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Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies Paperback – April 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0740754609 ISBN-10: 0740754602 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0740754602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0740754609
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.1 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this informative, entertaining, and unique book, the authors, two UCLA law professors, dissect a broad cross section of courtroom films with wit, humor, and professional expertise but without any stilted legal jargon. They organize the films into categories ranging from true stories (Inherit the Wind), comedy (My Cousin Vinny), and military (A Few Good Men) to lawyer/client relationships (Jagged Edge), civil cases (Kramer vs. Kramer), and unusual judges/jurors (The Devil and Daniel Webster). A succinct plot and character synopsis for each film is followed by a legal analysis of the case that discusses evidence, legal procedures, testimonies, juries, validity of actions by the attorneys, and more. The authors raise a number of provocative questions and suggest that arriving at true justice is not always a straightforward affair. Very enjoyable reading, this book will be appreciated by film enthusiasts as well as by those interested in the various legal, social, and ethical dilemmas in the films. For circulating libraries.?Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, N.J.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Paul Bergman is a professor of law emeritus at UCLA Law School and frequently lectures to lawyers and judges on how films depict law and legal culture. He has written numerous articles on the depiction of law and lawyers in films, as well as several books on evidence, trial advocacy, legal counseling, and legal processes for non-lawyers.

Michael Asimow is professor of law emeritus at UCLA Law School. He specializes in administrative law and has written numerous books and articles about law and lawyers in movies and television, including Law and Popular Culture: A Course Book.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Zeldock on August 24, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a lawyer, I did not expect that a book on movie trials, aimed at a popular audience, would have much substance. But I was very pleasantly suprised. The authors, two law professors, do an excellent job of pointing out the numerous errors Hollywood makes when it tries to depict a trial. (Most non-lawyers would be surprised, for example, to learn that *My Cousin Vinny* is much more realistic than *The Verdict.*) The authors' discussions go into real (but not tedious) depth about not only the errors in the way judges, lawyers, etc., behave on film, but also the mistakes scriptwriters make in creating tactics and legal theories for their characters. In addition, the authors helpfully explain what would (most likely) *really* happen in many filmed situations. Because the authors treat each movie at length, this is not an exhaustive filmography. However, all the biggies are here, and the book also contains usefully organized indexes. This would be a great selection for lawyers, film buffs, or anyone who has to serve on a jury.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Mann VINE VOICE on January 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
Few can escape an active filmgoing life without a twisted view of the law. For as many accurate depictions of courtroom behavior as there are in films, there must be dozens that are not even close. Objections that are baseless and would be laughed out of a real court are routinely sustained in films, for example, while thoroughly objectionable conduct, such as attorneys routinely arguing rather than questioning during examinations, goes unchallenged. Law professors Michael Asimow and Paul Bergman have taken their legal skills and their love of films and combined them in what is a relatively unique film and video guide. While they do adopt the trappings of more familiar video guides (such as rating films on a scale up to four gavels), they provide far more considered reviews than one is likely to find in any other guide (with the notable exception of Roger Ebert's). Both authors are professors at the UCLA School of Law, and they use their considerable contacts at the school to the greatest possible advantage, drawing on the years of learning of nationwide experts in various fields of law. "Reel Justice" is both a celebration of the filmed courtroom battle and an examination of the law underlying the films. All too often, the authors expose the legal lunacy in films, pointing out just how egregiously in error the film is. Where a film is correct, they dutifully point that out, too. Though there may be spots in which the layperson finds the going tough, "Reel Justice" is generally accessible to those without a J.D., and it demystifies the legal system that Hollywood strives so valiently to mystify. Probably, though, the best use for the book is after one sees the movie.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Brown on June 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
Narayan of Rebeccasreads highly recommends REEL JUSTICE as a great companion for the courtroom movie buff.

"Every third Hollywood movie is bound to be a courtroom drama/ legal thriller." Not 100% true -- every third movie every produced is bound to be one. The fascination with law, lawyers & courtrooms is not restricted to Hollywood -- it also holds true for Bollywood (Hindi movies) & Mollywood -- the Malayalam movie industry over here in Kerala, India -- where I'm from.

But how real are the concepts of law, courtroom & lawyers presented in movies? Through a finely selected collection of movies -- law professors & exponents in law & popular culture -- authors Paul Bergman & Michael Asimow explain where fact ends & fiction begins in some of the all-time classic movies from around the world.

Though I've seen many of the courtroom classics discussed in REEL JUSTICE, I'm off to pick up CDs of those I'd never heard of.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Courtrooms are the scenes of many of our greatest dramas, both on film and in real life. So it's no surprise that a book reviewing the legal and dramatic merits of dozens of law-related movies is a great read.
You learn a lot about the law through the authors' explanations of what famous trial scenes in the movies were based in actual law or not. And you get lots of insights into the making of many excellent movies.
Not only did I enjoy this book enormously, I've also used it as a guide for what movies to rent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By RWBerkeley@aol.com on November 8, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a generally well written and informative book that does well what it sets out to do. The legal analyses are nothing if not jurisprudentially educational, and indeed, for any movie listed within, these synopses will probably provide you with a much more thourough and insightful critique than you would get with Siskel, Ebert et.al. A particularly good gift for any lawyer who loves the cinema.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By benboy on May 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've read the new and older edition. Both are great, though the newer edition is even more fun and informative. There's a new feature, 'Picturing Justice' that provides an analysis of how cinema art -- the direction, imagery and screenwriting -- can add an extra dimension to judicial themes. This is a welcom edition for any cinema or legal library. And it's pretty witty, as well.
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