Sidney Lumet’s 1982 film, The Verdict, starring a masterly Paul Newman, is typically described as a ‘courtroom drama’ but, as with several of Newman’s best roles, it would be better, if more long-windedly, described as a discovery and affirmation of a man’s true self and inner moral being. Newman plays a washed-up, ambulance-chasing drunken lawyer, Frank Galvin, who is gifted a medical malpractice case where a readily-offered out-of-court settlement would at one fell sweep restore his legal reputation, set him up financially, free up the relatives of the victim of the malpractice and protect the good reputation of the surgeons involved. Something – a whim? an instinct? moral fibre? – prevents Galvin from accepting the offer and he opts instead for a battle against a well-paid team of lawyers and a biased judge. Notwithstanding the legal niceties, the jury heeds Galvin’s call to respect natural justice and finds in favour of his client, a young girl reduced to a vegetative state who can never be compensated. A strong cast (including James Mason and Charlotte Rampling) ensures convincing viewing, although the love interest is unsatisfactorily developed. The most telling phrase in the script for me was something along the lines of ‘A court does not guarantee justice but it provides the possibility for justice to be done.’ Perhaps that, in the end, is the flaw in this film. Experience would strongly suggest that, if they don’t necessarily win, corporate lawyers, with all the resources at their disposal, rarely lose – particularly not to drunken idealists.