|The Verdict (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
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Sidney Lumet's riveting courtroom drama earned five Oscar(r) nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor for Paul Newman's towering performance as a down-and-out alcoholic attorney who stumbles onto one last chance to redeem himself. When attorney Frank Calvin (Newman) is given an open-and-shut medical malpractice case that no one thinks he can win, he courageously decides to refuse a settlement from the hospital. Instead he takes the case, and the entire legal system, to court.
In this 1982 courtroom drama written by David Mamet and directed by Sidney Lumet, Paul Newman found the perfect role for a transitional period of his stellar career. As alcoholic Boston lawyer Frank Galvin, Newman shook off his screen persona as a handsome, blue-eyed hunk to portray an aging, weary man whose best years are behind him, with a shot-glass future that looks very bleak indeed. But when Galvin is given a chance to redeem himself--by proving medical negligence in the case of a comatose woman--he makes one final effort to regain his self-respect and tarnished reputation. He's an underdog against formidable odds, facing a powerful, politically connected lawyer (James Mason, slick as ever) who will do anything to win his case, regardless of professional ethics. Further complicating matters is a woman (Charlotte Rampling) who only appears to be worthy of Galvin's trust and love, until Galvin's best friend and colleague (Jack Warden) proves otherwise. Excellent as both courtroom drama and riveting character study, the film crackles with Mamet's sharp dialogue; and Lumet's direction is a brilliant example of forceful restraint. The film gave Newman one of the best roles of his career; many felt he deserved the Oscar (he lost to Ben Kingsley in Gandhi) that would belatedly be given to Newman for The Color of Money. Along with Hud, Cool Hand Luke, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Verdict ranks highly as a signature performance by one of America's all-time greatest actors. --Jeff Shannon
- The Verdict
A searing, moody courtroom drama masterfully directed by Sidney Lumet, the film earned five Oscar nominations in 1982, including one for writer David Mamet. As Frank Galvin, Newman shows a rare vulnerability as a man struggling to redeem himself before it's too late. This film represents both courtroom and human drama at its finest, with veteran player Jack Warden superb as Galvin's only colleague and friend.
- A Paean to Will Power
"The Verdict" opens in a bittersweet, comical way, in which Paul Newman's portrayal of the alcholic lawyer Frank Galvin sort of recalls Walter Matthau's "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich from Billy Wilder's "The Fortune Cookie" (1966). We see Galvin sink beneath the gutter as he presses his business cards into the palms of grieving mourners. But, similarities end there: Given the most unlikely circumstance -- a malpractice suit -- Galvin sees the light at the end of the tunnel, redemption for the sorry mess he's made of his life. This movie unfolds like a revelation, but slowly, so that along with Galvin, we discover the small shred of remaining integrity within him that rises up and becomes courage: He turns down an insurance settlement to do battle against two renowned physicians, a corrupt Boston cardinal (played by the great character actor Edward Binns), a corrupt judge (Milo O'Shea) and the city's largest, slickest, law firm, whose legal team is headed by James Mason, in his final role as the suave and cynical Concanon. Galvin's transformation from self-professed ambulance chaser to a true man of the law fighting for nothing but justice is one of cinema's most inspiring performances, because Galvin *is* a weak man, set upon by demons from his failed past, and by fear of an uncertain future. Still, he trudges on, sinks his teeth in and never backs down, despite one unlucky turn after another: His star witness disappears, his hired "expert witness" has a second-rate medical background, and the judge strikes out almost every shred of evidence favourable to his case. Yet, through his conviction and sheer will power, Galvin convinces the jury of the malpractice commited against his client, a woman put in a coma by negligent doctors.
Watching Frank's transformation is simply awe-inspiring, because screenwriter David Mamet wrote it so subtly, and because it happens to Newman over the course of the movie. There's no "light bulb look" that comes over him all of the sudden; Rather, we can see the dim flicker slowly and gradually burn to a raging flame.
Director Sidney Lumet brilliantly captured the human drama of "The Verdict" by letting the actors and the dialogue carry the movie; It's far less cinematic than his earlier movies such as "Serpico" or "Twelve Angry Men." This really lets the viewer get into the characters: Not only do Newman and Mason shine, but Jack Warden (as his gruff mentor), Lindsey Crouse and Charlotte Rampling really help flesh out the movie and make it utterly believable through their conviction to character.
"The Verdict" ends properly: Laura Fischer(Rampling), who has seduced Frank and reluctantly betrayed him, telephones him to make amends. But Frank, stronger from the ordeal of his life, maintains his integrity, knowing who is on the other end of the line, never picks up. Now not only has his client won, but he's won back his soul. Straight cut to black, titles.
I was so taken by this movie, that I was certain that Newman and Mason won Oscars for their performances. I was wrong. In real life, justice does not always win the day....more info
- Paul Newman seems to melt into his character
My best friend and I decided that this summer we would start a Paul Newman night. On our second night we watched The Verdict. Mr. Newman's illustration of Frank Galvin is beautiful.
I am not an alcoholic but could feel his need for a drink. I felt his pain when he visited his client in the hospital. His desperation was personal when he felt as if his mistake was tearing down not only him but his client's family. The frustration of doors slamming in his face (sometimes literally) hurt my feelings and I knew Frank Galvin was wanting to kick down some of those doors but he knew that wasn't going to get him anywhere. So he went back to the bottle.
The Newman eyes kept the viewer involved in what was happening behind those windows to the soul. There is pain and a faint rumbling of unfamiliar power from his past that is not quite fighting to be heard. All of this is unsaid but perfectly clear through a shifting of weight or tightening of his lips a rise of an eyebrow. Paul Newman doesn't seem to be acting, he seems to be Frank Galvin.
All the characters in the movie are marvelous. The story is about doing what is right. It isn't about politics or the church. If you want to see a great movie with wonderful characters across the board this is a perfect choice. If you want to see Paul Newman in a fantastic film this is, again, a perfect choice....more info
- The Very Best of Its Genre
Simply put there is no American film of this genre that comes close. Director Lumet darkly captures the naked power and corruption of the American civil trial system. Actors O'Shea (the judge), Mason (the 'prince of darkness' defense counsel) and Charlotte Rampling (whose shock is best left unrevealed) are the epitome of the seedy wheels of what passes for justice and 'love'. Newman, an alcoholic with one last prospect, struggles for redemption against mountainous odds, giving the most honest performance of his career. Warden is Newman's essential wiser alter ego. This film is no less than that rare cimematic device -- the allegory. Each character represents a larger truth -- in addition to Mason, O'Shea, and Rampling, Joe Seneca as a black, ancient (degraded) doctor for the vegetative plaintiff; Catholic archidiocese bishop Ed Binns up to his collar in fraud; a nationally-renowned physician with secret blood on his hands; and a simple honest woman who wanted nothing more than to be a nurse - Lindsay Crouse in a career performance. And there is the superb Mamet writing throughout. This is a courtroom thriller that will nail you to your seat to the very end. And absolutely true to life -- my view, at least, after 20 years as a lawyer. I also teach law and never miss a chance to show this film to my students. An amazing cinematic achievement, disturbing in its implications....more info
- An Astonishing Treasure
I originally saw The Verdict when it was first released theatrically, but I had forgotten how wonderful this film is until I ordered the Two-Disc Collector's Edition. The Verdict captures perhaps the best performance of Paul Newman's storied career, plus a memorable appearance by film legend James Mason as his ably evil legal adversary. The Verdict is much more than a courtroom drama: it is the timeless tale of a character who realizes that he has only one shot left at redemption. Every moment in this film is worth revisiting, and I will eagerly be viewing Disk 2 to gain more understanding about how this masterwork came to be created. ...more info
- There are no other cases. This is the case!
That was Paul Newman's response to Jack Warden, as Warden massages Mr. Newman's back and tries to assuage him by telling him there will be other cases. ( Pardon me, I always wanted to use the word ASSUAGE in a review ).
I live in Connecticut, and my wife and I drive thru Westport regularly, on our way to Trader Joe's. I know exactly where Mr. Newman lives,( I'll never tell ) and I always kid to my wife,
" I wonder what Paul is doing today? " Then I jokingly say that maybe we'll see him at Trader Joe's ( grocery store ) or at Mario's ( great place for lunch or dinner). Of course if I ever did actually meet him, I'd be stammering and babbling just like Jackie Gleason used to do in his old Honeymooner's television show. But enough of my dreaming. So, how was the movie? Sometimes there are events or moments in a movie that stay with you for a long time. In this movie, those times were: " There are no other cases..This is the case! " and the confrontation Mr. Newman had with the judge, when he proclaims, " I know about you! " as he taps his fingers on the judge's desk. Classic moments.
If I ever had a chance to become an actor, and had my pick of
acting coaches, one of them would be Paul Newman. I'm not sure how he does it, but somehow, after watching him on screen for a few moments, I forget he is Paul Newman, and believe he is the character he is portraying.I guess that's the " magic " of great acting. They make it look so effortless. And now onto Jack Warden. He is perhaps one of the most under-rated actors in history. A great performance from a great actor.
Back to Paul Newman. The next time you watch one of his movies, watch the pauses...the times when he's not speaking. It's the entire package that makes an actor great. It's the phrasing, the reaction, the eye movements, the pauses and how long he holds them. ( Sure the director has a lot of input too)- but just watch him. What you are witnessing is a STAR in action. As I write this ( June 29, 2006 ) Paul Newman is 81 years old. He may be a little slower, a little more wrinkled, but his acting just gets better with age. ( Watch Empire Falls ). I truly hope he makes more movies. And who knows, perhaps one day I WILL run into him at Trader Joe's or Mario's place. And in true Jackie Gleason form, say to him, " Hubba, Hubba, Hubba. "
And that, my friends, will be no act.
