Zaillian treats the material with a welcome level of maturity that manages to sustain interest even when the storyline doesn't.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice
March 3, 2002
This David versus Goliath courtroom drama has just the right mixture of legal debate and emotional vibrancy.
June 14, 2001
Well, I know a movie is not worth seeing if I can't work up the energy to write about it for two weeks.
Full Review| Original Score: 1.5
April 17, 2001
A fine script from director Steven Zaillian gives all involved plenty to chew.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
James Kendrick
Q Network Film Desk
February 27, 2001
Part of the film's problem may be in Travolta, who is never entirely convincing, and this works against a film that is trying to make the transformation of his character into its centerpiece.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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