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Anatomy of a Murder (1959) Movie Review

Anatomy of a Murder is one of the classic films you expect that explores the legal aspects and enables the human factor in search of justice. Although the movie has the right blend of mystery, crime, drama, and humor, it still explains its importance well.

Plus, you have another great performance from the legendary and one of the greatest actors ever, James Stewart.

Plot Overview

Anatomy of a Murder follows the story of a small-time lawyer named Paul Biegler in Michigan. He is a former district attorney but lost in the recent election. He enjoys fishing and hanging out with his alcoholic friend, Parnell McCarthy.

One day, Biegler's normal life changed when Laura Manion called him and asked if he could defend her husband, Manny. He was arrested after killing the innkeeper, Barney Quill. When Biegler talks to Manny, he does not deny he killed Quill but mentions that he did it because he raped his wife. The prominent lawyer doubts whether he can acquit Manny of murder even if he has a legitimate motivation. However, he mentions that he does not recall the event. Biegler starts the trial by delivering weird speeches and a laid-back attitude to hide his sharp intentions. His theatrics didn't go well, especially when faced with the local district attorney, Mitch Lodwick, and a good prosecutor, Claude Dancer.

The prosecution tries to block any motivation from Manny on why he murdered Quill. They also mention that Laura is known to flirt with men, including Manny. When the psychiatrists give conflicting testimonies when examining Manny's state of mind, things get interesting. They suspect that he forced his wife to swear that Quill raped her. Biegler is determined to win the case as he uncovers more clues that favor the defense.


Anatomy of a Murder is an exciting film that explores the human factor that leads to crime. It certainly shows emotions from the leading characters and delivers its story well. While the film handles technical aspects of the law, it's quite easy to understand. Aside from the court drama, there is a little humor to make it very enjoyable to watch.

A lot of the film's scenes were handled magnificently by James Stewart. His flexible acting prowess shows that he is capable of portraying different roles. It didn't surprise me, especially when I watched him act as the mysterious clown in The Greatest Show on Earth.

Overall, Anatomy of a Murder is a must-watch. It's very enjoyable and a great movie that boasts of dealing with human factors like emotions, anger, etc. can be used to defend one's motivation to commit a crime. It doesn't sugarcoat much of the legal aspects but concentrates on the knowledge the audience can learn just by watching it.

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