University of Wisconsin–Madison

Films in the Law Library Collection

Did you know that the law library collects films about the law, including films about lawyers, law students, law professors, courtroom dramas and even the occasional comedy about lawyers? The law library film collection is located behind the circulation desk on the 5th floor of the law library. Check out is for three days. If you are looking for a particular film title and want to know if it is in our collection, check MadCat, our library catalog. MadCat can be accessed at or by selecting MadCat on the law library home page at Abstracts to the movies are from Wikipedia, the Internet Movie Database and the Law-Related Video Collection. Amistad Amistad is the name of a slave ship traveling towards the New World in 1839. It is carrying a cargo of Africans who have been captured, taken on board, and chained in the cargo hold of the ship. As the ship is crossing the Atlantic, Cinque, who was a tribal leader in Africa, leads a mutiny and takes over the ship. They continue to sail, hoping to find help when they land. Instead, when they reach the United States, they are imprisoned as runaway slaves. They don't speak a word of English, and it seems like they are doomed to die for killing their captors when an abolitionist lawyer decides to take their case, arguing that they were free citizens of another country and not slaves at all. The case finally gets to the Supreme Court, where John Quincy Adams makes an impassioned and eloquent plea for their release. The Hurricane This film tells the story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, an African-American man who rose above his troubled youth to become a top contender for the middle-weight boxing title. However, his dreams are shattered when he is accused of a triple murder, and is convicted to three natural-life terms. Despite becoming a cause celebre and his dogged efforts to prove his innocence through his autobiography, the years of fruitless efforts have left him discouraged. This changes when an African-American boy and his Canadian mentors read his book and are convinced of his innocence enough to work for his exoneration. However, what Hurricane and his friends learn is that this fight puts them against a racist establishment that profited from this travesty and have no intention of seeing it reversed. A Man for All Seasons The story takes place in 16th century England. But men like Sir Thomas More, who love life yet have the moral fiber to lay down their lives for their principles, are found in every century. Concentrating on the last seven years of English chancellor's life, the struggle between More and his King, Henry VIII, hinges on Henry's determination to break with Rome so he can divorce his current wife and wed again, and good Catholic More's inability to go along with such heresy. More reigns as chancellor, hoping to be able to live out his life as a private citizen. But Henry will settle for nothing less than that the much respected More give public approval to his headstrong course. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Naive and idealistic Jefferson Smith, leader of the Boy Rangers, is appointed on a lark by the spineless governor of his state. He is reunited with the state's senior senator--presidential hopeful and childhood hero, Senator Joseph Paine. In Washington, however, Smith discovers many of the shortcomings of the political process as his earnest goal of a national boys' camp leads to a conflict with the state political boss, Jim Taylor. Taylor first tries to corrupt Smith and then later attempts to destroy Smith through a scandal. A Passage to India A Passage to India revolves around three characters: Cyril Fielding, his Indian friend Dr. Aziz, and Adela Quested. During a trip to the Marabar Caves, Adela accuses Aziz of attempting to rape her. Aziz's trial, and its run-up and aftermath, bring out all the racial tensions and prejudices between indigneous Indians and the British colonists who rule India. Planet of the Apes Four American astronauts crash and on an unchartered planet and discover it is ruled by a race of intelligent apes.

Submitted by Jenny Zook, Reference Librarian on September 7, 2007

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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