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Movie Review: The Verdict by Paul Newman


The Verdict by starring Paul Newman is a movie that falls under the drama genre. The 129 minutes film is a 20th Century Fox production and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has rated it R. even though this movie is a classic since it was produced in 1982, it still captures the issues that affect the society today. The only difference is the setting and production of the movie which appears old due to the advances in technology in use in the film industry today. This movie review establishes the reasons why The Verdict is an outstanding production in the courtroom dramas. 

The Verdict is a masterpiece in many dimensions. The edition and pace of cinematography are some of the articulately done pieces that set this film above other courtroom dramas. In addition, the main actor is the legend, Paul Newman whose characteristic interaction with the movie setting create momentous occasion to the audience. The main actor Frank Galvin (Paul Newman) begins his life in the movie at the lowest moment and he rises up the legal practice to gain self-respect in the dodgy events surrounding the corridors of justice. The Verdict is an entertaining fiction film presented in the even though it does not capture the modern day realities.

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The Plot

Frank is considered one of the best legal minds in Massachusetts in the past few years before he became an alcoholic. Alcoholism has destroyed his image professionally and he now resorts to scanning obituary section in the newspaper in an attempt to get clients. He grows frustrated to the extent that depression and habitual alcohol drinking destroy him. Luckily, his professional mentor Mickey comes to his rescue by giving him a winnable case in court.

In the case a healthy woman by the name Deborah Ann Kaye is in the labor ward to deliver her third born child. However, the doctor prescribes wrong anesthetic which results in a prolonged coma until the child dies. Frank meets both plaintiff and the defendants. The defendant is the Archdiocese of Boston and runs the Catholic hospital where the incident takes place. Deborah’s sister and brother-in-law want a settlement which can take care of the plaintiff but Frank declines that the case is strong. The archdiocese proposes that the matter be settled out of the court as it offers $210,000 to the victim. Deborah’s brother-in-law discovers that Frank has turned down the offer. The misery continues for Frank as his medical expert vanishes at a time when he faces high-priced attorney, Ed Concannon. The attorney has a big team of legal experts who have connections with the press. The presiding judge steps up the opportunity to block Frank’s questioning session while at the same time; witnesses do not want to testify.

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Mickey wants to take a cigarette out of Laura’s (Frank’s lover he met at a local bar) handbag and in the process; he sees cheque from Ed. This is evidence that Laura is just a spy from the defense team who provides vital information to the defense team to weaken the case. This revelation makes frank angry as he hits Laura’s face in their next meeting. At this point, there was an opportunity for Frank to have the case declared for mistrial, but he decides to carry on with the case.

The greatest moment unfolds on Frank’s side as he find outs the whereabouts of another witness who disappeared after the incident occurred. The new witness testifies how she was ordered to change her recordings on the admission form in a bid to hide an egregious mistake by the defendants. This revelation astonishes everybody in the courtroom. Ed’s attempt to discredit the witness’ observations further adds to the authenticity of her submission. Nonetheless, the judge orders that the new submissions from the woman be scrapped off from the records on the grounds of legal technicalities. At this moment, the audience is able to gauge whether the quest for justice is informed by witnesses’ submissions or by other forces behind the court sessions.   

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Frank then makes his final argument where he attempts to beseech the jury to deliver justice the plaintiff. The jury then returns to find out from the plaintiff if they are should give in to the amount asked by the plaintiff. The presiding judge rules that the jury has no limitation to the amount sought by the plaintiff; hence, the implication that the award will go beyond expectations. The curtains come down as Deborah, Mickey, and others present in the court congratulates Frank for his delivery. On the other side, Laura is from a distance. Frank is now reflecting about his new found lease of life as he ignores the ‘disturbing’ calls from Laura.


Most of the film magazines, websites, and other agencies in the industry highly rate The Verdict. The screenplay of The Verdict stands out as the 91st in the list of Greatest Screenplays ever produced. The script is done in an amazing manner given the biases of the judge against Frank’s case. There is an excellent use of the objects in the movie without much use of expository dialogue. This classical movie reflects on the events of the past decades in the courtroom but would find much viewership today.          

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