The Paper Chase - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Paper Chase Reviews

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February 2, 2019
The best inspiring movie ever made!
July 27, 2018
Not incredibly rewatchable--dry. Well-written and -acted. Great message for ALL students of modern education. A highly recommendable watch for high schoolers and college freshmen.
October 16, 2017
John Houseman gives a tremendous performance as a law school professor who is at times forbidding, aloof, humourous, cruel, and collegial in this campus film about the pressure cooker that is Harvard Law School. It's autumnal, academic, and wintry with great music from John Williams.
½ June 4, 2017
Wonderful performances. A film about the learning process, critical thinking skills, relationships and the growing up one does during college years. And I don't agree with some of the comments about the end being 'odd'. The end is a perfect culmination of what the main character has been building up to. Confidence in his academic abilities and readiness for MORE challenges in the coming year.
April 4, 2017
"The Paper Chase" has a sharp script with plenty of smart dialogue, but what stood out most to me about this college years drama was the impenetrable supporting performance by John Houseman.
February 23, 2017
Saw it in theater when came out. Has a special place in my romantic memory, because of associations, who i saw it with, etc.but i don't recall that it was itself so good.
John Houseman was classic. He 'earrrnnnnnd it'.
Lindsay Wagner was hot, and was so long after this.

There were several similar movies in the late 60s, early 70s. Very evocative of a young love. 'Love Story' was notorious. 'Goodbye, Columbus' was another one.
September 22, 2016
Want to know how law school is? Well here you go.
August 18, 2016
An intelligent romantic drama, THE PAPER CHASE is worth seeing just for the brilliant John Houseman performance. I enjoyed it.
July 9, 2016
A really good film about law school, but in reality it's more of a film about life than being a 1L at Harvard Law. The film essentially ends up being about one person's admiration for another. In this case, the film is about the respect that Hart has for his Contracts professor. I could really relate to the film, because I went to law school in Massachusetts. The film also analyzes very well the ruthlessness of first year law school & how people are out for themselves & how romantic relationships usually don't work in the 1st year. Grades to a certain degree are luck. The film was edgy for its times & still is a classic today. All lawyer "wannabees" & 1st year law students should see it. A much better film than "Legally Blonde" in my view.
May 23, 2016
a love story (with The Bionic Woman, no less) set at Harvard in the 1970s you think would have aged better than this. But John Housman is still beautiful.
March 21, 2016
Mildly interesting.

The trials and tribulations of a group of first year students at
Harvard Law School. Focuses on one student in particular, James Hart
(played by Timothy Bottoms). He immediately finds himself out of his
depth, particularly in Contract Law where the teacher is a
curmudgeonly, stern man who has taught the subject for 40 years,
Professor Kingsfield (John Houseman). However, through hard work he
starts to cope. Then he starts a relationship with Susan (Lindsay
Wagner) and it is soon apparent that he may have to choose between her
and passing his courses. To make matters worse, she's the professor's

Reasonably interesting. The slog that is University life, especially in
a tough course in an incredibly prestigious institution, is well shown.
Also well examined are the effects of the pressures on students, and
how some manage to cope and even thrive, and some not.

However, the story is quite dry. Never really becomes compelling or
truly engaging. Feels clumsy at times. The romantic side is quite dull
and some sub-plots go nowhere.

Performances are mostly quite solid, especially in the main roles. John
Houseman got a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as
Professor Kingsfield.

The movie spawned a TV series which ran from 1978 to 1986.
½ September 7, 2015
Harvard law student unknowingly dates gruelling professor's daughter. Favourite character has to be Bell from the study group. He condensed his portion of law study to a mere 800 pages (!!!), and arrogantly threatens to withhold it from the others. He will likely never write a law book for Coles Notes. Always thought the SCTV skit of John Houseman reading the phone book was a gem and you can see why after watching him lecture.
August 20, 2015
Except for the performance of the professor, the rest of the story - including the romance and the study group - is rather crude and crassly aggressive.
½ June 14, 2015
Struggles of first-year Harvard law student and his obsession with his dynamic Contract Law Professor. A good film most notable for John Houseman's dominating performance, which won an Academy Award. Later became a tv series with Houseman reprising his role.
June 4, 2015
Almost forgot about this movie.
Super Reviewer
March 14, 2015
The Paper Chase is considered to be a classic, but not because it's a good movie, but rather because of the performance of one man, John Houseman. His Academy Award winning portrayal lead to the films reputation and even spawned a successful television series, however similar to Dead Poet's Society, this film is revered for just one performance. The Paper Chase takes place during freshman year at Harvard Law School, where the students meet Professor Kingsfield (John Houseman), a throwback to when school was hard and degrees had to be earned. Kingsfield relishes in his reputation as the toughest Professor on campus, and his students have no idea what they're in for. Timothy Bottoms stars and really is one of the big problems with this film. He's the student who had to work harder than the rest just to get there, and wants nothing more than to become Kingsfield's favorite, but he's an asshole. How are viewers expected to get behind and root for someone who is so selfish and vile? As for his counterpart, John Houseman, he really was terrific and earned every bit of credit he has received for his performance. Without Houseman's portrayal of Professor Kingsfield, this film would have been quickly forgotten about, forty years ago, but it was the kind of performance that makes a career and carries a film, something that will never be forgotten. From the stand point of a moviegoer, the film is slow and boring, with a leading character I couldn't stand, but as a fan of film, I can't help but be impressed by John Houseman and recommend that his amazing performance be seen by the fans of today.
February 5, 2015
John houseman
Portrayal of law school life, classroom

Worst part- personal lives
½ December 15, 2014
You can see why they made a TV show after this film proved successful. John Houseman (previously Orson Welles' producer) created a truly indelible impression as the imperious law professor Kingsfield, using the Socratic method to scare Harvard students into studying (and also to challenge their minds, of course). Timothy Bottoms is excellent as the dude-like but fully serious student dating Houseman's daughter (Lindsay Wagner; later known as the Bionic Woman). The setting (the wood-panelled ivory tower) and the set-up (students cracking under the pressure but also coming of age) lure the viewer in and although the plot doesn't manage to sustain this energy and interest all the way through, in shorter increments it could be great. However, I can't quite remember any of the TV episodes (all I get is a woozy nostalgic feeling).
September 21, 2014
Seemingly faithful to its source, this is a sophisticated piece of work - and view of college with inspiration - backed-up with both Houseman's award-winning performance as the tough professor and Bottoms's as the inspired follower fighting the fatigue of a dropout. (A-)

(Full review coming soon)
½ September 15, 2014
The movie that spawned a fantastic TV series. John is perfect in this role. Great story with thoughtful elements. Do not expect quick entertainment here.
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