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Negative Portrayals of Lawyers & Judges in 4 Films

g., showing them stylistically as cold, arrogant, indifferent to justice, or, to use a term the popular culture has linked to the legal profession, "sharks." It should be recognized at the outset that the latter is highly subjective; whether a character is portrayed as honest or dishonest is in each of these films an objective feature of the plot, but whether a character is warm or cold is ultimately in the eye of the individual filmgoer.

Before more closely examining the explicit or implicit statements made about the legal profession by each of these films, it will be useful to first briefly summarize their main plot lines. Following the examination of the protrayals in these movies, we will consider how the picture drawn of the legal profession relates to broader conventions of Hollywood portrayal, and to assumptions implicit in the popular culture.

In "And Justice For All," Al Pacino plays a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia. (Each of these films takes place in a big-city environment; in some the city is explicitly named; in others a fictional but probably East Coast city is implied.) Pacino is pressured--under threat of disbarment--to take on the defense of a judge (previously shown as unyielding on the letter of the law and indifferent to justice) who is guilty of a violent rape. At the climax of the film, Pacino runs amok in his trademark manner, and accu


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Negative Portrayals of Lawyers & Judges in 4 Films. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:08, October 24, 2014, from
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