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The Verdict (1982)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 1



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 9,463

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Movie Info

In Sidney Lumet's powerful courtroom drama The Verdict, Paul Newman stars as Frank Galvin, an alcoholic Boston lawyer who tries to redeem his personal and professional reputation by winning a difficult medical malpractice case. Frank, down on his luck, is presented with the case of his life when he is approached by the family of a woman who has been left in a coma following an operation in a large Catholic hospital. Helped by his assistant Mickey (Jack Warden), he agrees to take the case, hoping



David Mamet

Jun 4, 2002

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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All Critics (26) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (1) | DVD (19)

There are many fine performances and sensitive moral issues contained in The Verdict but somehow that isn't enough to make it the compelling film it should be.

June 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (3)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sidney Lumet's direction, like David Mamet's patchy script, may not be quite good enough to justify the Rembrandt-like cinematography of Edward Pisoni and the brooding mood of self-importance, but it's good direction nonetheless.

June 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The first courtroom drama in years to recapture the brilliance of the form.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The performances, the dialogue and the plot all work together like a rare machine.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Count me among those who think the Best Actor Oscar that Paul Newman won for "The Color of Money" was a make-up call. The groundwork was laid right here in "The Verdict," and with the equally accomplished "Absence of Malice" a year earlier.

May 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

When a movie contains names as Paul Newman, David Mamet and Sidney Lumet, it is hard not to have high hopes. Yet The Verdict meets these aspirations, and in the process presents some of the best work by these three revered figures of American cinema.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Sidney Lumet directs effectively, keeping the tension strong, and unfolding David Mamet's intelligent screenplay slowly but with maximum impact.

June 30, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Paul Newman goes into court a drunken bum and comes out a better man in this superb legal drama about a man finding redemption.

June 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Not an action flick by any means, The Verdict is a slow burn from frame one to the end.

September 9, 2007 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

A cynical and gripping courtroom drama.

February 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

David Mamet's script is a bit theatrical for courtroom drama, but it's Paul Newman's nuanced performance, and the direction of Lumet, who uses silences and pauses as eloquently as dialogue, that distinguish the picture.

October 21, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Newman gives a brilliant performance in this powerful David and Goliath tale of a sad man's quest for redemption in the face of despair. Newman, director Lumet and the film itself all should have won an Academy Award, but sadly didn't.

February 16, 2006

O.K. courtroom drama, electrified by great Newman performance

January 23, 2004
Kalamazoo Gazette

O roteirista David Mamet provou seu talento inquestionável já em seu segundo longa-metragem - e as magníficas atuações de Newman e Mason elevaram ainda mais seu trabalho.

November 25, 2003
Cinema em Cena

Overrated potboiler with preposterously innacurate courtroom scenes. But Newman is great.

June 20, 2003 | Comments (2)
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Those who can't get enough of television's Law and Order or The Practice should rediscover this minor classic, one of the best films of the early 80s.

July 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Takes a hard look at the human havoc wrought by institutional incompetence and corruption.

January 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for The Verdict

A great, and somewhat realistic portrayal of an anguished alcoholic lawyer trying to get justice and do good for once in a long while. James Mason was spectacular, but Paul Newman's performance was even more remarkable. Charlotte Rampling was the same, deadpan Charlotte Rampling you have seen elsewhere. I suppose it's nice she was in this film, but -- m'eh, coulda been anyone else.
August 13, 2013

Super Reviewer

It is always uplifting to see the underdog come out ahead. The acting is great - only the law seems an ass.
July 24, 2013

Super Reviewer

The Verdict is one of the finest courtroom dramas ever filmed, the only reason I've given it less than the full stars is that the plot has some convenient points in its last act to provide a studio imposed 'happy ending' that border on cheap.

The excellence is wall to wall, starting with a terse, brilliant script by David Mamet, a performance of passion and prefection from that great soul, star Paul Newman in autumnal late middle age, and superbly deft direction from one of the finest American directors who ever lived, Sidney Lumet. It benefits from note perfect supporting perfomances from film icon James Mason, the teddy bear like, truthful presence of the great Jack Warden, sleazy Irish Judge Milo O'Shea, and the mysterious love interest Charlotte Rampling.

The story is Newman, by fluke, getting a medical malpractice suit against a powerful law firm acting for the Catholic diocese who run the hospital where a healthy young woman is turned into a vegetable by negligent high profile doctors. James Mason exudes power and smugness as the senior partner with his usual subtlety. Newman is given the case by his colleage Jack Warden who has had enough of his friend's alcoholic negligence and wants to be done with him. Charlotte Rampling is a stunning, almost ghost like presence who offer's Frank one last chance at love in his late years.

The dreary color palette and gothic (Boston and New York pretending to be Boston) locations add to the melacholic atmosphere of broken down, end of his rope ambulance chasing lawyer Frank Galvin (Newman). Music is minimal and close ups are used very sparingly.

Galvin's need for redemption is so palpable that any human heart watching this gut wrenching performance is made to care deeply that he succeeds. Somehow, this 'need for redemption' trope, normally a hackneyed cliche, which fails in so many similar movies of the recent era is as perfectly executed here, due to Mamet's economical, unsentimental use of words (look for Galvin's haunting jury summation) and Newman's self-effacing, brave emotional nakedness.

This film grips for all of its two plus hours, and though it may look a little old fashioned to modern eyes, it is very rewarding viewing. An almost pefect film.
April 15, 2012
Josh Morris

Super Reviewer

Judge Hoyle: It seems to me, a fellow's trying to come back, he'd take the settlement, get a record for himself. I, myself. would take it and run like a thief. 
Frank Galvin: I'm sure you would. 

The Verdict is one of the best courtroom dramas you'll ever see. It's success is not on one level, but on many. Sidney Lumet was always a great director primarily because his movies never strayed from the path of the lead character. He has extreme focus on Frank Galvin in this film. Frank is an alcoholic lawyer who has only one client. She happens to be a total vegetable. Frank takes the doctors to trial even though he could have received $200,000 plus, not to. Paul Newman is as extraordinary as ever in this role. He gives a powerful and emotional performance and elevates a good movie to greatness.

The movie is all about the conflicts Frank is facing. He has a case that is going to be tough to win. On top of that, the judge is against him and his star witness is gone. Then there's another conflict that I didn't see coming and I don't feel one should know before watching the film. It seems throughout the whole movie that whenever Frank starts to make some headway something happens that pushes him back. It's his job to pull through and win this case. Not only for himself, but for the family of his client.

Unlike many courtroom films, this always was understandable and more than that, it was always engrossing. Lumet never gets too wrapped up in the ins and outs of the trial process. He always sticks to the conflicts that plague Frank. The movie has tense scenes and but also many somber scenes that succeed because of just how good Newman is. This really is a must watch.
October 3, 2011
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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