Program Details

Movies and Courtroom Drama

Burton Atkins
Movies / Politics

Course Description

From cinema's earliest days, writers, producers and directors, have turned to the law for valuable source material. The courtroom drama, in particular, has provided not only engaging entertainment but also a structured format for debating many enduring problems, such as personal responsibility, crime and civil justice. This lecture series will use portions of films to explore how movies, since the beginning, have used the courtroom setting as a context for exploring important societal problems. (The film selection and order of presentation are subject to change)


  1. Beginnings: The Passion of Joan of Arc  / “M”.
  2. History in the Courtroom: A Man for All Seasons / The Crucible / Amistad.
  3. Social Issues in the Courtroom: Kramer v. Kramer / Philadelphia.
  4. Military Justice: Breaker Morant / A Few Good Men.

About the Instructor

  • Burton Atkins, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Florida State University (FSU). Currently, he teaches political science at FAU and for Penn State University. In his 35-year career at FSU, Atkins taught a variety of courses on and wrote extensively about constitutional law and U.S. politics and served as chair of the political science department. He lived in London from 1992 to 1997 while serving as the Director of FSU's London Study Center, and from 1997 until his retirement in 2006, he served as Director of the FSU International Affairs Program.

Upcoming programs presented by Burton Atkins.

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