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The Verdict [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Milo O'Shea
  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Writers: Barry Reed, David Mamet, Jay Presson Allen
  • Producers: Burtt Harris, David Brown, Richard D. Zanuck
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
  • VHS Release Date: June 4, 2002
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (301 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301599896
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,822 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

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

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Beusch VINE VOICE on May 15, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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 stands out. 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.
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86 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 7, 2004
Format: DVD
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.
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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin J Burgraff VINE VOICE on June 21, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Christopher on April 12, 2002
Format: DVD
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.Read more ›
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james mason lost to lou gossett? pathetic
More pathetic is that Paul Newman lost the Best Actor Oscar to Ben Kingsley for 'Gandhi'. In my opinion, 'The Verdict' proudly stands as Newman's all-time finest performance.
May 30, 2013 by Robert Bykowski |  See all 5 posts
the connection between Laura and Concannon--what was it?
As I remember, she is his daughter.And he pays her to spy on Newman and reveal his trial stratagems.
Oct 4, 2013 by Kenneth T. White |  See all 2 posts
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