- If the Charge is Great Acting, Newman is Guilty
Not only is 'The Verdict' a great film, it's also one of Paul Newman's best performances, maybe even his best. Newman plays Frank Galvin, an ambulance-chasing lawyer who once showed promise. Many years ago, Galvin tried to do the right thing and nearly got disbarred. He's had only four cases in three years and he's lost them all. Then one day a case falls in his lap. It's not really a case at all, but a settlement to avoid one. A girl suffered brain damage due to a mishap with an anesthetic. The Catholic-run hospital and two of Boston's most respected doctors want to settle out of court. But Galvin once again is faced with a choice, just as he was early in his career: Do what you're told and say nothing or try to do the right thing?
David Mamet's script is absolutely marvelous. Most courtroom films contain way too much dialogue and useless talk, but not this one. Each word is carefully chosen, yet the script never comes across as stiff or rigid. Of course in the hands of masterful actors like Newman, James Mason, Jack Warden, and Charlotte Rampling (who has never received enough credit for this performance), the script sparkles with excitement. One scene in particular (I won't tell which one) could have really damaged Newman's career, but director Sidney Lumet expertly handles this and every other scene. An outstanding film that should have won the Best Actor Oscar for Newman.
Unfortunately the only real extras on the DVD consist of brief interviews with the cast members, an audio commentary, and a few trailers. But don't let the lack of extras keep you from owning one of the best courtroom dramas ever filmed.
129 minutes...more info
- Paul Newman's Finest Performance, in Tale of Redemption...
In a career of unforgettable portrayals, "The Verdict" stands as Paul Newman's pinnacle; as a shattered idealistic lawyer, on an alcoholic road to self-destruction, finding a chance at redemption, he is absolutely perfect. With respect to Ben Kingsley, Newman SHOULD have won the 'Best Actor' Oscar in 1982!
Directed by Sidney Lumet, from a remarkably candid screenplay by David Mamet, this is a film that never makes a wrong step. Newman's 'Frank Galvin' is not heroic, or even likable, in the film's opening scenes, but he finds, in a simple malpractice suit, an injustice so blatant that he sees an opportunity to redeem himself...but he'll have to defeat a rich, duplicitous law firm (headed by legendary James Mason), argue before an indifferent judge (Milo O'Shea), and, worst of all, face betrayal from within his tiny circle of friends, if he has any hope of rising out of his personal 'hell'.
With a superb cast, including the remarkable Jack Warden as his ex-mentor/best friend, and Charlotte Rampling, as the woman he trusts far too much, "The Verdict" is raw, powerful, and occasionally disturbing, but never dull!
This new two-disc edition is certainly THE version to own, with commentary by Newman and Lumet, and an entire disc of extras, including Lumet and Newman's personal recollections, and several 'Making of' documentaries, from 1982, and today. You'll never find a more complete presentation of a truly extraordinary film!
There are few films that I can watch, again and again, and never grow tired of..."The Verdict" is one. Bravo to Newman, Lumet, Mamet, and everyone involved in creating this classic!
- Just Superb
This is a superb film starring a superb actor. Enough said....more info
- Newman in a great role
Paul Newman plays a Boston lawyer on the skids with alcohol who takes on a negligence case against two prominent doctors and a hospital run by the Boston Archdiocese. It's a sort of do-or-die case for Newman, and it goes pretty badly against him, until he is able to get the help of one of the nurses who was in the operating room when the negligence took place. It's pretty much a one-man show for Newman, and he does a bang-up job. We can see into his character thoroughly, and it's not all goody-goody idealism: after he's turned down a $210,000 "payoff" (out-of-court settlement) thinking he has a chance to win, and then his chief witness is bought off, we see him try desperately to get the settlement money back. The trial is pure Hollywood, with the judge, too, against him, and Newman winning the jury over with a plea for compassion and doing right. Jack Warden does a good job as Newman's senior partner and mentor, as does James Mason as the suave and wily defense lawyer. But Charlotte Rampling is a total non-entity as the double-dealing woman who falls in the sack with Newman. There's much hokum and predictability here, but Newman is so good he makes the movie hum. Definitely worth a watch....more info
- TO TELL THE TRUTH
Terrific cast headed by Newman, whose career has declined due to alcohol.Disregarding all advice, he puts his neck on the line, trying to prove malpractice against 2 prominent Bahstin physicians. Defense attorney Mason sends one doctor on vacation to the Bahamas, is friendly with the judge, and has a staff seemingly large enough to fill Fenway Pahk. He also has Rampling, Newman's alleged girlfriend, who's gone over to the enemy. Meanwhile, Newman has only Warden doing his legwork and a 74 year old unlicensed physician working for him. As the case comes to a close, a former nurse from N.Y. is found who gives damaging testimony against the defendants, but is thrown out on a legal technicality. Newman wins his case anyway, and a full measure of self respect, The slow pacing of the movie is its only signficant drawback. Everyone, especiallly at film's end seems to feed off of Newman's exhaustion. It's a wonder that anyone is awake when the verdict comes in, including the viewer. Otherwise this production is top shelf, well worthy of purchase....more info
- Three American Masters: Lumet, Newman, Mamet
Sidney Lumet. David Mamet. Paul Newman. Charlotte Rampling. Jack Warden. James Mason. Thats a lot of talent & everyone is at their best in this movie which is often referred to as a courtroom drama but really only a very small amount of this film actually takes place in court. Much more time is spent at the local bars Frank Gavin has spent his waning years drowning in. Frank says at one point, "its a long road that doesn't have any turns in it." Well the court case that Jack Warden hands him on a silver platter is one of those turns. And to Franks credit he more than rises to the occasion but not without many moments of self-doubt and self-examination. Frank also begins a love affair while he is preparing to go to trial and that love affair with Charlotte Rampling is well drawn. Both are at all time low points in their lives. She keeps up with Frank when he is drinking and has as many tales of woe as he. That is yet another attractive component to this many layered look at Frank. As the relationship develops Frank is forced to see himself and his failures through her eyes and that as much as the pending court case contributes to his reformation. Charlotte Rampling gives a wonderful performance as a woman at the end of her rope, just barely hanging on. She needs the relationship to work but has very little left in the way of emotional resources. She too is looking to rehabilitate herself and is in a unique position to understand Franks efforts. Mamet is great at tough love and the most famous scene in the movie is certainly that.
Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon is one of the most studied films by up and coming directors, and this one too has some of those masterful director signature moments in it, ie the last scene in the movie with Paul in his office after the trial and the phone ringing and ringing and Paul just sitting still in his newfound quiet. Fade out to credits....more info
- The Verdict VHS
This movie begs for a DVD. Paul Newman was nominated for best actor for this role, but lost to Ghandi. The screenplay ranks right up there with "12 Angry Men" and "Witness for the Prosecution." I'm a court reporter, so I'm pretty finicky about legal dramas. The closing argument is beautiful and reminded me why I went into the legal profession in the first place: "But today you are the law...not some book, not the lawyers, not a marble statue or the trappings of the court." And it's realistic: "The court doesn't exist to give (the weak) justice. The court exists to give them a chance at justice." It's a great courtroom drama, a great movie about a drinking alcoholic trying to redeem himself and a tragic love story all in one....more info
- One of the finest courtroom dramas ever, BUT..........
I concur with most reveiwers that "The Verdict" was perhaps Paul Newman's finest dramatic role and yes, he should have taken home the Oscar. But as an owner of the 2002 single disc version, I ask anyone who has purchased the "Two-Disc Collector's Edition" to tell me what has 20th Century FOX added in the 2nd disc to make this upgrade worthwhile?...more info
- The Verdict: Mine, Yours, Ours
More than a quarter-century after its release, "The Verdict" remains one of the most brilliantly-crafted and deeply-felt courtroom dramas in memory.
That fact alone might be enough to explain, perhaps, why I've watched it at least a dozen times.
Still, it wouldn't entirely explain why I expect to view it at least that many more times, as the crosscurrents of my life cause me to feel a need to reconnect with simple truths that "The Verdict" so artfully conveys in a running time of just over two hours.
Set in early-1980's Boston, Sidney Lumet's masterpiece (expertly adapted from a brilliantly taut screenplay by David Mamet) tells a compelling tale of betrayal and redemption and, ultimately, hope and empowerment--even in the face of overwhelming odds and torturously bleak circumstances.
The film concerns itself, on the surface, with human failings--the collapse of the law practice of its protagonist, attorney Frank Galvin (played by Paul Newman, in one of the most electrifyingly-vivid performances and emotionally-complex roles of his career), as well as the alleged malpractice of anesthesiologists at a Boston hospital to provide adequate care for Galvin's "client," who lapsed into a persistent vegetative-state coma four years earlier, when the doctors seemingly failed to note critical data on her hospital admittance form.
But it is on deeper, subtextual levels that the film transcends the limitations of its genre and period and becomes a darkly cautionary and deeply inspirational tale for us all--and one that will continue to caution and inspire viewers for as long as films are viewed for reasons other than sheer sensationalism.
I could provide example after example of instances in which "The Verdict" serves to illuminate the impact each of our lives has on each of the lives we touch, but I'll settle on a single breathtaking passage in the film, in which Newman presents his summation to the jury:
"You know, so much of the time we're just lost. We say, "Please, God, tell us what is right. Tell us what is true."
"There is no justice. The rich win, the poor are powerless.
"We become tired of hearing people lie. And after a time, we become dead....We start thinking of ourselves as victims. And we become victims.
"And we become weak. We doubt ourselves, we doubt our beliefs, we doubt our institutions. And we doubt the law.
"But today, you are the law. You are the law--not some book, not the lawyers, not a marble statue or the trappings of the court.
