Box art for Anatomy of a Murder

Anatomy of a Murder

drama, thrillers

When his flirtatious young wife (Lee Remick) claims she was raped, an army lieutenant (Ben Gazzara)kills her attacker and hires small-town lawyer James Stewart to defend him.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

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

- Bosley Crowther, New York Times, Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Fresh: Otto at the top of his game.

- Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: Atypical of Hollywood court dramas of the era, Preminger's masterpiece is marked by moral ambiguity, dark visuals (b/w cinematography), great performance from Jimmy Stewart as a "loser" lawyer, one of the longest court trials, and objective camera.

- Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

5 stars

If I am to give my opinion just in one word about this movie, then it would be - "EXCELLENT". However, there're some other points too that need to be noted while reviewing this movie. There are many loopholes in the story if you stick to logic, but as it wasn't any documentary, I found nothing wrong with it and feel that it was an out-and-out entertaining movie. And considering that it was released far back in 1959, I feel that it's much better than today's movies of this genre. This movie in Black and White is really superior to today's movies (decorated with special effects and use of latest technology; beautiful body but no soul) when it comes to entertainment. Even the execution is outstanding. It's really worth watching and worth enjoying. Simply fantastic. Just go for it, if you haven't already.

- imrealgod, Tuesday, January 6, 2009

3 stars

Ex district attorney James Stewart is brought in to defend a decorated soldier who murdered the man who raped his wife. Otto Preminger once more tests the boundaries of what the American censors deemed "acceptable" in this groundbreaking courtroom drama. Stewart is as reliable as ever as the crusading attorney, and easily the best scenes are when he and George C. Scott do battle during the trial. Unfortunately some of the supporting cast do not quite measure up; Lee Remick's immature performance is more of a flirtatious Lolita than the victim of a traumatic attack, and Joseph N Welch, a lawyer and outspoken critic of McCarthy may have been a very worthy choice to play the judge, but I couldn't help thinking how much better Spencer Tracy, the originally intended choice, would've been. It's intelligently written and tackles the hypocrisies of the law, such as the fact that all are innocent until proven guilty unless you are the victim of a rape, in which case it's the other way around as well as that appearances, grandstanding and innuendo are far more important in the courtroom than facts. It's all very worthy, but courtroom dramas are inevitably following the same formula, and the clinical attention to detail makes the proceedings a little dry and predictable. Worth it to see Stewart in action and his verbal sparring with Scott, but anyone who is not a fan of this type of film will not be entirely convinced to change their mind.

- garyX, Sunday, June 22, 2008

4 stars

Great movie and great soundtrack. Worth it just to hear Jimmy Stewart say the word "panties."

- mjgildea, Friday, October 27, 2006