The Trial of the Chicago 7

2020, History/Drama, 2h 9m

331 Reviews 2,500+ Ratings

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critics consensus

An actors' showcase enlivened by its topical fact-based story, The Trial of the Chicago 7 plays squarely -- and compellingly -- to Aaron Sorkin's strengths. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In 1969, seven people were charged by the federal government with conspiracy and more, arising from the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Cast & Crew

Alex Sharp
Rennie Davis
Jeremy Strong
Jerry Rubin
John Carroll Lynch
David Dellinger
Mark Rylance
William Kunstler
Ben Shenkman
Leonard Weinglass
Frank Langella
Julius Hoffman
Noah Robbins
Lee Weiner
Danny Flaherty
John Froines
John Doman
John Mitchell
Michael Keaton
Ramsey Clark
Aaron Sorkin
Screenwriter
Jared Underwood
Executive Producer
Slava Vladimirov
Executive Producer
Marc Butan
Executive Producer
Dru Davis
Executive Producer
Maurice Fadida
Executive Producer
Mickey Gooch Jr.
Executive Producer
Phedon Papamichael
Cinematographer
Daniel Pemberton
Original Music
Shane Valentino
Production Design
Nick Francone
Art Director
Andrew Baseman
Set Decoration
Susan Lyall
Costume Designer
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Critic Reviews for The Trial of the Chicago 7

Audience Reviews for The Trial of the Chicago 7

  • May 02, 2021
    The timing of this film is beyond prescient. The scenes of the protests and the infuriating treatment of Bobby Seale during the trial gets the blood boiling and brings back fresh memories of the 2020 protests and treatment of African Americans by pretty much everybody in authority (police, city government, federal government, the court system, etc.) And hot damn is Aaron Sorkin a good writer but mediocre director. This is one of the more complex subjects I've seen (a trial of seven/eight defendants and all the players and events surrounding the case) and while it doesn't always work (the flashbacks are sometimes difficult to follow), the court room scenes are electrifying. All the acting is top notch, but the standout for me wasn't Sacha Baron Cohen (he was excellent) but the judge played by Frank Langella and the lead defense attorney played by Mark Rylance. This is the last of the eight films nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, and for the life of me I can't predict who will win. This has to be the most quality batch of nominees in ages.
    Mark B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 08, 2021
    Going into a film so steeped in historical events, facts, and undoubtedly some speculation it's difficult to not want to feel both completely educated and entertained on and by the subject come the conclusion of the film. With the second directorial effort from A Few Good Men and The Social Network scribe Aaron Sorkin being based on the violent clash between police and antiwar protestors at the 1968 Democratic National Convention it's even more difficult-given the similar cultural landscape we presently find ourselves in-to not want to first and foremost pay attention to the precision of Sorkin's pen so as to not be swayed one way or another by the dramatization of it all. That said, it's also difficult to not want to abandon the real-life aspects altogether and instead simply escape to enjoy the piece for its expertly crafted dialogue exchanges and period-accurate set decorations with hopes that what is depicted on screen respects the institution of integrity enough that we trust what the film is telling us and what it's trying to convince us of are both genuine and honest. That the film takes the position it does will be an easier pill to swallow for a viewer who stands firmly on one side than the other which raises questions about how those on the wrong side of history now can't see themselves in those on the wrong side of history then, but while this idea might be an aside of Sorkin's it would seem his primary objective is to illustrate the strong foundations of our institutions, but also the myriad of ways in which they can be taken advantage of and the vitality of intent if one cannot find a complete, impartial view of the bigger picture; in essence, Sorkin seeks to create something as close to primary material as possible and in large part-especially for the first hour-you want to believe he has. If The Trial of the Chicago 7 hopes to make you feel any certain way though, it's that type of "hurrah" mentality that no matter how evil the bad guys are the good and the just will eventually overcome it. Unfortunately, this take couldn't feel more in contrast with today's world despite the similarities in the challenges our protagonists are up against and the current assault our democracy is facing. Despite the stride towards a more triumphant rather than the more accurately sobering tone in the third act though, Sorkin has pieced together an airtight screenplay with an overwhelmingly impressive cast that executes the material in a substantial fashion giving the project the feel of something genuinely valuable. read the whole review at www.reviewsfromabed.com
    Philip P Super Reviewer
  • Nov 07, 2020
    Writer/Director Aaron Sorkin spins his storytelling magic and I highly recommend this film. More so, I urge citizens to revisit history and learn the facts behind the trial of the eight defendants.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2020
    The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a courtroom drama depicting the outlandish injustices applied to a dispirit group of anti-war activists who were charged with inciting a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The various men of different backgrounds and affiliations had their reasons for being there to protest, whether it was building public support to end the Vietnam War, to gain personal publicity, or to get laid, and tensions mounted inside and out the group as the police plan to send a message, harassed protesters, and in one amazingly prescient moment, remove their badges and name tags to inflict state-sanctioned violence. This is an Aaron Sorkin movie through and through, and his second offering as a director after 2017's Molly's Game, and the best thing about the Oscar-winning wordsmith is that watching one of his movies feels like you've just downloaded a complete syllabus. The sheer audacious density of information can be overwhelming, but when Sorkin is able to get into his well-established rhythms, the actors feel like wonderful pieces in an orchestra playing to its peak. The real-life story of the activists has plenty of juicy drama and intriguing characters and intra-group conflicts breaking open, mostly between the divided poles of political leaders Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne) and counter-culture prankster Abbie Hoffman (Cohen). Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul Mateen, HBO's Watchmen) could have gotten his own movie and suffers many of the worst indignities as a Black Panther grafted onto the case in order to make the rest of the indicted men seem scarier by association. The consistent interference by the trial judge (Frank Langella) is shocking. It's so transparently biased, racist, and unprofessional that I have to believe that many of these anecdotes actually happened because otherwise they seem so absurdly prejudicial that nobody would believe this happened. For a movie with such a sizeable cast of trial litigants, lawyers on both sides, friends and family, and maybe every Chicago police officer in the state, it's impressive that Sorkin is able to provide so many with great Sorkin moments, meaning those grandstanding speeches, cutting one-liners, and intensive cross-examination. Not everyone is on the same level of importance. Several of the Chicago 7 are more than bodies on screen, two of the guys serve as little more than a quip-peddling Greek chorus. You sense there's more being left out to fit into a crammed yet tidy narrative that plays to our demands for a satisfying character arcs, reconciliation, and a morally stirring final stand. As a director, Sorkin doesn't distinguish himself but he lets his meaty script and the performances of his actors get all the attention. The editing, like in Molly's Game, can be a bit jumpy but it's to serve the sheer size of information being downloaded during the 129 minutes. The political parallels for today are remarkable and a condemnation of our modern times. The Trial of the Chicago 7 is an invigorating and, at points, exhausting film going experience that can feel like a retro, overstuffed special episode of The West Wing. It's everything you should expect and want in an Aaron Sorkin courtroom drama, so if you're already in that camp then this Netflix original will be preaching to the overly verbose choir. Nate's Grade: B+
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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