The Paper Chase
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This filmization of John Jay Osborn Jr.'s novel Paper Chase ended up one of the surprise hits of the 1973-74 movie season. Timothy Bottoms stars as the Minnesotan Hart, a brilliant but naive first-year student at the Harvard Law School. Like most of his fellow aspiring attorneys, Hart is in fearful awe of his demanding, ego-deflating instructor, Professor Kingsfield (John Houseman). He is not so much intimidated by Kingsfield, however, as to resist falling in love with the professor's pretty daughter (Lindsay Wagner). An eminent theatrical and film producer, John Houseman won an Oscar… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The Paper Chase has some great performances, literate screenwriting, sensitive direction and handsome production."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Houseman is able to project subtleties of character even while appearing stiff and unrelenting; it's a performance of Academy Award quality, and resulted in an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Essentially, this is a military school plot with a change of venue."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Frightening drama of life in law school. Houseman is terrific."
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
"It's intelligent, entertaining and ultimately uplifting, but never really gets to the heart of the class struggle (academic and social) that's taking place."
‑ , Film4
"A muddled and slick 'youth' film."
‑ , Time Out
"James Bridges manages to do a fair job with the semihokey material."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Houseman owns you whenever he's on camera."
‑ Christopher Null,
"The Paper Chase is sort of charmless."
‑ Bill Chambers, Film Freak Central
"Simply an intelligent film about intelligent people."
‑ Shay Casey, Film Written Magazine
"By the end it has melted into a blob of clichés."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"The love of learning is tops in classic law school tale."
‑ S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
"Solid (if dated) college-years drama."
‑ Scott Weinberg,
"John Houseman takes center stage with his near-perfect depiction of an imposing law school professor."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
More reviews for The Paper Chase on Rotten Tomatoes