The Judge (2014)


Critic Consensus: Solidly cast and beautifully filmed but thoroughly clichéd, The Judge seems destined to preside over a large jurisdiction of the basic cable afternoon-viewing circuit.


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Movie Info

In "The Judge," Robert Downey Jr. stars as big city lawyer Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town's judge (Robert Duvall), is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before. -- (C) Warner Bros.

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Robert Downey Jr.
as Hank Palmer
Robert Duvall
as Joseph Palmer
Vera Farmiga
as Samantha Powell
Vincent D'Onofrio
as Glen Palmer
Billy Bob Thornton
as Dwight Dickham
Leighton Meester
as Carla Powell
Jeremy Strong
as Dale Palmer
Dax Shepard
as C.P. Kennedy
Ken Howard
as Judge Warren
Emma Tremblay
as Lauren Palmer
Balthazar Getty
as Deputy Hanson
David Krumholtz
as Mike Kattan
Grace Zabriskie
as Mrs. Blackwell
Denis O'Hare
as Doc Morris
Sarah Lancaster
as Lisa Palmer
Lonnie Farmer
as Gus the Bailiff
Matt Riedy
as Sheriff White
Mark Kiely
as Mark Blackwell
Tamara Hickey
as Amy Palmer
Ian Nelson
as Eric Palmer
Carol S. Austin
as Young Mary Palmer
Marcus D'Angelo
as Dale (10)
Bobby Bryan
as Hank (16)
Cody Pettola
as Glen (5)
Johnny Orlando
as Glen (17)
Ras Enoch McCurdie
as Mini Mart Clerk
Ian Blackman
as Mr. Burke
John Talalas
as Chicago Sheriff Deputy
Darryl Edwards
as Judge Carter
Joel Brady
as Mr. Williams
Sarah Burns
as Pregnant Ex
Ara Glenn
as Johanson-Potential Juror #5
Ara Glenn-Johanson
as Potential Juror #5
Kate Crowley
as Potential Juror #9
Lance Norris
as Juror #8
Lenny Clarke
as Juror #10
Frank Ridley
as Jury Foreman
Duncan Putney
as Dr. Putney
Pun Bandhu
as Forsensic Scientist
Jamison Haase
as Dr. Brannamon
Lucien Spelman
as Bartender Billy
Timothy John Smith
as Both Ways Bobby
Jonathan Ziese
as Blackwell's Brother
Enn Reitel
as Mourner
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News & Interviews for The Judge

Critic Reviews for The Judge

All Critics (195) | Top Critics (41)

There are a number of fine reasons to see the courtroom-meets-family melodrama The Judge. As you might suspect, two stand out: actors Robert Duvall and Robert Downey Jr.

Oct 17, 2014 | Rating: 3/4

There are plenty of emotional fireworks in this big, soupy but entertaining picture, which is obvious Oscar bait.

Oct 16, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

A charismatic performance from Downey Jr and the growling presence of Duvall make up for a multitude of sins in this big and brash family drama .

Oct 14, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

I don't expect The Judge to usher in a new era of legal thrillers, but I'm happy to see Downey leave the Marvel universe and Baker Street behind.

Oct 11, 2014 | Rating: B | Full Review…

It wants to be many movies, and fails at being even one of them.

Oct 10, 2014 | Full Review…

This is not by any means a bad movie. The script has its bright patches, the setting is picturesque, and the cast is full of actors you'll want to see.

Oct 10, 2014 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Judge


The court and family drama is carried by two outstanding performances by RDJ and Duvall. Their chemistry and the excellent support cast make for a thoroughly entertaining film with just the right amount of humor and rural American atmosphere. Overall really well done even if the ending falls a bit short.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer


This small-town epic seems like an Oscar-bait movie, but I'm surprised it hardly caught any fish. Robert Duvall plays a venerated, hard-nosed judge who is suspected of a hit-and-run of an ex-criminal whom he put behind bars decades ago, and RDJ plays the estranged son who long ago lost respect for his father but now must put that aside to showboat-lawyer away this charge. Both turn in layered and affecting performances. It's a long-ass movie, but the family's dramatic backstory is worth the wait. Vincent D'Onofrio plays the same put-upon older brother he played in "The Break-Up," but it works, and Jeremy Strong as the mildly retarded younger brother is an endearing supporting character that provides all the others a piece of sugar in their darkest moments.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer


It's difficult to understand what the filmmakers were going for when they made this film: is it an intense familial drama about a son coming home? Is it a comedy about a sarcastic, frustrated man dealing with his overbearing father? It's tough to pin down the tone of this film, as it shifts between jokes about incest, to a scene where a son must clean off his father, who has defecated on himself. While many films have been able to blend together two separate genres and tones, this is not one of them. This film is completely haphazard in its approach to its subject matter, owing to the fact that this film only garnered a single Oscar nomination. Read more at

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


Yes, The Judge is melodramatic and somewhat formulaic, but the performances rescue it. The cast is extraordinary, as is the cinematography and music. It's not only a good courtroom drama, but the issue of chemotherapy and its complications broaden the scope and add depth. Robert Duvall is outstanding; it's good to see his Oscar nomination for this role. It's a study of small-town relationships and politics, with even the threat of incest inserted. (Pun intended) Unlike some critics, I must be small-town and formulaic myself because I liked and identified with these characters.

Clintus Maximus
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer

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