Hot Coffee (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hot Coffee (2011)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Seinfeld mocked it. Letterman ranked it in his top ten list. And more than fifteen years later, its infamy continues. Everyone knows the McDonald's coffee case. It has been routinely cited as an example of how citizens have taken advantage of America's legal system, but is that a fair rendition of the facts? Hot Coffee reveals what really happened to Stella Liebeck, the Albuquerque woman who spilled coffee on herself and sued McDonald's, while exploring how and why the case garnered so much media attention, who funded the effort and to what end. After seeing this film, you will decide who really profited from spilling hot coffee. -- (C) Official Sitemore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 1, 2011
HBO Docs - Official Site

News & Interviews for Hot Coffee

Critic Reviews for Hot Coffee

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | February 1, 2011
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 27, 2011
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Everyone knows about the woman who spilled coffee on herself and won a $3 million judgment against McDonalds, but it turns out that most of what everyone knows about this case is wrong.

Full Review… | October 5, 2012

Everyone knows about the woman who spilled coffee on herself and won a $3 million judgment against McDonalds, but it turns out that most of what everyone knows about this case is wrong.

Full Review… | April 12, 2012

provides a journey through a legal system that is incrementally being subsumed by corporate interests on a daily basis.

Full Review… | February 3, 2011

Full Review… | June 29, 2011
Film School Rejects

Audience Reviews for Hot Coffee


Quite informative and interesting. It shows plainly how the public has often been deceived into distrust of the judicial system and how politicians' "fixes" to the system have resulted in injustice to the populace.

Christian C

Super Reviewer

We've all heard about the case of a woman suing McDonald's for millions of dollars because she spilled coffee on herself. How much do you really know about it? Well apparently I didn't know much about it, and how severely burned the woman was(it shows pictures). This is a documentary that uses that case, along with 3 other cases, to shine a light on tort reform and the judicial system here in America. It's VERY eye opening. I learned quite a bit, and honestly it's a little scary to see how things really work. Like a woman who was raped while working for Halliburton, can't take them to court because of mandatory arbitration. There is a really sad case about a family who had twins, and a doctor messed up a diagnosis causing one of the twins to be brain damaged. Seeing what this family goes through and their struggles with the judicial system of Nebraska is almost unbelievable. The movie obviously has a political agenda, but one that I think more people should open their eyes to. Everyone should check this out sometime.

Everett Johnson
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer


So, you have probably heard the story about the woman who won a multi-million dollar court case because she spilled coffee on herself at McDonald's, and perhaps had a good laugh at it. Except it is no laughing matter when it happened to 79-year old Stella Liebeck, who almost died due to the severe burns, as evidenced by some very graphic photographs. And she was one of seven hundred such complaints that would lead McDonald's to lower the temperature of their coffee.

That same case would also turn out to be the prime example that the Tort Reform movement would use in calling for the elimination of so called frivolous lawsuits and reduction of court damages. What they are really interested in is corporate profits, and even go so far as to fix the game by funding the election of amenable judges.

To the credit of the documentary "Hot Coffee," it is not only interested in showing that there are two sides to every story but to also show why the civil court system is so necessary in allowing for citizens to seek redress, address wrongs and prevent future tragedies. What the film does so well is to put a very human face on these cases by also citing a neo-natal malpractice case and a young woman who was gang raped while working for Halliburton in Iraq. And now I have a newfound respect for Al Franken.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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