Wartime-Related Courtroom Dramas​

Sep 3, 2020 | Newsletter

“Learn to do good; seek justice; correct oppression”

Isaiah 1:17


The American Film Institute (AFI) defines “Courtroom Drama” as a genre of film in which a system of justice plays a critical role in the film’s narrative. Legal dramas generally portray moral dilemmas that occur in the justice system and mirrors, in many ways, dilemmas in real life.

 There have been many films depicting the emotional pain (and frustration) present in a courtroom. But wartime-related courtroom cases (sometimes called court-martials) are particularly heart wrenching.

Here are seven I recommend:


The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell​

Following World War I, Brigadier General William (Billy) Mitchell is determined to have the Air Service set up as an independent unit…


The Cain Mutiny

Commander Queeg’s minesweeper, the “USS Caine,” is informed that a typhoon is approaching. It hits the “Caine” forcefully, creating damage and panic…


Billy Budd

Aboard an eighteenth-century naval ship, Billy, an overly optimistic eighteen-year-old, sets off on his first voyage…


The Devil Next Door​

John Demjanjuk was a Ukrainian who came to the U.S. shortly after the end of World War II. He became an American citizen, was a reliable worker at a Ford plant…


Hannah Arendt​

After the capture of Adolf Eichmann, one of the most elusive and hated Nazi criminals, William Shawn, editor of The New Yorker, assigned Arendt to cover the trial…


Breaker Morant​

This true story is set in South Africa during the Second Boer War (1899-1902). The Boers were Dutch colonialists and their descendants who were battling the British…


Paths of Glory​

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, this is a harrowing film depicting trench warfare during World War I. French General Georges Broulard orders his subordinate, General Mireau…


Coming Soon, Can’t Wait

Sep 04: Disney+. The Beatles: Get Back. A documentary that chronicles the Beatles recording of their 1970 album, Let It Be.
Sep 25: Netflix. The Trial of the Chicago 7. Aaron Sorkin directing the seven men charged with conspiracy during the anti-Vietnam war protests.
Dec 18: Platform TBD. West Side Story. Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the Broadway classic. 
Opening TBD, 2021: Netflix. Diana: A Musical
Opening TBD, 2021: Netflix. The Crown. Season 4, late 2020; Season 5, 2021. 

News & Commentary

PBS/Passport.org is a phenomenal streaming outlet. For an annual contribution (as low as $60, tax deductible) you’ll be able to stream major PBS productions from past years.

Thirteen Passport.org (The PBS affiliate in the Greater New York City area) just announced that the entire Ken Burns Documentary Collection can now be streamed. PBS affiliates in the U.S. do not all offer the same programming. Hopefully the PBS affiliate in your city will allow its members to stream this Collection. 

Here’s a rundown of the Ken Burns Documentary Collection:

Brooklyn Bridge  / The Vietnam War/ Civil War / Prohibition / Country Music / The Gene / Baseball / Jazz / The National Parks / Frank Lloyd Wright / The Roosevelts / East Lake Meadow


    My best,


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