"Those are just symbols of our desire to be just. They are, in effect, a prayer--a fervent and a frightened prayer.
"In my religion we say, "Act as if you had faith, and faith will be given to you."
"If we are to have faith in justice, we need only to believe in ourselves. And act with justice."
Rent it, buy it, watch it (or watch it again--and again, if that becomes as necessary for you as it's become for me), and believe it.
Because ultimately, "The Verdict" makes us realize that we are all advocates of true justice and social equality or collaborators in a flawed system of status quo legal dispensations for the privileged and preferred.
And the jury is still out for each of us, considering the living, breathing "testimony" and real-world evidence we generate every day of our lives.
--Jim Parker ...more info
- Newman deserved the Oscar
Paul Newman's performance in "The Verdict" is one for the ages; brilliant & nuanced & it should have won him the Oscar in 1982. Newman's character is a broken man, who finds redemption by the film's end. It's not easy - he's up against the Catholic church here - in one of the greatest courtroom dramas on film. I love how alone Newman is throughout this film & how David Mamet writes it without one false move. Hey, at least David had a slingshot. An American classic....more info
- one of the best
because this film deals with the reality of reality, newman as frank galvin says to the jury, today you are the truth..not symbols of freedom or aspirations of liberty, but the real thing...you will decide what is just...this film is not really about doctors, malpractice, or the church..it's about the nobility of man's spirit..about overcoming and bulldozing through deception and lies...it deals with human character and the ability to climb from the ashes; to identify and choose the high road..and that redemption cannot be bought, the truth has no price....more info
- Best of the Best
"The Verdict" is Paul Newman's best movie and David Mamet's best screenplay. I never get tired of watching this film. ...more info
- The power of honor and the burden of obligation.
Years before I turned in my smelter rake and beer league softball glove for law school, I saw this movie which, even more than "Perry Mason" or "To Kill A Mockingbird", convinced me that lawyering remained an honorable profession. Frank Galvin is a drunk who rages his way through his office and his life. But Newman's character has his heart, if not his feet, in the right place. This movie is what lawyering is all about. Caring for someone who couldn't take care of herself, declining a significant offer that he knew wasn't enough, wiping the beer spray off of his goggles to see that his client is the irrelevant-to-the-world woman in the bed (and not her sister and brother-in-law), Frank Galvin does what he has to do, regardless of the outcome. He is her lawyer; he has no choice. Man, how I wish we all could really feel this way, just once. Pure, raw and real. God's gift of talent made manifest in the drunken remnants of one who was formerly prematurely designated a "success" and then a "failure". The Lord works in mysterious ways. James Mason is so damned perfect in his role as the big city, big firm defense attorney, comprised of equal parts talent and preparation; mentoring his troops even as he protects his client. The Verdict evidences the intangible yet palpable faith of a trial lawyer in the truth (and in a panel of ordinary citizens that he hopes will divine the truth from the facts) in spite of the law; a reminder to all that a talent for spinning the facts is inferior to society's aptitude for seeing through the b.s.; an exemplar of the power of honor and the burden of obligation. It remains one of the very best stories ever brought to film. Smell the snow evaporating off of the radiators. Listen to the pinball machine's soft old bells, now twenty five years old, racking up the score. Taste the raw eggs and beer, a warrior's breakfast, long ago abandoned in this age of legal malpractice lawsuits. Feel the joy of infatuation and the raw pain of a lie. Believe in Frank. Believe in the case. Believe in Justice. Newman and Mason deserved better than Oscars for this film. Buy the DVD and pop a big ol' bowl of pop-corn. Enjoy their performances and accept that this is as good as it gets. Bet you can't play it just once....more info
- Paul Newman's Best Role
Most, if not all of Paul Newman's films have him portraying characters that are cocky, shallow, and self-satisfied. This is not the case with "The Verdict." In this excellent Sidney Lumet masterpiece, we see Newman as down and out lawyer Frank P. Galvin unknowingly seeking restoration and redemption.
As the movie opens, we see Galvin as an ambulance chasing drunk who spends most of his time in front of a pinball machine. What work he does get is in the form of charity given to him by an old friend, Mickey Morrissey, played skillfully by Jack Warden. One of these cases is that of a young woman essentialy brain-dead because of the mistakes of two high powered doctors.
At first, Galvin approaches it in his typical half-hearted 'give a damn' style. But at a very important part of the film, Galvan rediscovers his honor and character. He turns down a generous settlement from the doctors and hospital preferring instead to reach for justice by taking the case to trial. Even his closest friends urge him to accept the settlement. Seeking what is right over what is expedient becomes Galvin's driving force.
As the movie unfolds he is challenged by ruthless and dishonest people who seek to thwart him at every turn. The defense attorney Edward J. Concannon played brilliantly by James Mason is powerful and ruthless. From there the movie evolves into a true 'edge of your seat' nailbiter between a man whose prime concern is winning at any costs and in any way possible and another whose primary motive is what is right.
You will be kept guessing as this movie takes sharp turns through the maze of the legal system. All of this as one man fights not only for the injured but for his own life. This is the best film Paul Newman ever made and with a gifted supporting cast around him the film is first rate.
Also, this DVD set contains a disc about the making of "The Verdict" with very interesting trivia and facts.
This movie takes you through the whole range of human emotions. Its ultimate message is timeless and will have you thinking about it for a long time. Five HUGE stars for this one!...more info
- 2.5 stars out of 4
The Bottom Line:
Newman is quite good and suitably burnt-out but the legal aspect of the case never moves beyond the mundane and Charlotte Rampling's character seems to serve no purpose beyond manipulating the audience: I thought The Verdict might be the rare intelligent courtroom movie, but regrettably I must keep looking....more info
- The Verdict: Winner!
The power of this movie are the performances! Newman delivers like a sledge hammer, in such subtle ways. From his subdued dialogue, to his facial expressions, Newman slowly brings this movie the climax of his summation! WOW!...more info
- The Case of the Missing Nurse
This is a well-polished production that suffers from some over-acting (dramatic pauses). It is a drama about personal failures and the effect it has on the people who suffer from them. The film starts on a wintry day, snow is on the ground, an older man plays a pinball machine (symbolizing the chances of life?). Frank Galvin has time to waste. We see him putting on an act at a funeral home, and being rejected. His buddy Micky comes by to help him with a case of negligence. [Believable?] A woman went into a hospital to give birth but suffered a horrible fate that left her a vegetable. Who is responsible?
A scene with the bishop tells about the defendant and the church hospital. [Could this happen at a non-church hospital?] Dr. David Gruber will testify for the plaintiff as an expert witness. The defense legal team is a large and prestigious law firm, seemingly as invincible as Goliath. Would they do anything unethical? A judge tries to arrange a deal and save valuable court time. No deal. Later the brother-in-law confronts Galvin about his failure to consult with his clients. [Is this grounds for disbarment?] Laura meets Frank and learns about his history; she is a friendly stranger. When Dr. Gruber goes away on vacation Galvin becomes frantic in finding a replacement. The film shows how testimony is rehearsed to present the right image ("horse-shedding" the witness). The plaintiff's expert physician will be closely examined. [Does this seem very dramatic and emotional? Can a has-been lawyer overcome the odds? "Frank Galvin" is not an Earl Rogers.]
The trial begins with testimony form the witnesses. The judge intervenes to ask a question. [Is this realistic or just another dramatic trick? Was this to fix the verdict?] There are discussions about the case. Galvin does some risky detective work to find the missing nurse. His partner Micky inadvertently (?) snoops and finds a secret about Laura that explains her actions. This leads to a violent and dramatic confrontation. [Believable?] Back in court Dr. Tower testifies about the patient. Can a Xerox copy be admitted into testimony? [Yes, to impeach a changed document. This film denies the reality, and we miss a "Perry Mason" moment.] The judge makes a ruling and tells the jury to disregard the testimony of the missing nurse. What will the jury decide? Galvin's summation asks for justice, an ambiguous plea. [You know a film needs a happy ending to commercially successful.] The judge tells the jury they are free to pick any amount of damages. [But this can often be reduced on appeal if it exceeds established standards.]
This film sacrifices believable reality for drama. A law firm would not directly hire an undercover operative, that's what private investigators do (plausible deniability). Does the use of a double agent imply the defense knew of the discrepancies in the evidence? The rigging of this fairy tale story seems like something is wrong with the film writers or producers.
- Don't buy this for the Paul Newman commentary
This classic tale of redemption is certainly a must-have for any lover of great films. My only complaint is that the commentary is billed being by both the director Sidney Lumet and Paul Newman but Newman's contribution is maybe a minute long, comes almost at the ending of the film and is not even scene specific....more info
- Story Story Story - The Verdict is a Writer's Bible
David Mamet is utterly relentless, and his plays and films never give a character a break. People in his world start out desperate and stay desperate trying to do the wrong things for the right reasons, or doing the right thing despite their own corrupt souls. The Verdict is one of Mamet's finer works, and in the hands of director Sidney Lumet, it becomes a shining example of how story makes character, character makes story, and both force a vision on a sensitive director.
Set in the maximium Catholic world of Boston, the Verdict tells the tale of a pretty boy whose failure to believe in deep corruption has turned him into a numb fool. The Church preaches redemption, but offers none, and Frank Galvin knows this deep in his soul, which is why he can't leave the womb-like sepia of his bar to face the blue cold. He is pityful, useless and defeated as only a pretty boy can be wrecked. But this modern reading of the Book of Job doesn't end there. Offered a gimme case, Galvin heads right for the gutter, until, in a moment of clarity, he visits the bleak ward where the object of the lawsuit rots in the arms of mother Church.
