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on 23 October 2005
Before Al Pacino became bigger than the movies he appeared in, before he became a parody of Al Pacino, he produced work like "and justice for all".
Aside from being a deeply disturbing, at times pathetic, at times humourous protrayal of the corruption and inertia of the legal system, Pacino hands in a dynamic and dramatic performance as idealistic layer Arthur Kirkland. Kirkland truly believes in the rule of law, that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, regardless of social status, and that there should be "justice for all".
It is such integrity that leads him to represent corrupt lawyer John Forsythe. (Charlie's Angels "Charlie", /Blake Carrington for "Dynasty"). And there his troubles start.
Along side a sucidal judge, a deeply troubled legal partner, a girlfriend whose professional commitment rivals Joseph McCarthy, and a family background which sees him struggling with absentee parents and an alzheimers Lee Strasberg, Arthur Kirkland's life is not plain sailing. Although, from the outset, we as an audience are with him, understand his straightforward professional and personal ethics of honesty, and cheer with him to the last as we see how one man can indeed fight city hall, and come out intact.
The beauty of this film is not merely Pacino's performance which is indeed credible and magnificent,and pre-dates "Al Pacino Movie Star" - but is reflective of life. Puzzling, comic, dramatic, heart breaking, and all at once redemptive.
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on 13 May 2008
Al pacinos career was still in its infancy when he made this,i believe this was his ninth film,dont quote me on that,the year was 1979 and the director was the very capable norman jewison.The film looks at whats wrong with the legal system and for the most part has a very serious,dark view on it,some laughs are oddly thrown in which upsets the balance slightly,some work and some seem quite slapstick when positioned among the turmoils and chaos and the moral message which is there for all to see.
The film details a lawyer called arthur kirkland played by pacino who wants to be the best lawyer he can be and buys into the idea that everyone deserves a fair trial no matter what,when he is asked to defend a judge who he hates and suspects may be guilty then he has some tough decisions to make.
There is a good support cast who all play their part in helping pacino make up his mind on whats best even if it costs him everything,i found the film to be brave yet awkward in places with great performances and a good message,not a masterpiece but a good show nonetheless.
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on 8 October 2003
A truly great story about the gulf between the Legal system and true justice. And Justice For All is a gripping yarn from beginning to end and has a wonderful performance from Pacino.
What surprised me the most about the film is how funny and lively it is. It isn't a totally serious film and it has some really great funny moments. Pacino is also rapidly becoming my favourite actor and this film is so good it will make you want to hunt down his other films.
Also has a directors commentary.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 February 2015
This is one of my favourite Al Pacino movies. It has plenty of humour but also features a corrupt judge who tries to get away with his crimes.
Along comes Al at his fabulous best to see that justice is done. Parts make you laugh, parts make you cry - it's great.
This was made way before his "hoo -ah" OTT performance in Scent of a Woman and before he started shouting all his lines.
It's a very different Pacino to his Godfather performances but it's still fab.
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I’m old enough to remember seeing this shouting-match-in-the courtroom farce at the cinema in Dublin when it first came out in 1979. I still remember the brill barters between the judge and pain-in-the-ass lawyer Al Pacino. And I remember the audience leaving with a beam on their face and a pep in their step…

What a bummer therefore to find that the American BLU RAY issue on Image Entertainment is REGION A LOCKED - so it won't play on our machines unless they're chipped to be 'all regions' (which few are).

I wish someone would end the restrictions of Region Coding because cult fun watches like “And Justice For All” just go amiss because of it...
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on 26 November 2014
I have always loved this film. Pacino at his youthful best. A masterful critique of the American justice system. Still as funny, sad and powerfully insightful as when first viewed. A DVD for any collection.
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on 8 July 2009
This is Al Pacino doing what Al Pacino does best, taking on roles where morality finds itself on a tightrope. Pacino brings alot of passion to his role while he is ably supported by the likes of Craig T Nelson, John Forysthe and Lee Strasberg who you may remember was the brillaint Jewish mobster in Godfather II.

The story is complex and ropes in everything you usually get with courtroom dramas. Alot of the motivations for the characters are fleshed through their various rows and arguments with Pacino's boy scout like attorney character, Kirland.

Pacino's speech is amazing at the end and a piece of film history in my view. Its a massive swerve and the ending of the movie brings another (far more subtle) swerve.

Overall the film is well worth watching. But some may find the slapstick nature of one of the other judges characters odd in particular. It seems out of sync and to be honest its an odd mashup trying to fit comedy into a hard hitting courtroom drama. My own personal gripe is with the music, its mostly horrible and doesnt set the tone properly in any way having a kind of lightheaded zany feel. Its magic mushroom stuff really.

Overall, great actors, story, direction and themes explored. 9/10
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on 22 April 2013
This is a great but old film. At times it is a bit dated. But the overall theme of a justice system limping along is great. Buy this and keep a look out for the suicidal judge! If you like court battles this is very, very good. Al Pacino is at his best but well supported.
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on 30 November 2011
The main problem with film is that the funny, satirical bits aren't funny enough, and the bits meant to inspire sadness or anger at the shortcomings of the justice sysytem that have ruined careers or destroyed lives aren't telling enough. They should have much more punch. Great as he is, Pacino isn't a natural comedian (although he says in a book of interviews I've just read that he started out doing comedy wih friends), so the scenes where he is with his grandfather or his nutty friend the judge just fall a bit flat. It's like trying to eat something with the clingfilm still on, you know there's something tasty there, but you just can't get at it. The Verdict or Twelve Angry Men it ain't.
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on 7 February 2006
This film has become a classic, meaning it is commonly quoted when you speak of the problem of justice in the USA, in this case Baltimore, Maryland. The title of the film is the end of the pledge of allegiance that is read at the beginning of the film by several children in some class. Every Ameican knows it and it is essential to keep it in mind here.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Apart from the sidetracking subplot of the grandfather of the main character, a lawyer, the rest has to do with nothing but justice and prison. Even the affair this main character has with the lawyer turned bureaucrat in the court administration or surveillance committee is part of the plot because she has a lot to say about a lot of things and about what he should do or should not do.

Our main character, Arthur Kirkland, is seen taking care, a strange way of speaking, of two clients. One will commit suicide and the other will be shot by some sniper of the police when he steps out of line. The lawyer himself, Arthur, is liquidated and he has no other way than accepting this self-liquidation provided he can in doing so bring at least one rotten judge down. If you step off the line, either you become rotten all the way, hence the slave of the system, or you will be kicked out and you will starve. Liquidation by starvation.

Justice is shown as malfunctioning from beginning to end, from left to right and back from right to left, up and down and the reverse, from front to back and vice versa. They do not have the slightest interest for the people they are supposed to try and send to prison, or eventually release, put on probation or parole. It is absolutely disheartening but there is nothing to do about it. So better accept it and make do with it, or at least make believe you believe in the fairness of that justice for all which is the miscarriage of justice for most.

Enjoy the film. There is nothing else to say except the details of the arguments. You better watch them and discover them yourself, but be sure you have not eaten something too greasy if you do not want to be sick, I mean vomit in your lap.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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