1982. Drama. 122 min. Rated R for adult situations, language. Music by Johnny Mandel.
The Verdict is one of those great films that holds up decade after decade because of how it invokes moral themes that face every generation. The film stars actor and legendary film star Paul Newman.
At the film’s helm is the renowned director Sidney Lumet (SERPICO, NETWORK, DOG AFTERNOON,), bolstered by a script written by David Mamet. Nominated for five Academy awards in 1982, the film contains as one of the most profound moral closing arguments in film history.
Newman plays Frank Galvin, an on-the-skids, alcoholic lawyer and ambulance-chaser. A friend drums up a lucrative bit of business for him: a sure-fire settlement in a malpractice lawsuit against a large Boston hospital and two of its internationally known doctors. The case involves a young woman who ends up comatose and plugged into life supports when delivery of her baby goes terribly wrong.
Galvin visits her in the hospital; he is deeply affected and begins to see her case as more than easy money, and sees another chance at being a real lawyer. He passes up a rich settlement offer on principle, only to see his case fall apart. At every turn he is out matched by a team of big-time defense lawyers, as a biased judge thwarts his every move.
Tired and beaten, his summation to the jury is a film history classic. “So much of the time we’re just lost. We say, ‘Please God, tell us what is right. Tell us what is true.’ The rich win. The poor are powerless. We get tired of hearing people lie… We doubt ourselves, We doubt our beliefs,.. our institutions, and we doubt the law…. But today you are the law.”
A story for our times, The Verdict poses timeless questions about the source and meaning of justice.
For directions to the Peace Center and a download flyer for the film showing Go to www.delcopeacecenter.org