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Norman Jewison
Al Pacino, Jack Warden, John Forsythe, Lee Strasberg, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Lahti, Sam Levene, Dominic Chianese, Craig T. Nelson
Writing Credits:
Valerie Curtin, Barry Levinson

When a corrupt judge is charged with rape, Arthur Kirkland must defend him.

Box Office:
Domestic Gross
$33.300 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

119 min.
Price: $17.97
Release Date: 4/5/2011

• Deleted Scene
• Trailer


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


... And Justice For All [Blu-Ray] (1979)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 31, 2016)

Al Pacino inspired a share of catchphrases over the years, and he scored one with 1979’s …And Justice For All. I don’t know where “you’re out of order!” ranks with others like “hoo-ah!” and “just when I thought I was out…”, but it remains a memorable line.

Does Justice deserve continued attention as anything other than the launching ground for a catchphrase? Not so much.

Pacino stars as Arthur Kirkland, a hotheaded, idealistic Baltimore lawyer. He ends up in the clink when he butts heads with stern, harsh Judge Henry Fleming (John Forsythe).

Despite the animosity between the two, they join forces when Fleming gets arrested for the alleged rape and assault of a woman (Teri Wootten). Fleming maintains his innocence, but Arthur discovers that the truth tells him something else. The movie follows that case as well as other legal and personal relationships pursued by Kirkland.

My synopsis probably makes Justice sound more straightforward than it is. While the Fleming thread acts as an important one, the film spends a lot of time with many other characters and situations. It often feels episodic in nature and doesn’t flow together particularly well.

Indeed, Justice often feels more like some do-gooding TV series than a feature film. It comes chock full of eccentric characters and various scenarios, virtually none of which it pursues beyond the bare basics.

Why does the film plop Arthur into an improbable romance? I guess because it feels like it’s supposed to have a love interest. There’s no more organic need for such a thread, and – like many of the flick’s elements – it comes across as gratuitous.

The romance does give Arthur an outlet to vent his ideas about the legal profession – not that the movie needs more of those scenes. In truth, Justice is less a film and more an extended piece of propaganda.

Co-writer Barry Levinson specializes in obvious screeds about whatever subject attracts him, and Justice suffers from his typical lack of subtlety. Granted, the film’s anti-authoritarian, anti-status quo bent fits its time period, but I think it could – and should – have handled its theses in less dogmatic ways. The flick beats us over the head with its ideas and leaves us no room to think for ourselves. There’s obvious right and wrong without any sense of gray.

All of this leads to a plodding, dated film without much merit I can find. The performers almost relentlessly overact – except for the surprising semi-exception of Pacino. Typically a scenery-chewer, he actually seems pretty reserved here, at least until the climactic courtroom scene. Indeed, he seems to channel Dustin Hoffman much of the time. It’s an unusual performance from Pacino, but not one that I think truly succeeds.

And very little about Justice prospers either. Dave Grusin’s score sounds like it came straight from a Seventies porn flick, and the movie’s pacing keeps us disinterested in its events. Those elements might be more easily forgiven if it weren’t for the film’s tendency to veer into the realm of self-parody. The picture provides a naïve, simplistic and one-dimensional take on a corrupt system.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus D

…And Justice for All appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This wasn’t a killer presentation, but it seemed positive for its age.

Sharpness came across as satisfactory. The combination of drab 1970s film stock and lots of interiors meant the movie often seemed a bit on the soft side, but that wasn’t a real concern. For the most part, the image seemed reasonably accurate and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes were absent. I noticed no print flaws; we got heavy – but natural – grain and that was it.

Colors were fairly flat, but that was another issue connected to the movie’s film stock and era. The hues lacked much pep or bite, but they seemed adequate and came to life better on occasion. Blacks were reasonably dense and dark, while shadows were acceptable. Some low-light shots appeared a little thick, but they weren’t too bad. Nothing here excelled, but the image was fine given the flick’s vintage.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of …And Justice for All seemed adequate as well. Remixed from one-channel sources, the audio often remained essentially monaural, as most of the material focused on the center speaker. However, some sequences managed to open things up a bit.

Music showed decent stereo delineation, and ambient information sporadically emerged from the sides and rears. For instance, the surrounds added a little environmental material. Nothing special occurred, but the track managed to create a minor sense of space.

The quality of the audio showed its age but was decent. Music fared best, as the score seemed reasonably lively and full. However, the other elements showed problems.

Speech tended to be a bit thin but not bad for its era. The lines lacked warmth but seemed intelligible and only occasionally suffered from edginess. Effects could come across as a little rough and flat. However, they were reasonably clear most of the time. This was a perfectly decent remix.

How did this Blu-Ray compare with the prior DVD? Audio was clearer and a bit bolder, while visuals seemed cleaner, tighter and more dynamic. The Blu-ray showed clear improvements in both areas.

While the DVD included a nice roster of extras, most of these vanish here. In addition to the film’s trailer, we get one deleted scene. Called “Fleming’s Office” (2:43), we see more of the nasty judge. “Office” is pointless, as it just reminds us what a jerk Fleming is; there’s enough of that in the final film.

…And Justice for All wants to impress us with its Big Ideas. Instead, it bores the audience with its simplistic view of right and wrong, and it never coalesces into anything more than a naïve piece of propaganda. The Blu-ray provides good picture and audio but lacks substantial supplements. It’s a shame the Blu-ray drops almost all of the DVD’s bonus materials, but fans will be pleased with the visual/sound improvements.

To rate this film visit the original review of AND JUSTICE FOR ALL