Arrayed against this consummate loser are God, and the Prince of Darkness in concert. James Mason's valedictorian role is among his finest, so clean, so unafraid of turning men and women into whores and liars; he is a black hole of confidence and Mamet shows again and again how Concannon and his people are great lawyers, while Galvin can barely think.
Things go from bad to worse: the family of the destroyed woman want to settle; the doctor tapped for testimony disappears; the expert witness is a hack doctor (and the unspoken racial overtones of who is credible and who is not are one of the most shocking parts of this film); and his key testimony and witness are disallowed unfairly.
This is a writer writing properly: no breaks, no luck, no hope in the slightest for Frank Galvin. He wants redemption, he's going to get a belly full of it. The vicious dialogs between Charlotte Rampling's troubled character and Newman are so perfect and acidic that I cringe. A great example of two characters working from different internal scripts.
There is so much good in this film, that I watch it over and over again, sometimes for the East Coast winter ambiance, sometimes for the joy of watching James Mason sneer, sometimes to watch Paul Newman beg Milo O'Shea. There is so much to learn from this film. Neither Lumet nor Newman has ever done better. Mamet's gold standard is Glen Gary Glenross. I would love to have seen this cast in that film. Alas. Too late.
It's a sad and sick world, one Frank Galvin would recognize, that grants awards to Ghandi (boring,)Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind, but fails to see gold before their eyes.
If you are a writer, or want to write, sit down and watch this film, take notes, and see if you can reforge a character, which is what the Verdict is really about....more info
- Paul Newman In The Verdict on DVD
The Verdict (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
One of many of the late, GREAT Paul Newman's fine work on film. I first saw this film in the theater and simply had to purchase the DVD after the sad news of his passing. I think it is one of the must-haves of his work as an actor. ...more info
- The last gem of Sidney Lumet
This outstanding and bold director has always paid special attention respect the dark side of the state of things; like in this case where a lawyer practically out of the game due the drink, decides to assume a delicate case of unorthodox medical praxis. Please notice how Lumet works with grayish tunes in the lawyer ' s office to accent his personal drama.
Go for this emblematic film, where Paul Newman makes a delirious performance.
- A Powerful Performance
Throughout the movie I keep asking myself why didn't Newman win an academy award for this performance. This is by far one of the best courtroom dramas I have seen. The Verdict possess the very essence which allows a viewer to be one with the film. You understand the actors on a personnal level....more info
- A Paean to Persistence
"The Verdict" opens in a bittersweet, comical way, in which Paul
Newman's portrayal of the alcholic lawyer Frank Galvin sort of recalls Walter Matthau's "Whiplash Willie" Gingrich from Billy Wilder's "The Fortune Cookie" (1966). We see Galvin sink beneath the gutter as he presses his business cards into the palms of grieving mourners. But, similarities end there: Given the most unlikely circumstance -- a malpractice suit -- Galvin sees the light at the end of the tunnel, redemption for the sorry mess he's made of his life. This movie unfolds like a revelation, but slowly, so that along with Galvin, we discover the small shred of remaining integrity within him that rises up and becomes courage: He turns down an insurance settlement to do battle against two renowned physicians, a corrupt Boston cardinal (played by the great character actor Edward Binns), a corrupt judge (Milo O'Shea)
and the city's largest, slickest, law firm, whose legal team is headed by James Mason, in his final role as the suave and cynical Concanon. Galvin's transformation from self-professed ambulance chaser to a true man of the bar fighting for nothing but justice is one of cinema's most inspiring performances, because Galvin *is* a weak man, set upon by demons from his failed past, and by fear of an uncertain future. Still, he trudges on, sinks his teeth in and never backs down, despite one unlucky turn after another: His star witness disappears, his hired "expert witness" has a second-rate medical background, and the judge strikes out almost every shred of evidence favourable to his case. Yet, through his conviction and sheer will power, Galvin convinces the jury of the malpractice commited against his client, a woman put in a coma by
Watching Frank's transformation is simply awe-inspiring, because
screenwriter David Mamet wrote it so subtly, and because it happens to Newman over the course of the movie. There's no "light bulb look" that comes over him all of the sudden; Rather, we can see the dim flicker slowly and gradually burn to a raging flame.
Director Sidney Lumet brilliantly captured the human drama of "The
Verdict" by letting the actors and the dialogue carry the movie; It's far less cinematic than his earlier movies such as "Serpico" or "Twelve Angry Men." This really lets the viewer get into the characters: Not only do Newman and Mason shine, but Jack Warden (as his gruff mentor), Lindsey Crouse and Charlotte Rampling really help flesh out the movie and make it utterly believable through their conviction to character.
"The Verdict" ends properly: Laura Fischer(Rampling), who has seduced Frank and reluctantly betrayed him, telephones him to make amends. But Frank, stronger from the ordeal of his life, maintains his integrity, knowing who is on the other end of the line, never picks up. Now not only has his client won, but he's won back his soul. Straight cut to black, titles.
I was so taken by this movie, that I was certain that Newman and Mason won Oscars for their performances. I was wrong. In real life, justice does not always win the day....more info
- SUMBLIME COURTROOM EDGE OF SEATER
NTED IN RICH DARK TONES, WITH A STELLAR CAST AND A RIVETING STORY (SCREENPLAY BY THE WONDERFUL DAVID MAMET) THIS FILM PLEASES ME ON EVERY LEVEL. PART COURT-ROOM DRAMA, PART THRILLER, PART RIDDING OF THE DEMONS STUFF, THIS IS A MOVIE I HAVE RETURNED TO AGAIN AND AGAIN. AS WONDERFUL AS THE SUPERLATIVE JAMES MASON IS IN HIS CHILLING ROLE AS THE CORRUPT LAWYER FOR THE DEFENCE I BELIEVE THAT PAUL NEWMAN MATCHES HIM EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. I LOVE HIS GRUFF, HUSKY, DOWN-BEAT PERFORMACE, HE MAKES HIS DOWN-OWN-HIS LUCK, ALCOHOLIC, PIN-BALL MACHINE HOGGING LAWYER OH SO BELIEVABLE. THE MORE MINOR ROLES CANNOT BE FAULTED EITHER, I ESPECIALLY LOVED MILO O'SHEA AS THE SO OBVIOUSLY BIASED JUDGE. JACK WARDEN TOO DOES A SUPERB JOB AS PAUL NEWMAN'S OLDER AND WISER MENTOR. THE FILM UNFOLDS BEAUTIFULLY, PULLING ME RIGHT IN TO THE ACTION AND I CARE VERY MUCH FOR THE PIVOTAL CHARACTERS IN THEIR FIGHT AGAINST EVIL. NEVER AM I BORED. THE ONLY THING I WOULD HAVE LIKED CHANGED WOULD HAVE BEEN THE ENDING; I WOULD LIKED TO HAVE HEARD JAMES MASON'S CLOSING SUMMATION TO THE JURY AS WELL, BECAUSE I FEEL THIS WOULD HAVE LENT FURTHER WEIGHT TO THE OVERALL EFFECT. BUT SMALL GRUMBLINGS ABOUT MY ALL TIME FAVOURITE COURT-ROOM DRAMA; IT INDEED MAKES A FEW GOOD MEN LOOK LIKE THE HOLLYWOOD VEHICLE IT IS. FUNNY HOW THESE OLDER FILMS JUST CANNOT BE BESTED. I PAID ONLY THREE DOLLARS FOR A COPY OF THIS MOVIE, TALK ABOUT CHEAP. SUMPTIOUS AND RICH THROUGHOUT, IT NEVER FAILS TO COMPEL ME....more info
- An Inspirational Film. Good. Evil. And the Journey Between.
I first saw the Verdict 20 ago, in my early 20's and it inspired me then. I recently watched it again, and realized that over the last 20 years I've met the real life counterparts of many of the characters in the film. The film shows the many different stages of "selling out" in modern society; From the doctors who turn their backs on incompetent collegues to the lawyers that defend them. Anyone who tries to undo this sorry and hypocritical state of our mainstream society is rewarded with attacks and grief. But if one can survive the attacks, ultimitately, justice can prevail. This movie though goes way beyond the surface issues of the legal and medical systems, its a broad indictment on the raw greed and power that permeates much of our world. Left unchecked it has no moral bounds.
Paul Neuman's intense mantra "There are no other cases, this is the case" sums up this beautiful film; he slowly regains an obssesive drive to do right no matter what the personal cost, and what the odds are.
The film's supporting theme of the blessing of surrounding yourself with true friends and collegues (Jack Warden) who will stand by you in good times and bad blends seamlessly into the plot which is at once spare and profound.
When you compare the film to much of what is on the screen today, your realize that this film is "gimickless". It doesn't need any contrived plot tricks to make it work. Each scene builds a complex picture of both the central character brilliantly played by Neuman and the society that has slowly been consuming him over many decades physically, emotionally and intellecutally.
Hollywood needs more films like The Verdict. ...more info
- What a great movie
There are very few directors as good as Sidney Lumet and there are even fewer writers as good as David Mamet. Throw in Paul Newman and James Mason, in roles that stand out in their outstanding careers, and you understand what makes "The Verdict" such a classic. When it comes to legal thrillers, it doesn't get any better than this.
- A perfect film
I've made it a point in my life to rent one movie a night for the rest of my life. U can with Blockbuster's 99 cent/ 5 night deal. 'The Verdict' has made my top 10 so far. I wish it wasn't rated R because I'm a Christian but I'm making an acception here. This should b in EVERYONE's movie collection....more info
- one of the best trial movies
Paul Newman gives a very fine performance of a down and out trial lawyer (Frank Galvin) who does the right thing.Frank galvin could have settled out of court and parlayed $70,000 for his serivce but decides to take on the Hospital,Noted doctors,the Catholic Church of Boston (shades of current scandals) and the Great Boston Lawyer Concannon (played by George Mason) Galvin has to battle these instituions and biased trial judge and traitorous girlfriend and disappearing witness.
