Anatomy of a Murder - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Anatomy of a Murder Reviews

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½ June 18, 2017
Before actually watching the film, I thought that the legendary Matser of Suspense, Alfred Hitchock, had directed it, because it stars James Stewart and because it's an amazing mystery/drama, I thought that, this being a old courtroom film, with not a lot of action, that it was maybe going to be a little long, but no, I never wanted this movie to end, it's so captivating, entertaining and I definitely nominate it for one of the best movies ever made. Recommended !!
½ April 25, 2017
No surprise evidence, witnesses breaking down or dangerous snooping. This an actual trial, with actual people and actual development.
April 22, 2017
Paul Biegler (James Stewart) is a small-town lawyer. He was once the District Attorney of the area but, after 10 years in the job, lost the role in an election. Feeling betrayed by his community, he has his own legal practice but hardly tends to it, preferring to go fishing. Now he gets a huge case - an army Lieutenant has apparently murdered another man after that man allegedly raped his wife. The case will require every ounce of Biegler's cunning, experience and courtroom theatrical ability, especially when the prosecution bring in a famed hotshot attorney from the state's capital.

Brilliant - the greatest courtroom drama film ever made. The only similar movies that come close are To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) and Witness For The Prosecution (1957) and though while these have other great qualities neither matches Anatomy of a Murder for sheer courtroom realism and tension. (The TV mini series The Night Of also deserves a mention, I might add).

Directed by Otto Preminger (Laura, Exodus, The Man With The Golden Arm, In Harm's Way, among others), the movie holds your attention for every second of its 160-minute duration. Engaging, watertight plot with some clever legal twists and turns. Very realistic and edifying look into the justice system.

Add to this Preminger's superb direction. One of the reasons you can't look away is that Preminger wrings the maximum out of every scene and shot - great use of actor's body language and subtle little things that help the plot, mood and intrigue.

Completing it all is the nagging feeling that you aren't sure whether the accused is guilty or not. There's no good guys vs bad guys, just prosecution vs defense (like in real life). It's this ambiguity and mystery that make the movie so gritty and utterly compelling.

Anatomy of a Murder was nominated for seven Oscars in 1960, including for Best Picture, but won none. 1960 was the year of Ben Hur.
March 14, 2017
Jimmy Stewart at his country lawyer best. Tying flies as he defends a murderer. Interesting study of the legal system thirty five years before "The People vs OJ Simpson".
March 8, 2017
I think that the reason Anatomy of a Murder was so popular back in the day is because it was scandalous. Today, however, it doesn't seem different than many of the court procedurals on television. Jimmy Stewart is likeable as always, and the rest of the cast does a good job supporting him, but this is just an average movie with a somewhat unsatisfying ending.
January 26, 2017
One of the best James Stewart movies with Rear window Vertigo, the Man Who Knew Too Much, It's a Wonderful Life and The Philadelphia Story. The case is so well held in court that you are aiming for a final twist. Definitely a must see.
December 4, 2016
One way that the movies competed with TV was to offer content that couldn't be shown on the small screen. Preminger's courtroom drama is a case-in-point. By dealing with rape and the subsequent revenge murder in detail, the cast is able to use descriptive details and words such as sperm or panties that would be too much for younger (or conservative) viewers at home. Jimmy Stewart is the "humble country lawyer" who is craftier than he looks and may or may not be allowing sullen Ben Gazzara to use the temporary insanity defense to excuse his shooting of the man who raped his wife, Lee Remick. Remick plays the flirt well and allows the film to explore the question of victim-blame - although rather than suggest that she brought it on herself, the script implies that there wasn't a rape at all but rather consensual sex which led Gazzara to fly into a jealous rage. But was he insane at the time? George C. Scott plays the slick prosecuting attorney brought up from Lansing (to the Upper Peninsula where the film takes place) to combat Stewart. What results is a suspenseful drama with a few surprises and some panache (particularly in the context of 1959) from all concerned. Eve Arden and Arthur O'Connell are solid in supporting roles (on Stewart's team) but this is Stewart's show and he doesn't disappoint (but he doesn't push himself into darker territory like he would in Vertigo or the westerns he filmed with Anthony Mann). But the ending does make you think.
November 8, 2016
One of the most realistic and detailed movies about a court trial. I also liked that it had that noir atmosphere. However the editing could've been better. The end was barely satisfying and some parts in the middle seemed to drag. A very smart script and good performances esp by stuart and the other main lawyer. It was quite exciting watching those two go at it in the courtroom. The story was also pretty exciting and you find yourself wondering what really happened with both defendants not being very likable, although i think the jury got it right in the end.
½ October 18, 2016
One of the greatest courtroom dramas ever made. It was an extremely modern and daring film in it's day. The jazz score and Saul Bass title sequence were the epitome of cool. It flirts with topicality by casting Joseph Welch as the judge. The very detailed and explicit discussion of rape was boundary pushing. Even as all that fades with time, the detailed courtroom procedural is still gripping, and the fact that it doesn't let you completely in on everyone's motives means you're not completely sure where it might go at any time. Stewart is a perfectly cast lead. George C. Scott almost outshines him in his film debut.
½ September 11, 2016
Tedious and boring, might have been cutting edge in 1959. The only interesting thing about this movie was seeing how much more liberal we have become in society.
July 25, 2016
Otto Preminger was a director more persistent on performances than cinematography, or so I think. Anatomy of A Murder is the ultimate expression of this. The performances from Jimmy Stewart and George C. Scott (especially) are absolutely brilliant. For a film nearly 3 hours in length, Anatomy of A Murder is BRISK.

