First Monday in October (1981)





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Movie Info

Based on a Broadway play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, conservative Ruth Loomis (Jill Clayburgh) becomes the first woman to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court, much to the dismay of liberal justice Dan Snow (Walter Matthau). Oddly enough, the appointment of Sandra Day O'Connor as the first woman justice of the Supreme Court occurred the same year that First Monday in October was released.
Comedy , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Paramount Home Video

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Walter Matthau
as Dan Snow
Jill Clayburgh
as Ruth Loomis
Barnard Hughes
as Chief Justice Crawford
Jan Sterling
as Christine Snow
James Stephens
as Mason Woods
Joshua Bryant
as Bill Russell
Wiley Harker
as Justice Harold Webb
F.J. O'Neil
as Justice Waldo Thompson
Charles Lampkin
as Justice Josiah Clewes
Lew Palter
as Justice Benjamin Halperin
Richard McMurray
as Justice Richard Carey
Herb Vigran
as Justice Ambrose Quincy
Edmund Stoiber
as Committee Chairman
Noble Willingham
as Nebraska Attorney
Richard McKenzie
as Hostile Senator
James Brodhead
as Court Marshal
Ann Doran
as Storekeeper
Olive Dunbar
as Ms. Radabaugh
Hugh Gillin
as Southern Senator
James E. Brodhead
as Court Marshal
Arthur Adams
as Custodian
Sig Frohlich
as Custodian
Nick Angotti
as Plaintiff's Attorney
Jeanne Joe
as Waitress
Richard Balin
as Photographer
Martin Agronsky
as TV Commentator
Bob Sherman
as Senator
Ray Colbert
as Senator
Carol Coggin
as Attorney
Stanley Lawrence
as Court Guard
Dick Winslow
as Barber
Dudley Knight
as Assistant Manager
Edwin M. Adams
as Clergyman
Ronnie Thomas
as Firing Party Commander
Jeff Scheulen
as Ambulance Attendant
Mary Munday
as Head Nurse
Richard de Angeles
as News Producer
Jim Vanko
as Chief Ranger
Wendy E. Taylor
as Cab Driver
William G. Clark
as Cab Driver
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Critic Reviews for First Monday in October

All Critics (4)

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Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

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Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

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Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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Full Review… | June 30, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | May 25, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

Audience Reviews for First Monday in October

"First Monday in October" had all of the makings of a controversial film until the events depicted in the picture happened for real shortly before the film's release. Sandra Day O'Connor's nomination to the Supreme Court really took the wind out of this film's sails at an inopportune time. But even taken as a piece of fiction, which it is, it's a very entertaining film that is a lot less serious and dull than you might expect. This is definitely not a dry political film. The screenplay is light and lively, and the talented performers bring it to life in a fresh and funny way. Jill Clayburgh is perfectly suited for her role, smart and beautiful, and she owns the role from the first moment she appears on the screen. Even better is her veteran co-star Walter Matthau as a seasoned judge and Clayburgh's intellectual equal. His performance here shows why Matthau was widely considered to be one of the best actors of his generation. It's a pleasure watching him work, and every single relationship he has in the picture is a fascinating one. I'm not sure how accurately the film portrays the behind the scenes workings of the Court (I suspect it's not very accurate at all), but it's a very entertaining movie with a lot of sharp dialogue and witty banter. The story of Clayburgh's scandal-in-the-making involving her dead husband is somewhat muddles, but it doesn't detract from the enjoyment of watching the two leads square off. It's more than enough to carry this film through its rough spots. "First Monday in October" doesn't work very well as a history lesson, but it is very entertaining nonetheless. Sometimes that's all you can really ask a movie to be, and on that level it works.

Timothy Sanders
Timothy Sanders

This movie is blessed with an intelligent and witty script that argues both sides of the political spectrum without taking sides with either. And no one argues quite like the great curmudgeon, Walter Matthau. He and Clayburgh are terrific as the liberal and the conservative Supreme Court Justices who are constantly butting heads and accidentally solve a corporate conspiracy along the way. Recommened.

Ben Ritchie
Ben Ritchie

An uneven story and pairing of two great actors slows the pace of what is at times a funny film about the judicial system. Fans of Walter Matthau and Jill Clayburgh will be more enthralled than others. Still, funny one liners and comedic debates between the two stars will make this a fun film to watch!!!!!!!

Leo Blaschke
Leo Blaschke

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