The Pelican Brief

Warner Bros. Pictures

Mystery Drama Thriller
141 min     6.6     1993     USA


Two Supreme Court Justices have been assassinated. One lone law student has stumbled upon the truth. An investigative journalist wants her story. Everybody else wants her dead.


Wuchak wrote:
Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington team-up in this crime thriller RELEASED IN 1993 and directed by Alan J. Pakula from John Grisham’s novel, "The Pelican Brief” is a political drama/thriller about a law student (Julia Roberts) who researches the murders of two supreme court justices and shares her theory with her college professor (Sam Shepard) who, in turn, gives it to an FBI friend on a lark. The brief hits a nerve because people start dying one-by-one. Denzel Washington plays a DC reporter who teams-up with the student while Robert Culp appears as the president. While I prefer “The Firm” (1993), which was also written by Grisham, this one is along the same lines, albeit with a totally different story (naturally). “Pelican” has more action, but the plot/characters aren’t quite as interesting IMHO. Still, if you liked one, you’ll probably appreciate the other. THE MOVIE RUNS 2 hours, 21 minutes and was shot in New Orleans and Washington DC/Maryland. ADDITIONAL CAST: John Heard plays an FBI agent, Stanley Tucci a hitman and John Lithgow an editor. GRADE: B/B-