Gideon's Trumpet (1980) - Rotten Tomatoes

Gideon's Trumpet (1980)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Gideon's Trumpet Videos

Gideon's Trumpet Photos

Movie Info

In this film, Clarence Earl Gideon is a poor, ill-tempered Florida handyman who is arrested for petty larceny in 1961. Unable to afford a lawyer, Gideon is sentenced to five years in prison. His treatment by the Florida judicial system is brought to the attention of the Supreme Court.

Watch it now


Henry Fonda
as Clarence Earl Gideon
José Ferrer
as Abe Fortas
John Houseman
as Chief Justice
Sam Jaffe
as Justice No. 1
Dean Jagger
as Justice No. 6
Fay Wray
as Edna Curtis
William Prince
as Justice No. 5
Lane Smith
as Turner
Dolph Sweet
as Charlie
Ford Rainey
as 2nd Supreme Court Justice
David Sheiner
as Abe Krash
Les Lannom
as Bobby Earle
Allan Rich
as Tobias Simon
Richard Lineback
as Lester Wade
David Clennon
as James Fitzpatrick
Jerry Hardin
as Mel Cobb
Jon Locke
as Supervisor
Gary Grubbs
as Deputy Hamilton
Seamon Glass
as Prison Guard
Gwen Van Dam
as Mrs. Lawrence
Edmund H. North
as Supreme Court Justice
Don Draper
as Bailiff
Clifford A. Pellow
as Justin Pike
James Brodhead
as Court Crier
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Gideon's Trumpet

All Critics (1)

Nearly three decades since its initial broadcast, it still holds a place as a triumph of televised storytelling.

Full Review… | August 2, 2007

Audience Reviews for Gideon's Trumpet

Henry Fonda is perfectly cast in the lead surrounded by a flawless cast in a compelling story that changed American history.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Watched it for my Government class. The main character is immensely whiny and depressing. The actual story is much better.

Blair Brown
Blair Brown

Henry Fonda's second to last film casts him as the lead actor and victim of false witness in a robbery. On Golden Pond was his last movie. A true story in Florida where there was no lawyer for his defense if he could not afford it, he was forced to plea in his own defense and was as he put it "railroaded" into prison for a five year term, two of which he serves thanks to the US Supreme Court and Abe Fortas (played by Jose Ferrer, Best Actor in the 1950 Cyrano De Burgerac) who 9 to nothing decide to overturn a past ruling about lawyer representation. Shot in television format and 70s technique, Fonda's acting pulls off this movie and makes it memorable. Gideon writes to the Supreme Court and is given next to no chance to have them overturn an age old states rights ruling by the court that accused do not always have to have a lawyer in their defense. Historically, Robert Kennedy called Gideon's actions landmark, as the film points out at the end. Most of the action takes place in a court room or prison setting, so be ready for tense drama. Well done in most respects.

monsieur rick
monsieur rick

Gideon's Trumpet Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Gideon's Trumpet on our Movie forum!

News & Features