Great cinema often hinges on the ability of filmmakers to accurately portray the legal system. Hollywood has done a great job of creating suspenseful courtroom dramas that give viewers an inside look at how the law works. Here are five things Hollywood usually gets right with courtroom dramas:


The most recognizable feature of courtroom scenes is the frequent objections from lawyers in order to block evidence or statements from being considered. While objections are often exaggerated in Hollywood, the basics are usually accurate. Objections can be made for a variety of reasons, such as relevance and hearsay.

When the Defendant Takes the Stand

The most pivotal moment in a courtroom drama often comes when the defendant takes the stand. In movies, this scene is usually filled with suspense as jurors and attorneys look on intently.

In reality, when a criminal defendant takes the stand they are subject to cross-examination by the prosecuting attorney. There is no limit imposed on how long or vigorous this questioning can be. Taking the stand is a powerful statement and gives the prosecutor an opportunity to question a witness under oath. Hollywood often portrays this moment accurately, as it can be very dramatic.

Closing Arguments

Another critical moment of any courtroom drama comes when the attorneys make their closing arguments. This is their chance to sum up all of their evidence and make a final summation. This is typically depicted as a high-stakes situation, and it usually is, as the jury’s opinion may depend on what they hear from the defense. Hollywood usually gets this right, as the defendant’s testimony can be crucial to their case. Most real lawyers are not as dramatic as professional A list actors, but they still put on a good show.

Witness Testimony

Another important aspect of courtroom scenes is the testimony of witnesses. In Hollywood films, witnesses are often coached to give certain answers or say certain things on the stand. This is usually an exaggeration, but it accurately reflects how lawyers will use questioning to make their case. Witnesses in real life are not coached to give certain answers, but lawyers can use questioning to shape their testimony in order to support their case.

Overall Courtroom Etiquette

Hollywood usually does a good job of portraying the overall etiquette of courtroom proceedings. From how attorneys behave on the stand to how they interact with the judge and jury, Hollywood is often accurate. This helps viewers understand the legal process and all of the formalities that take place during trial. Etiquette in a courtroom is taken very seriously, from the dress code to the way attorneys present themselves. Hollywood usually gets this part right, as it helps to set the tone for a trial.

The Verdict

In most cases, a jury will render a verdict based on the evidence and testimony presented during the trial. The verdicts seen in movies tend to be more dramatic than what actually happens in real life; however, the idea of juries deciding cases is accurate. When a movie takes you into the jury deliberations, it gives viewers an inside look at how a jury might come to its conclusion. This is often done in an accurate way, as the jury must reach a unanimous decision in most cases.


Cross-examination is one of the most important tools used by attorneys in a courtroom to uncover truths, misdirect witnesses, and make points for their clients during trial. Despite some dramatic flourishes, cross-examinations seen in movies often accurately reflect what goes on in real courtrooms. A lawyer can use the cross-examination to challenge the testimony of the witness, establish inconsistencies in a case or even introduce new evidence. Hollywood often gets this right, as it is a crucial element of a successful trial.

Watch Movies and Enjoy

In conclusion, Hollywood usually gets most things right when it comes to courtroom dramas. By carefully studying the legal system, Hollywood has done an impressive job of creating films that accurately reflect how it works. So, the next time you watch a courtroom drama, you can rest assured that most of what you are seeing is accurate and enjoy the movie. So sit back, relax, and enjoy some great courtroom drama movies – you’ll learn something about the legal system while having a great time!