Parents' Guide to

Anatomy of a Murder

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Classic 1950s legal drama has discussion of rape and murder.

Movie NR 1959 161 minutes
Anatomy of a Murder movie poster

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This vintage courtroom tale thrives on ambiguity and doesn't give its audience any easy answers. As grandstanding attorney Paul Biegler, Stewart embraces the theater of Anatomy of a Murder's pivotal trial, with George C. Scott similarly impressive in an early role as the waspish opposing counsel. But even Biegler is occasionally knocked off balance by Lee Remick's Laura Manion. Despite frequently being shown to be the victim of 1950s misogyny and skepticism toward alleged rape victims that still persists today, she is far from passive, and provides the movie with many of its twists and turns. Ben Gazzara's performance as Laura's on-trial husband -- the volatile soldier, Manny -- rounds out a cast of screen legends who command attention. With no character shown to be faultless, the movie's real masterstroke is to expose the messiness of criminal trials and America's divides. Some of the lengthier courtroom scenes require endurance, but it remains a story that's influenced legal dramas for seven decades and counting.

Movie Details

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