Although this movie plays to cliches of past legal movies and trial lawyers are not the favorite of many there is a ring of truth to the larger issues portrayed.Many of us have to make career changes,betrayed by people we care about and put up with impediments in doing the right thing.
Ultimately justice wins out but the movie 's ending is ambiguous with the effect of the verdict on any of the characters lives.The last scene might be a bit of a downer to some in which silence wins over not forgiving but then again the movie tried to be realistic and not nessesarily uplifting. I saw the movie originally in 1982 and the movie has more of an appeal now because of the realism it portrays about life.I gave the movie 4 stars because of some of the cliches have been used in many previous movies but the acting of Newman and Mason are outstanding....more info
- Newman was robbed!
I saw this movie when it was released in the theaters ( yes, I am that old! ), and it remains among the best courtroom dramas and character studies ever made.
Jack Warden, James Mason and Charlotte Rampling are all flawlessly great, but Paul Newman was BRILLIANT playing the ambulance-chasing turned righteously indignant Frank Galvin ( the scene where he is photographing his client in the hospital! his meeting with the archdiocese! his return to his apartment after the judge refuses his request for a delay! Newman's best and most emotionally exposed acting ever ). I still refuse to see "Ghandi" because of the resentment I feel over the choice of Ben Kingsley for Oscar's best actor when THIS WAS THE ROLE FOR WHICH NEWMAN SHOULD HAVE WON!!
Nobody I have ever known , seeing this movie for the first time, fails to be riveted to the screen during the final ten minutes....more info
- Newman's Runaway Jury
I watched this film all the way thru for the first time today thanks to Netflix. I also wathced Fort Apache The Bronx and Absence of Malice. These films form a law and order, social issue trilogy and were released circa 1981.
My title spotlights the much more recent Runaway Jury film. These are two very similar films, but the Runaway Jury has a few more twists including a sting like gotcha of Gene Hackman's character near the end of the film. The films are similar enough that maybe a copyright lawsuit would be in order. But there must be other similar films and books floating around, though I can't name one offhand.
If you are looking for a law and order weekend with some of our greatest actors doing outstanding work, I would recommend both of these movies.
Newman is so believable, the scene with the slap in it for example.
- A Monumental Cinematic Treasure
THE VERDICT may date back to 1982, but few courtroom films since then can come close to matching the powerful production in this near perfect film written by David Mamet and directed with tension, grit, and tenderness by Sidney Lumet. Paul Newman's performance as the alcoholic has-been lawyer called upon to try a case of medical malpractice is one of the finest acting performances in history. He is more than ably abetted by his sidekick Jack Warden. The lawyer for the defense is the haughty and evil James Mason and the real surprise in the cast is Milo O'Shea in a terrifyingly real role of a smarmy Judge. Charlotte Rampling, still one of today's finest actresses, plays the understated love interest. Minor roles become major when they are in the hands of such gifted actors as Lindsay Crouse and Julia Bravasso. But one unsung hero of this fine film is the cinematographer who manages to make every shot appear like a Renaissance painting, so sensitive is he to light and shadow and frame composition.
THE VERDICT is a powerful story of the underdog's struggle for truth in the judicial system and as such is a reminder of how the Law, when stripped to its essentials, is there to protect us. There is no pat ending, only a feeling of breathlessness as all of the details of the story are left to our imagination - well, almost. A strikingly powerful, meaningful, brilliantly executed film....more info
- Paul Nemans The Verdict was Awesome
I got this not knowing what to expect. I didn't watch it when it came out but glad I got the chance to see it. A down and out lawyer takes on a case that is surely a loosing one. No witnesses and everything is on shakey ground. What's in it besides money is pure pride and Newman is not going to let them get the best of him. He turns down offers to end the case early even without a hope or prayer and going up against a shrewd opposing lawyer. As the movie unfolds several characters develop and the movie has a supprise ending. A great ending to a great movie. I was really supprised. Hard to say if this was Newman's best performance but he couldn't have done any better for the type of movie it was. ...more info
- The Hero's Journey
Ernest Becker, in his remarkably beautiful and insightful The Denial of Death, tells of how our mortality works to transfigure our lives into tales of overcoming -- of transforming ourselves from mortal creatures leading pointless lives into parts of an overarching eternal scheme. It is in this we find meaning. And so our life stories become crafted into heroic narratives.
And so it is in The Verdict, a movie that gets it right in both the large and the small. As a lawyer by training, I can say with great confidence that very few legal dramas and thrillers have so well and accurately depicted the lawyer's life. It is true in the details and in the broad strokes. Within minutes, The Verdict transports us into a world that not only rings true, but is true. From there, we focus in on a critical ethical conundrum, as well as the nexus between the symbolic (and heroic) in human nature and the venal practicalities of real life. With a brilliant, nuanced performance from Paul Newman, the central issue in the story gains a luminosity and clarity that will make The Verdict one of those timeless stories that demonstrate the lasting significance of cinema as storytelling.
Some spoilers follow.
Okay, all that being said, Paul Newman plays a lawyer who has lost his moorings. We learn that he began his career as a brilliant, promising law school graduate. Top of his class. Order of the Coif (the law school equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa on steroids). Fancy job at a fancy firm. And then, he sees the sordid underbelly of the law, the venality of his employers, and gets set up for a fall. Either he looks the other way at the criminal behavior of his firm, or he loses his license to practice law and maybe spends years in jail. And so, facing this choice, the idealism of this idealistic young lawyer loses out. He goes along with the cover up and loses his job to boot. His wife leaves him. And then, he begins a rather slow unwind into alcohol, negligence, and meaninglessness. A lost soul, in other words.
The Verdict picks up when Newman's character finds himself at the end of what may be his terminal losing streak. A new case is referred to him, and it will be the last, it appears. It is, Newman's character later recounts, "the case." It will be the death of him, or his redemption. Unfortunately, that isn't exactly consistent with his duty to the couple that hired him (although they really aren't his clients at all -- he represents a comatose young woman clinging to life as a result of medical malpractice). Suddenly realizing his own redemption is at stake, he rejects a handsome settlement offer without even advising the couple (his ethical obligations required him to tell them), and takes a half-assed stab at going to trial on the case. As his plan unravels -- including a disappearing witness who was the key to his case -- Newman has no choice but to go forward. To find out what he's really made of. To face down an insuperable foe and prevail, or die trying.
Capped off with a closing argument that is both incredibly moving and mercifully short (a hallmark of David Mamet's wonderful dialogue), The Verdict's ending may not be what you expect, but it is eminently meaningful, appropriate, and intelligent.
P.S. In A Few Good Men (Special Edition), you may note how Tom Cruise likely mimicked Paul Newman's performance in The Verdict. To me, it was uncanny.
- Paul Newman's finest performance
This is a riveting story of redemption. It also happens to be the vehicle for Paul Newman's finest performance in his distinguished career as an actor. Every time I watch this movie I totally forget he IS Paul Newman; he is Frank Galvin through and through. The movie also features a stellar supporting cast. EVERY performance is excellent. The directing is spare & lean; the director wisely lets his phenomenal cast do their best. The injustice of Paul Newman not winning the best actor Oscar for this performance can never be righted. I hope he realizes that in the court of public opinion, he was robbed! The public recognizes what the Academy failed to -- the performance of a lifetime. This movie is an absolute gem & will stand the test of time....more info
- Great Video
I absolutely loved watching "the Verdict" directed by Sydney Lumet... especially knowing the back story... The first time I watched this story, I was rivted.. as I watched it again, some 10 years later, I wasn't as impressed until I read Syndey's account of making this incredible film.
Good story line, good plot..twist... great acting, because despite the David and Goliath theme...which can at times be so over done.. this film delivered a stellar performance....more info
- Oscar Robbery: Newman Gets the Shaft, Part 2
During the first 25 years of his career, Paul Newman played characters who were confident and self-assured. Being a great actor, Newman was always able to infuse his characters with frailties and vulnerabilities that made them well-rounded and three dimensional. From Rocky Graziano to Cool Hand Luke to Doug Roberts (The Towering Inferno), Newman played self-confident characters who were strong and took charge of a situation. Perhaps this lack of frailty is the reason why Newman was able to play much younger characters well into his 50's (in 1981's Absence of Malice, the audience fully accepted that the then 56 year old Newman could be romantically involved with the then 35 year old Sally Field).
In The Verdict, however, Newman is almost shocking in his hesitancy and self doubt. As attorney Frank Galvin, life has beaten him down so much, he seems like a man far older than his years who is afraid to do anything for fear that tragedy and bad luck will once again crush him. For the first time, Newman seems more like a victim than a survivor -- stammering, hesitant, weak, alcoholic and defeated. Even his courtroom summation at the end of the film is halting and hesitant. In a film full of fine actors (James Mason, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, Milo O'Shea, Lindsay Crouse, etc.), Newman still manages to give the best performance. It's an unbelievably great performance and a great companion piece to The Hustler -- "Fast Eddie" Felson after life has chewed him up and spit him out.
Unfortunately, Paul Newman, once again, did not win the Oscar for Best Actor -- Ben Kingsley won for Ghandi. Unlike with The Hustler, however, Newman wasn't really robbed, but was actually the victim of bad luck. Kingsley was born to play Ghandi and gave the performance of his life. In most other years, Newman probably would have run away with the Oscar. In 1982, however, he had the bad luck to be up against an actor who literally became one of the most revered and admired men in history. While no one can say that Kingsley didn't deserve the honor, it is still a shame that Paul Newman did not win an Oscar for his flawed, weak and defeated Frank Galvin.
