Just Cause (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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The novel by John Katzenbach becomes this legal thriller starring Sean Connery as Harvard Law School professor Paul Armstrong. A legal expert whose days of trying cases are long behind him, Armstrong is moved by a plea he receives from a Florida death row inmate, Bobby Earl (Blair Underwood). It seems that the educated, upstanding Earl has been railroaded by an overeager sheriff (Laurence Fishburne) zealously trying to solve the kidnapping and murder of a little girl. Once Armstrong arrives in Florida, he is able to locate the murder weapon and cast doubt on Earl's innocence, even identifying a much more likely culprit in the homicidal genius Blair Sullivan (Ed Harris). All is not as it seems in the case of Bobby Earl, however, and Armstrong is going to end up regretting his interest in the case. Ruby Dee, Kate Capshaw, and Ned Beatty costar in this film from producer-turned-director Arne Glimcher. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Home Video

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Sean Connery
as Paul Armstrong
Laurence Fishburne
as Tanny Brown
Kate Capshaw
as Laurie Armstrong
Blair Underwood
as Bobby Earl
Ed Harris
as Blair Sullivan
Ruby Dee
as Evangeline
Ned Beatty
as McNair
Liz Torres
as Delores
Lynne Thigpen
as Ida Conklin
Victor Slezak
as Sergeant Rogers
Hope Lange
as Libby Prentiss
Kevin McCarthy
as Phil Prestiss
Ida Conklin
as Dolores
Chris Sarandon
as Lyle Morgan
George Plimpton
as Elder Philips
Brooke Alderson
as Dr. Doliveau
Vitamin C
as Prosecutor
Barbara Jean Kane
as Joanie Shriver
Patrick Maycock
as Kid Washing Car
Jordan F. Vaughn
as Kid Washing Car
Francisco Paz
as Concierge
Marie Hyman
as Clerk
S. Bruce Wilson
as Party Guest
Erik Stephan
as Student
Melanie Hughes
as Receptionist
Megan Meinardus
as Slumber Party Girl
Melissa Hood-Julien
as Slumber Party Girl
Jenna Del Buono
as Slumber Party Girl
Ashley Popelka
as Slumber Party Girl
Marisa Perry
as Slumber Party Girl
Augusta Lundsgaard
as Slumber Party Girl
Connie Lee Brown
as Prison Guard
Clarence Lark III
as Prison Guard
Marie St. James
as Prisoner
Shareef Malnik
as Prisoner
Tony Bolano
as Prisoner
Angele Maldonade
as Prisoner
Fausto Rodriguez
as Prisoner
Karen Leeds
as Reporter
Dan Romero
as Reporter
Satcie A. Zinn
as Reporter
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Critic Reviews for Just Cause

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (9)

In Connery it has a hero who is inescapably appealing.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Despite its merits, the script fails to escape the silly season that fouls up so many thrillers, that time when the twists merely seem like the narrative equivalents of those violin shrieks on a cheesy score.

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

It doesn't bog down in the bogs, but it's slow-moving just about everyplace else.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

It's brutal, horribly manipulative, and we've seen this stuff before in better pictures.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

The longer you stay with it, the more routine and uninspired it seems -- not to mention cowardly.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

There is no psychological depth, no real motivation, no human values to weigh, just characters jerked here and there like puppets in an arbitrary plot.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Just Cause


Go to any Walgreens across the nation and every month there's a new collection of mystery thrillers, usually by the same collection of authors, who churn out books like hamburgers: this film plays like those books read. A great cast and superior production values can't hide a factory produced script.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Buried deep in the Florida Everglades is a secret that can save an innocent man or let a killer kill again. Good movie. The movie didn't really surprise me that much and I have seen better but still I thought it was well made. It really seem like Sean Connery nail his part and Laurence Fishburne did allright too as a supporting actor. The year is 1986. In Ochopee, Florida, 11-year-old Joanie Shriver is kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Bobby Earl Ferguson is arrested by officers Tanny Brown and J. T. Wilcox, who proceed to beat Bobby into confessing to the murder. Bobby is placed on trial, where Bobby's defense attorney McNair puts up a lousy defense for Bobby, and Bobby is sentenced to be executed. Now, eight years later, Bobby hands a letter to his grandmother Evangeline and asks Evangeline to go to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to hire Harvard law professor Paul Armstrong to clear Bobby's name. At Harvard, Paul is attacking capital punishment in a campus debate, when Evangeline arrives and hands the letter to Paul. Paul goes home, where his wife Laurie is throwing a birthday party for their young daughter Katey. Laurie reads the letter and she encourages Paul to take the case, even though he hasn't practiced law in 25 years. Paul, Laurie, and Katey head to Florida, where Paul meets Bobby in the prison. Bobby tells Paul his side of the story and what Tanny and Wilcox did. Paul begins to believe that Bobby was railroaded. Bobby tells Paul to speak to Blair Sullivan, a man who is also on death row. Blair gives Paul some clues that could prove Bobby's innocence and Blair's own guilt. But in the process of trying to clear Bobby, Paul learns some disturbing truths about Bobby, putting Paul and his family in a fight for their lives.

Manu Gino
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer


Damn it, this was like "To Kill A Mockingbird" with the most predictable and silliest twisted ending. (Oops! I hope that ain't a spoiler. And if it is, I can only hope that you're not intelligent enough to predict it. But even a kid can tell that 2 + 2 = 4, and you don't need to be a genius for that. Anyway, if it did work as a spoiler for you, and thereby reduced the movie's entertainment value for you, I honestly plead your pardon.) But that wasn't good enough for them. So they put the characters through car chasing scenes followed by a fight. The fighting sequence only made it worse. Exactly as predicted, the character who is supposedly shot dead, returns in a typical filmy way at the nick of time to beat the villain. I was expecting some unique and interesting courtroom drama, but I guess I was asking for too much. This movie was a big time disappointment for me. And if you haven't seen this movie as yet, I hope I've provided enough just causes that will lead you to the conclusion that you better avoid this Just Cause. P.S.: The face of the sweet, young girl playing Katie Armstrong looked familiar, but I'd no idea whatsoever that it was Scarlett Johansson until I found it in the credits.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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