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Movie Info

In the 1920s, Tennessee schoolteacher Bertram Cates (Dick York) is put on trial for violating the Butler Act, a state law that prohibits public school teachers from teaching evolution instead of creationism. Drawing intense national attention in the media with writer E. K. Hornbeck (Gene Kelly) reporting, two of the nation's leading lawyers go head to head: Matthew Harrison Brady (Fredric March) for the prosecution, and Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy) for the defense.

Cast & Crew

Spencer Tracy
Henry Drummond
Fredric March
Matthew Harrison Brady
Gene Kelly
E. K. Hornbeck
Florence Eldridge
Mrs. Sarah Brady
Dick York
Bertram T. Cates
Donna Anderson
Rachel Brown
Elliott Reid
Prosecutor Tom Davenport
Claude Akins
Rev. Jeremiah Brown
Noah Beery Jr.
John Stebbins
Norman Fell
WGN Chicago Radio Broadcaster
Robert E. Lee
Writer
Nedrick Young
Screenwriter
Ernest Gold
Original Music
Ernest Laszlo
Cinematographer
Show all Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Inherit the Wind

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (2)

  • Spencer Tracy does his cuddly curmudgeon turn as Clarence Darrow; it's a lazy, vague performance, but its wit provides the only crack of light in the film's somber, gray overcast.

    August 13, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Tolerably gripping in its old-fashioned way, thanks chiefly to old pro performances from Tracy and March as the rival lawyers and ideologists.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Extraordinarly vivid, rich, and wise about the core questions of how we know and who we are.

    April 4, 2003 | Rating: 5/5
  • Kramer's film speaks volumes about how fear and ignorance still drive attempts to cage liberal thought and how we must stand up against such human rights violations.

    October 29, 2020 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • There are some weak and implausible scenes but the film has warmth and excitement, and both Tracy and March are in top form.

    November 15, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It confirms Mr. Kramer as the versatile man he is, full of object lessons for the world; this time a forceful one about the right to think.

    June 18, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Spencer Tracy does his cuddly curmudgeon turn as Clarence Darrow; it's a lazy, vague performance, but its wit provides the only crack of light in the film's somber, gray overcast.

    August 13, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Tolerably gripping in its old-fashioned way, thanks chiefly to old pro performances from Tracy and March as the rival lawyers and ideologists.

    February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Extraordinarly vivid, rich, and wise about the core questions of how we know and who we are.

    April 4, 2003 | Rating: 5/5
  • Kramer's film speaks volumes about how fear and ignorance still drive attempts to cage liberal thought and how we must stand up against such human rights violations.

    October 29, 2020 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • There are some weak and implausible scenes but the film has warmth and excitement, and both Tracy and March are in top form.

    November 15, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It confirms Mr. Kramer as the versatile man he is, full of object lessons for the world; this time a forceful one about the right to think.

    June 18, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Inherit the Wind

  • Mar 26, 2016
    A immensely riveting drama with amazing dialogue, Inherit The Wind is both important in it's message as it is clever in it's execution. Heavy handed? Yes. Engaging as all hell? You betcha.
    Matthew M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 30, 2016
    This wonderfully-written film was daring for the time it came out and remains relevant in our times, as it exposes religion and bigotry as a hindrance to human thinking and impresses us with Fredric March's three-dimensional character, even though it ends with a terrible last scene.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 15, 2014
    Saw this for perhaps the fourth time, this time part of a DVD binge during a snowed in winter. Amazing how little has changed since 1925 when the "Monkey Trial" was held. I think this is the kind of thought provoking movie that is interesting to revisit at various times of your life. When I originally saw (as a kid) I had a real pro-science bias and just saw the white and black--creationists black, evolutionists white--of the argument. This time I saw much more nuance and the question that intrigued me most was: what do you stand for? If you go through life taking the safe middle--"I am not political"--or the sophomoric stance of everything is worthy of sneering contempt--at the end of the day, what are you? You have to take a definite position in life or you are just taking up space.
    Bathsheba M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 04, 2013
    Slightly creaky now, Inherit the Wind remains a great Sunday classic to curl up with. Fredric March and Spencer Tracy give it their all as competing interests in the create Scopes monkey trial. Gene Kelly has a great "commentator" role as well.
    John B Super Reviewer

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