(For Part 1 see The Hustler)...more info
The Verdict is one of the most powerful films I've ever seen in my life. Frankly, I'm not sure what to rave over more--Newman's acting ability or the script itself. Imagining a physically gifted and charismatic man like Newman as an alcoholic loser on his last legs is not an easy thing to do, but his performance accomplishes this seamlessly. As for Mason, what a loss his death was because even nearing the end of his life he could do absolutely everything. His portrayal of Concannon is quite amazing. In O'Shea, Warden, and Rampling the lesser characters become quite major, and the courtroom finale is so good that I watched it several times over again. This should be on everyone's Top 50 list, in my humble opinion. ...more info
- An acting lesson from from Paul Newman puts this one over
"The Verdict" is a powerful film about a down-and-out lawyer - played by Paul Newman - who has a last chance to redeem himself in a medical negligence case. David Mamet's script has enough holes in it to drive a bulldozer through but a superlative performance by Newman and equally great direction from Sidney Lumet put this one over....more info
- The STRONG should PROTECT the WEAK--or slaying the "judicial/bureaucratic" Goliaths!
Paul Newman is great as a despairing, alcoholic "David", once second in his law class, once part of a prestigious law firm, once married...till he dared to stand up to his dishonest law firm owner/and father-in-law who wanted to fix a jury.
The above is past history...just mentioned in the film.
It is some years after, and alcoholic Newman, with only 4 cases in the last few years,
...has an epiphany...where his youthful religious and ethical training reawakens as he gets the picture, so to speak, of a woman treated unjustly, whom he can help.
He forgets himself and his troubles, and the people who have pushed him around,
...and starts fighting for the brain damaged young woman...against the hospital and doctors who damaged her. He will later awaken the conscience (as the movie hints) of one of the "Goliaths" he goes up against.
However, there are pitfalls... as opposing lawyer Concannon is not above using any trick---or person...to destroy the case.
Paul Newman's epiphany scene (which I won't describe further to spoil it for you, but which is clearly recognizable) is quite moving.
His Goliaths include: The biased, hostile Judge, the "Prince of Darkness" superlawyer Concannon (played well by James Mason, always good at suave villians), the doctors and **most** of the attending support staff who attended the unfortunate Deborah Ann Kaye,
...and the somewhat hesitant Bishop Brophy, head of St. Catherine's, the hospital where Mrs. Kaye lost her baby and suffered massive brain damage.
Set in Boston, a largely Catholic city (I am told) we here have nominal Catholics pitted against those of their denomination who take the Christian "Good Samaritan" story seriously.
My family caution: There are some cuss words and a brief suggestion of a bedroom scene.
The Verdict implies the barely seen 12 who also are key players...the jury, who must deliver the verdict.
Will they go with the letter of the law? Or---its spirit? (If you are familiar with this phrase from the Christian faith, you have the answer...)
(Hint of spoiler below)
My wish is that brain injured Terri Schiavo had had a jury
who could see the spirit of the law!
Instead we had lots of judges fighting turf wars against a Congress that dared
(how DARE they question the unquestionable judges seemed to be the attitude) to merely ask for a second look at the whole case. Meanwhile, Terri slowly starved to death...Shame on us! Shades of Nazi Eugenics!!! ...more info
- Evil church coverup put right by Mr Paul Newman
This is a classic instance of casting against type with the "star" Paul Newman cast as a loser. He portrays an alcoholic ambulance-chasing lawyer who comes good and defeats the evil Catholic Church who were attempting to avoid, or at least minimise, a negligence payout against a medical slip-up. Despite this melodramatic synopsis, the excellent script by David Mamet and direction by the great Sidney Lumet ( the social conscience of American cinema)provides a strong basis for some truly superb acting by the likes of Milo O'Shea as a cranky judge and James Mason as the oily supercilious lawyer of Boston's most prestigious law firm. But Paul Newman, who grew out of the James Dean/Marlon Brando school of mannered method, gives his best performance as an actor, plagued as he has been by those blue eyes, mixed scripts and mannered performances in many many films. ALL of the actors give good performances and how they must have relished the opportunity to work on writing worthy of their talents. Although 20 years old, THE VERDICT is as modern and as relevant as today's New York Times. I've watched it about a dozen times and it holds up better than the great majority of films made in that strange era - the 1980's.
Well worth owning....more info
- Tremendous Actor
This was a great role for Paul Newman. He was simply brilliant in his portrayal of the down-trodden Frank Galvin, esq. Good storyline as well. ...more info
- Great film and an unforgettable acting performance
Frank Galvin (Paul Newman) is on a downward slide as an ambulence-chasing alcoholic lawyer when his associate (Jack Warden) tries to slap him out of his stupor in order to remind him that he is throwing away an opportunity to get back on his feet. Galvin starts going through the motions of collecting information about a case that involves a young child-bearing woman who suffered brain damage as a result of being given the wrong anaesthesia. Some of his old fight comes back to him when he starts to realize the negligence involved, and before he has thought much about it, he starts on the path of what he takes to be doing the right thing. But doing the right thing can be a formidible undertaking. He had once lost a prestigious job and his wife had divorced him after he tried to do right thing. Now, as he struggles to clear out the cobwebs, before he realizes it, he has managed to alienate almost everyone, including his previously very trusting clients, and faces almost all by himself a power structure that is aware of and capable of subverting his every move.
The judge (Milo O'Shea) is always eating in his chambers, the defense attorney (James Mason) and his legions of lawyers are constantly winking and nodding at each other: they are like caricatures used as devices to condense the viciousness of self-interest. The greatness of this film especially concerns the script and the acting force of Paul Newman. The contrast is striking between the muddled, uncertain man on the verge of being a complete failure and the flashes of brilliance that he shows as he fights with his back against the wall. Some of the oratory has a Shakespearian quality to it....more info
- The jury is the law, when they are not afraid
In many ways it is a great film. It is a film about justice and how crooked it is. Justice is not interested in truth but in respecting some procedures, some rules that only aim at protecting the powerful. The flaw in that system is not the judges who are unbreakable walls keeping the defense counselors of the victims in their place, which is in the margin of the case. The flaw is the jury when there is one and when this jury is not crooked, bought up, bribed or simply afraid. This jury has all powers they can dream of in their hands as for making justice and making the law, the common law of jurisprudence. But what can a jury be afraid of? Many things. In this film it is not the racial problem. It is not the social problem either. This case has to do with hospitals and medicine and doctors. The fear is enormous because these jurors could be patients one day in the hands of the very doctors they are trying for negligence and malpractice. And that is the argument of the film. A judge can accept a surprise witness and even a document that he should not accept to cover his back in case the defense should appeal his decision, the court's decision or even question his competence and fairness. But in the end he crosses out the witness and the piece of evidence she was bringing because a certain procedure and a certain jurisprudence was at stake, though he could have decided to go over it since jurisprudence can be changed by any decision of any court or judge, and in that case the doctors and their lawyers could not have appealed since then the lethal witness would not have been a surprise witness any more, but part of the investigation. But it goes beyond these simple facts. The lawyers of the doctors are bribing everyone when they can, especially the nurses who witnessed the negligence and malpractice. They even pay a spy to infiltrate the defense lawyer's office of the doctors' victim. In other words they are rotten. They don't do their best. They win. At least they do all they can to win no matter what, no matter how. And that's when the flaw in the system works properly for once and the doctors are severely convicted and sentenced. But, the film is sad, very sad indeed. For one case to work like this one in a film, in virtual reality, how many work the other way round in real reality? The film is all the more efficient in our own minds because the lawyer of the victim, played by Paul Newman, is shown to be completely at a loss in front of life, unsure, unsafe and definitely decomposed to the point of appearing as a failure due to some past and present circumstances. His doubts are our doubts and if we doubt it's good for justice and for us because we may not believe any more and we may require proof and evidence and certainty about the fairness of that justice whose flaw works for us, the victims, one every so often in a blue moon.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
- Newman Should Have Won His Oscar Here
This role is the absolute pinnacle of Paul Newman's acting career. He did it all here under the direction of Sidney Lumet and writing of David Mamet, the masters of gritty, hard hitting drama. Newman plays a washed up, alcoholic attorney who is so on the skids that he shows up at the wakes of people he never met so as to get the probate work from their estates. This is even worse than being an ambulance chaser (attorney who follows victims to hospitals). He gets a shot at redeeming himself with a medical malpractice case involving a surgical patient who never recovered from her anesthesia. Expiation and redemption are pivotal in this film and if you like that as a theme, and I do, this film is especially for you. Newman's character is up against a huge law firm that specializes in defending these cases with James Mason playing the lead lawyer. Charlotte Rampling, at the peak of her allure, also tries to tempt Newman away from his fledgling attempt to walk the straight and narrow in law and life. In lesser hands, this could have been mawkish. However, with Lumet, Mamet and Newman at the helm, it is absolutely superb. There is a scene with a ringing phone that goes unanswered that I've never forgotten, one of the best scenes on film that exists....more info
I found this movie terrible--the acting, especially of Paul Newman--was lackluster. He seemed to be half-asleep throughout the role. There was nothing gripping about this story. And there were quite a few plotholes that made the story UNBELIEVABLE, especially the forced, contrived ending. It is highly overrated so don't waste your money buying it--there are so many better courtroom dramas around....more info
- Excellent, a must for your collection
Produced in 1982, this drama directed by Sidney Lumet staring the great Paul Newman. The Verdict is about alcoholic Boston lawyer Frank Galvin whose best years are behind him. Galvin is given a chance to redeem him legal career by proving medical negligence in the case of a comatose woman. Galvin is in for the fight of his career taking on the political power of the church. The film is an excellent drama worthy studing for both its moral and humanistic view. The Verdict ranks as a signature performance by one of America's greatest actors and Oscar winners....more info
- If only all courtroom dramas were as good as this one...