Side note: Oh, and a little tidbit: as a critic who notices the little things more than the big things, a man can be seen reading Leon Uris's Exodus. Exodus was Otto Preminger's next movie.
½ April 9, 2016
A controlled, detailed, though long telling of a mature subject that makes one brace for impact at any turn.
½ February 15, 2016
Riveting and humane, this is a high-tension courtroom drama and a mystery tale wrapped together. Modern directors would do well to imitate Preminger's respect for his audience in presenting different sides of a story and in leaving some questions unanswered. Brilliant !
December 30, 2015
I don't even like courtroom dramas OR Jimmy Stewart, but this movie was amazing. Bonus cameo by Sir Duke.
December 12, 2015
A remarkably witty and entertaining courtroom drama that features amazing performances from James Stewart and the rest of the cast.
November 26, 2015
TWO THUMBS UP
Viewed this on 26/11/15
A riveting masterpiece and one of the best courtroom dramas ever made and it reminds me why I love the genre so much. It's got flawless direction from Otto Preminger, a superb script with characters in a mystery that won't let you grab a hold of them, thus making it layered and unpredictable. James Stewart gives another fantastic performance and in a role that suits his age and he is equally complemented by two lawyers at his opposition played by George C Scott and Douglas Brooks West and although the latter may seem like a clown in the bunch, his acting is spontaneous and flawless. The film starts off in a very routine and average manner,that too purposefully and when the court room scenes arrive, it just mounts tension upon tension. Actress Lee Remick must also be given praise for her performance.
October 30, 2015
One of James Stewart's greatest performances.
October 19, 2015
A courtroom drama with the blunt verbal duel between lawyers Biegler and Dancer (James Srewart and George C. Scott). Lee Remick as Litenuant Manion's wife is sensuality itself.
½ September 2, 2015
A good courtroom drama. But where it really gets you is the vagueness of justice. Here is a man convicted of retributive murder after his wife was raped, you feel bad for him, but yet something is off since he beats his wife. So what is right is never cut and dry. It is nothing profound especially where the result has implications on truth, but it does entertain with its good acting, writing, directing and score (Duke Ellington).

Stewart is a good touch stone for the movie as the lawyer. At first he seems washed up with drinking, girls and his cynicism, but then he changes to all seriousness when there is a chance to save a man from jail. He is supported by a strong cast, a beautiful Remick, Scott as the big lawyer, Welch as the unusual judge, O'Connell as the need to sober up assistant and the bartender whose name I do not recall.

Another review needed to be rewritten thanks to flixster messing up!
½ August 31, 2015
great film fm a hugh book
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