Anatomy of a Murder
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Based on the best-selling novel by Robert Traver (the pseudonym for Michigan Supreme Court justice John D. Voelker), Anatomy of a Murder stars James Stewart as seat-of-the-pants Michigan lawyer Paul Biegler. Through the intervention of his… More

Directed By:
Rated: G
Running Time:
Release Date: July 1, 1959
DVD Release Date: July 11, 2000
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Critic Score: 100% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: One of cinema's greatest courtroom dramas, Anatomy of a Murder is tense, thought-provoking, and brilliantly acted, with great performances from James Stewart and George C. Scott.

TIME Magazine

At 160 minutes, Anatomy is longer than the subject warrants, but the pace seldom slackens -- thanks to the competence of Director Otto Preminger.

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Jessica Winter
Time Out

Coolly absorbing, nonchalantly cynical.

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Adrian Turner
Radio Times

This is probably the greatest courtroom drama ever made and it features James Stewart's finest screen performance.

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Variety Staff

Preminger purposely creates situations that flicker with uncertainty, that may be evaluated in different ways. Motives are mixed and dubious, and, therefore, sustain interest.

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Bosley Crowther
New York Times

It is the best courtroom melodrama this old judge has ever seen.

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Matthew Sorrento
Film International

(Stewart's character) finishes the film an enigma, possibly the good go-getter of Capra but too much of a shadow.

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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

As an entertaining look at legal process, this is spellbinding all the way, infused by an ambiguity about human personality and motivation that is Preminger's trademark, and the location shooting is superb.

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Total Film

Otto Preminger's cynical view of the judicial system is curiously contemporary and still serves as a blueprint for numerous TV 'tec shows.

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Matt Brunson
Creative Loafing

Otto Preminger, no stranger to ruffling moral-watchdog feathers, never succumbs to the sleaziness inherent in the material, instead turning out an intelligent and tightly controlled drama that ranks as one of the all-time great courtroom procedurals.

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More reviews for Anatomy of a Murder

Flixster Audience Score: 91% Flixster User Reviews
Bob Stinson
I generally loathe courtroom dramas - (so tired!) - but this is a real good one. Terrific use of locations and location sound. One of the goofiest… More
Ken Stachnik
Amazing dialog and performances. There's a reason you've seen this ripped off 100000000 times. The legal procedural drama starts here. Plus, a Duke… More
Carlos Magalh„es
With a fantastic cinematography and superb direction, this superlative courtroom procedural unfolds in an unhurried fashion, daring to make outspoken use of… More
Jennifer Xu
It's sort of relieving how unpreachy this courtroom drama is. I read that this is one of the best portrayals of a live courtroom case, which if that's… More
Chris Weber
Though this adaptation of a best-selling novel may not seem like it now, it was quite a groundbreaking big deal when it came out. The story, a stirring… More
Reid Volk
When I think Noir, I don't think courtroom drama. When I think Jimmy Stewart, I think Frank Capra. So as you can imagine I was pleasantly surprised by this… More