Okay, so like this past month I've been spoiling myself, watching just about every movie Paul Newman ever made and I'm seriously ready to announce him to greatest actor who ever walked the face of this planet (I'm so sorry Russ...I still love you). `The Verdict' may honestly be my all time favorite performance by him, for it was so far and away from all that he had created in his previous performances. It was a real `Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt' type role; removed from his signature role yet just as infectious and quite possibly even more unbelievably brilliant.
In `The Verdict' Newman plays Frank Galvin, an aging lawyer whose heyday is far behind him and so he has found himself drinking away his sorrows. Frank is given a chance to revive his career when he is handed a medical malpractice suit. Frank has to fight an uphill battle littered with a biased judge, deceitful friends and his own bad habits that always seem to get in his way.
If there is a fault to be had with `The Verdict' it's that the film is predictable, but I have to question whether that is really a fault these days when it seems that the majority of movies are.
The film rises above any and all faults with a slew of marvelously fleshed out performances, not just from Newman but from everyone. James Mason is smooth and devilish as Ed Concannon, the lawyer going up against Frank, and Jack Warden is wonderfully complementing of Newman as his best friend and colleague Mickey. Charlotte Rampling is beautifully elusive as Laura Fischer, and Milo O'Shea is memorable and engaging as Judge Hoyle.
This film belongs to Paul Newman though. He creates one of his greatest characters in Jack Galvin, showing immensely well the growing conflict within his own person. He embellishes this man's drunken pride marvelously, and delivers to us a weathered and worn individual who is yearning for something greater than the sum of his own parts. With a rasp reminiscent of Clint Eastwood, and a cowering demeanor that adds layers to this man's back-story, Newman delivers his finest screen performance, the performance for which he should have won the Oscar.
Courtroom dramas are very easy to ruin. You have to have an engaging cast to compliment an engaging story that is told through the eyes of an engaging director. Thanks to three very engaging men (actor-Newman, writer-Mamet, director-Lumet) we have a marvelously crafted film that hits every mark extremely well. This will have you at the edge of your seat and it will leave you there long after the film has concluded.
A big `BRAVO' to everyone involved....more info
- Essential Cinema
A powerhouse drama, "The Verdict" (1982) is more socially relevant when seen today. Director Sidney Lumet elicits a classic performance from Paul Newman as a faded attorney seeking redemption in a malpractice case. David Mamet's detailed script provides memorable roles for James Mason, Jack Warden, Charlotte Rampling, Milo O'Shea and Lindsay Crouse - a truly outstanding cast. The words in Newman's final summation should be set in stone....more info
- My Favorite Newman Role -- Hands Down!
It's an awesome experience watching Paul Newman play the role of down-and-almost-out attorney Frank Galvin in The Verdict; not to mention James Mason, Jack Warden, and Charlotte Rampling; all given "classic" understated direction by Sidney Lumet. As has been pointed out by another reviewer here, what lets the film down a bit and keeps it from being a legal drama for the ages is that this great performance is draped in a script which shamelessly flaunts nearly every clich¨¦ imaginable -- like that one spaghetti sauce, it's all in there! It's a credit to Newman and the other principals that The Verdict is as gripping and memorable as it is -- a triumph of character, resonance, and dramatic texture over mere plot. It's like hearing Furtw?ngler conducting Beethoven's Ninth -- you might have heard the work dozens of times before, but not like this!...more info
- Act as though you have faith, and faith shall be given to you
His words to the jury, a petition for strength for them against great odds, for himself against greater odds, for a system sometimes blind to justice, and for the victim of negligence who has no voice, puts a lump in your throat today 25 years after the release of 'The Verdict.'
TV bytes and news reports of lawyers' greed today have surpassed the image of scoundrels as nearly all of us now just leave them to their money-grubbing best. And the courage and brilliance of "Brown v. Board" and "Heart of Atlanta" exemplifying courageous men and women doing what is best fade into a distant past. But once in while a movie ('Mockingbird') comes along and moves powerfully to recall what it was that attracted us to the beauty of this ancient profession: to do what is right, or even better, to do what is right against great odds.
Frank Galvin, drunk, ambulance chaser, liar, failure, had that dream once but a mistake, an error of judgemnt, a naive trust in loyalty that was gravely misplaced led him to where he is now, sucking on breath mints and bourbon, handing out cards, working for booze money.
His old friend Jack Warden handed him a case, a no-brainer, a lovely Irish girl who went into labor and came out brain dead. The Defendants? A squeaky clean, Chaired, lauded, published and handsome OBGYN and . . . . the Diocese of Boston. And Frank's going to cave. Hell. It's the eve of trial and he's been drunk through the 24 months of discovery. And then he prepares for the Settlement Conference with the Dfense Lawyer, James Mason (just positively brilliant) and goes to the girls hospital room where she is machine fed and takes photos. But a funny thing happens. Lke Marcellus (Burton) winning the Robe in the lottery at the foot of the cross or a drunk at his first AA meeting, Frank's not sure but something's different. And he begins to wonder if maybe this time he won't cave.
Great, morbid, wry, ironic, gallows humor. Warden says after the Settlement Conference, "whadja' think of (Mason)?" Galvin: He's good. Warden: Good? He's the [. . . . .] Prince of Darkness.
A cast that you have heard of and seen a thousand times and some that you would never see again all working together to bring you a blue collar story of the good thief. I don't know that there is a better trial movie.
People say that Newman lost but wasn't robbed for the Oscar because Ben Kingley was so wonderful in Ghandi.
He was robbed. 5 stars. Larry Scantlebury ...more info
- Paul Newman does it again.
Frank Galvin (Paul Newman) appears to be a dried up, alcoholic attorney that seems more interested in chasing ambulances and drinking then actually working. When a friend, Mickey Morrissey (Jack Warden), gets him a cut and dry case of medical negligence, Frank has to decide whether he wants to sober up and take it. Eventually Frank has something of a revelation that a grave injustice has taken place here (a young woman is in a coma because she was given the wrong anesthetic) and instead of settling for the pittance that was initially offered, Frank decides to take the case to court. Everything and everyone seems to be working against him, from the Judge (Milo O'Shea) to his newfound girlfriend (Charlotte Rampling) to his expert witness (Joe Seneca). But, believing this case is worth pursuing, Frank pushes it through to the end and is surprised by the result.
The more movies I see with Paul Newman in them the more I realize that he is a superb actor. He offers another brilliant portrayal in this movie and, frankly, is pretty much the entire movie. The other characters seem to be hanging on to his coattails.
The movie is interesting, but the story is not particularly astounding. You can pretty much guess what is going to happen in the end because pretty much every court case that is turned into a movie is a victory for the underdog. However, the court case, though it does serve to make or break the man, is really only peripheral to the transformation we see in Frank which is the focus of the movie....more info
- Best of Newman and full of memorable lines
I've loved Newman, especially as he's taken on older character roles - Nobody's Fool of course stands out - but this is where the great 3rd act of his career started. The first two acts, hot bod Newman of the H-films, and buddy Newman of Butch Cassidy and the Sting, have their charms, but here he's all grown up, having to decide if he's going to keep being a youngster, or finally sholder responsibility.
However, what I espeically love of this film are its many memorable scenes and lines. They pile up fast. "This is the case - there is no other case." "You wanted to come back to the world. Well, welcome back." Of course, when he decks Charlotte Rampling in a bar, he says nothing, but his face speaks volumes. Finally, my favorite, by Milo O'Shea, as he closes the door on Newman's plea for more time - "I have no sympathy for you."
All must be seen in context to judge their impact. So do that, buy the film, and judge for yourself.
An all time favorite....more info
a very powerful performance film by both paul newman and jack warden
a film of the past delivers
jack warden was underrated but in this film he certainly gives his bst
paul newman was always an excellent actor...more info
- Newman and Mason clash in Oscar nominated roles
Sidney Lumet was fortunate that Paul Newman was giving one of the best performances of his distinguished career in front of the camera on "The Verdict," because this 1982 courtroom drama has a fatal flaw that might othrwise have sunk the film. I do not know if the fault lies with David Mamet's screenplay or Barry Reed's original novel, but one of them is definitely the guilty party in this film that otherwise features a steallar script and grand performances from a veteran cast.
Newman, in an Oscar nominated role, is Frank Galvin, a cynical and alcoholic ambulance chaser who is tossed a bone by old friend Mickey Morrissey (Jack Warden) in the form of a personal injury suit. A young woman went into a hospital, owned by the Roman Catholic Church, was given the wrong anesthetic, became comatose, and is never coming back. The idea is that Frank will do the paperwork, accept the settlement offer, and go back to sinking into oblivion. But circumstances convince him to get his day in court and go for broke.
One of the key dyanmics of this film is that even as Galvin has sunk so low as a lawyer, his opponent, Ed Concannon (James Mason, also deservedly nominated for an Oscar) represents one of the most corrupt large corporate law films in film history. Concanno will literally do everything possible to defend his client, as we see over the course of the film. Clearly the goal for Concanno is not justice but victory, while for Galvin the two become one in the same. Mason's performance is as strong as Newman's, mainly because Mamet has written some great scenes for each actor's character. But then, think of what is involved to make Newman the underdog in a major Hollywood movie.
The flaw in the movie comes when we learn that while Concanno has an army of associates as well as a large law firm and the weight of the local archdioesce behind him, Galvin might actually have the truth on his side. The case comes down to the claim of a proverbial last minute surprise witness as to what "really" happened and exactly what was the mistake that made the young woman brain dead. This becomes more than a case of contradictory testimony but one of contradictory records as well. At this point the every ready Concanno pulls out the appropriate legal precedent to have the piece of evidence thrown out. The judge agrees, Galvin throws a fit, and the verdict comes down to what sort of an empassioned speech our heroes gives in his closing.
The only problem is that the rule is wrong, and even viewers whose legal background consists of several seasons of "L.A. Law," "Law & Order," "The Practice" or even "Ally McBeal" can probably spot the flaw in the judge's reasoning. Even if they cannot come up with a sound legal basis for overturning the ruling, they will recognize on a fundamental level that this is just not right. I have every reason to believe that the twelves jurors true sitting in judgment of the case recognize the sense of injustice as well and just might have their minds made up before Galvin's closing argument.
Granted, most viewers are probably not as offended by this plot device as I am, especially given the mesmirizing performances of Newman and Mason. But I cannot get away from the idea that the flaw robs Newman of his climactic moment. Given the facts of the case there might not be any way around that particular legal predicament, but that would be a crime of a different nature....more info
- Is there a 6th star??
This is one of Paul Newman's greatest performances and truly is a phenomenal script. I have had this movie on loop and it gets better every time. His summation argument at the end of the movie is second to none. It's about 5 minutes long and there is no cut in filming. Keep that in mind as you are watching and you will begin to understand the true genius of Mr. Newman. The cinematography is outstanding as well. ...more info
- The Verdict Is In
Director Sidney Lumet's The Verdict from 1982 stars Paul Newman as Frank Galvin. Frank is a washed-up alcoholic Boston lawyer who has been reduced to ambulance chasing to earn a living. One particularly strong scene that shows the depths to which Frank has sank comes when he is forcibly removed from a funeral home by a grieving family after he tries to wrangle a case out of the death. Frank is content to spend his time at a local bar getting drunk and shooting pinball until his pal Mickey (played wonderfully by Jack Warden) gives him a surefire winning civil case. The lawsuit involves a comatose woman who was misdiagnosed in a Catholic hospital. The Church wants to avoid an embarrassing trial and offers a healthy settlement. But Frank sees a chance to win big bucks and rejects the settlement to go to trial against a big law firm lead by defense attorney Frank Concannon (played with an icy swarm by James Mason). In the interim, Frank becomes involved with Laura Fischer (Charlotte Rampling) who is actually working for Concannon's firm trying to dig up information on Frank's strategy. Another effective scene is where Frank finds out about Laura's deception and smacks across the face in a hotel bar. Laura has fallen for Frank and understands and accepts the blow. The film's main plot is the legal battle between the big and powerful Church and hospital and the helpless little guy, but the real crux of the film is Frank's struggles for redemption. Mr. Newman's performance may well be the best of his career. You root for Frank not just to win the case, but the overcome the demons he has been struggling with for so long. Mr. Newman's performance is deeply nuanced and he shows his brilliance throughout. The film was nominated for 1982 Best Picture, Director & Actor, but was swept away by the Gandhi tide of that year....more info
- A STORY OF BETRAYAL
One of Paul Newman's best performances. It's the fourth or the fifth time I've seen the film. Indispensable....more info
- Outstanding performance
To me this is Paul Newmans finest performance. It has everything that makes a great movie. It's the kind of movie that draws you in where you forget who the actor is and just identify with the character. Even after being stepped on and left for dead by dark forces, a man of compassion and hope emerges in one case that could change the lives of so many. ...more info
- Boston legal thriller, minus the accents.
Surely one of the top 10 "boozer" movies of all time. Paul Newman plays the lush/lawyer. Jack Warden is Newman's law school teacher and collaborator in their Woodward and Bernstein-style assault against the medical establishment. James Mason plays an Irish-American attorney, leading the green-shoe law firm (replacing the white-shoe Yankee version) that defends the Archdiocese of Boston and the doctors who botched a woman's surgery.
It's eerie to watch a 1982 movie dealing with a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Boston knowing that the Roman Church was covering for pedophile priests during the period the movie was set. This 2007 viewer was half-expecting Newman and Warden to come across the pedophilia.
I was amused at not hearing much in the way of Boston accents from most of the movie's actors. Perhaps an oversight. Perhaps accents disappear at high levels of the legal and medical professions.
"The Verdict" is a great primer on how to deal with betrayal and loss of idealism. Newman, in a riveting performance, follows the dictum of the great philospher/economist Ludwig von Mises -- "Don't give it to the evil but proceed ever stronger against it." Neocons reading this should not take this sentiment as an endorsement for attacking any country or person that talks bad about America and Israel.
- Thank God it's on DVD
This is by far one of the best (if not the best) courtroom drama ever made. It is also in my opinion Paul Newman's best preformance. He plays an Alcoholic Ambulance chasing lawyer who gets the case to save his career. It however is not as formulaic as it my sound. James Mason also comes in with one of his last fine appearances on film. I have been checking for the release on this movie since I got my DVD player. Have never seen it in Widescreen and can not wait.
Lumet fans should also take notice, the director of A Dog Day Afternoon, Running on Empty and 12 Angry Men created one of his best in this movie.
The Verdict also includes the best slap in movie history, (you'll have to watch it to see what I mean.)...more info
- Lumet VO reveals him as a great craftsman and serious artist
Recalling stuff 25 years after a great picture is hard enough, but
when fans of the original film listen to Sydney, they can be persnickety.
While it was illuminating to learn that the bar in The Verdict was also used in Coppola's film, Godfather II, Lumet identifies it as being from the original. He also misses the location of the school he used: he says
it was Marymount, but you can tell right away it was Sacred Heart.
This was a truly great film, and Lumet's narration is never uninteresting.
Seeing Bruce Willis as an extra in the courtroom should be a lesson to all young actors that extra work is not beneath him; at times it can be above them....more info
- the film lets down the star
THE VERDICT is one of Paul Newman's most celebrated performances. He plays a down-at-the-heels lawyer named Frank Galvin who lucks his way into a big case involving two doctors who have been horribly negligent, sending a young woman into a coma.
Newman wonderfully gets at Galvin's desperation, and how he fights through an alcoholic haze. It's a thoughtfully worked out performance centered around Newman's wonderfully expressive eyes. Sadly, the rest of THE VERDICT could be taught in a Courtroom Movie Cliche 101 class. The lone lawyer vs the big firm (led by James Mason), altered documents, surprise witnesses, shenanigans by the hospital, it's all here. Even though I enjoyed the acting and the Boston atmosphere, I saw a lot of the plot coming.
The cast includes Jack Warden as Newman's only friend, Joe Seneca, Lindsay Crouse, Wesley Addy, and a chilly Charlotte Rampling as a mysterious woman who crosses Newman's path. The commentary by director Sidney Lumet is of the "everybody was great/this is where we shot" variety....more info
- Perry Mason in Rehab
This is one of those mystery/suspense movies that I can watch over and over because it is so well made. "The Verdict" stars Paul Newman in one of his best roles. It was a tough year for Best Actor Oscar in 1982 but it's still a shame he didn't win it then. He plays a ambulance-chasing attorney who spends too much time drinking his lunch and too little researching his limited work. A friend of his with some connections steers a fairly routine lawsuit his way but even that case he manages to mess up. Having tossed away a large out-of-court settlement, he now has to make his case against a well-staffed powerful opponent. That's probably more of the plot than needs to be revealed so I'll leave it at that.
Like most excellent movies, "The Verdict" combines excellent writing directing and acting. The supporting cast includes great preformances by James Mason and Jack Warden. There are twists and turns as the movie evolves into a great courtroom drama.
Newman is outstanding in his portrayal of a man who suddenly realizes that he is about to blow his last chance at making something of his life. The writer and director gave him the opportunity and he delivered with a home run. This is one of those movies that would be enjoyable for all but the very young. If you haven't seen it yet, then it's about time. ...more info
- Don't buy this for the Paul Newman commentary
This classic tale of redemption is certainly a must-have for any lover of great films. My only complaint is that the commentary is billed as being by both the director Sidney Lumet and Paul Newman but Newman's contribution is maybe a minute long, comes almost at the ending of the film and is not even scene specific....more info
- Newman's Best
With over 70 films to his credit Paul Newman is one of the industry's icons. He's famous for Butch Cassidy, The Sting, and many more, but his performance in the Verdict, for which he was nominated for the Best Actor Award, is in my view his best. Were it not for being up against Ben Kingsley that year as Gandhi, Newman surely would have garnered the award.
This is a really good film with great performances, not just by Newman. For Paul Newman fans, this is a must watch. ...more info
- A Flawless, Amazing Piece of Work
I watched this again for the umpteenth time, last night. Whenever I'm writing- at some point I go to several books and films that have inspired me throughout the years. Thankfully- they never fail to re-inspire or recharge the batteries.
This film is one of them. It is an amazing piece of work. From Mamet's writing to Lumet's dark, simple and absolutely direct staging- to the gifts of having Mason, Warden, Rampling and O'Shea is gold. And finally- the fact that they have Paul Newman willing to do and give the performance he gives here.... The best he has ever been and that's saying a lot because he's given a lot.
What I love the most about this film is how it's a re-affirmation of the human spirit; of how, regardless of the damage that life can inflict, the corruptness or competitiveness that can muddy and distort love, respect, dignity and truth- ultimately a spirit that knows that truth can and must prevail. The one line " there is no other case... there is just this case " says it all for me.
I also love the ending. I remember the impact it had when I saw it in the theatre for the first time. Almost everyone left the theatre that night, whispering about it. The opinions, divided. It was a marvelous 'is the cup half empty or half full'? Forgiveness or silence?
For those who have not seen this yet- as others have said in their reviews, it is a must see. Trust me when I say- it's one for your own personal library. It's a keeper and one that you should pull out from time to time, too. And for all the right reasons....more info