->'''Judge Rayford:''' ''Mr. Kirkland, you are out of order!''
->'''Arthur Kirkland:''' ''YOU'RE out of order! YOU'RE out of order! The whole TRIAL is out of order! THEY'RE out of order!''

A 1979 courtroom drama directed by Norman Jewison, starring Creator/AlPacino and John Forsythe.

Arthur Kirkland (Pacino), a [[GoodLawyersGoodClients very moral public defender]] in Baltimore, is [[BreakTheCutie growing sick]] of all the evils inherent in the justice system.

One of his clients is a man wrongly imprisoned due to a name mix up and frame job, and whom the {{Jerkass}} [[HangingJudge Judge Henry T. Fleming]] (Forsythe) won't release due to a minor technicality. A close friend has a mental breakdown when a client murders again after being acquitted, and Kirkland watches as one of his cases goes to an apathetic lawyer. He's also in trouble with the state bar ethics committee, for snitching on a client (after he learned that someone was forcing people to put lit cherry bombs in their mouths at gunpoint... just like the client had repeatedly fantasized about doing).

While Kirkland is in this happy place, he learns that Judge Fleming has been arrested for rape. Not only that, but to his gaping incredulity, he learns that Fleming wants Kirkland to be the defense attorney. Fleming, though he loathes Kirkland, feels that if he's seen representing him, it will make people think Kirkland believes he's innocent and help the case, since why defend a man he so despises otherwise? Kirkland can't get out of it either, because Fleming has [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections friends in high places]], and great sway over the ethics committee (he is also the one that brought the client-snitching to their attention), [[AnOfferYouCantRefuse as the judge reminds him]].

Stress and frustration mount up as one client commits suicide and another is killed in prison. Meanwhile, Kirkland gets more and more proof that Fleming is guilty as hell. Then, just before Kirkland stands up to give his opening statement on Fleming's behalf, the judge says he'd be happy to "meet" the victim again sometime...

Not to be confused with Music/{{Metallica}}'s 1988 album of the same name.

* ActuallyPrettyFunny: The man with diabetes even gets the cop testifying against him laughing when he calls the judge a douchebag.
* AmoralAttorney: Kirkland's girlfriend Gail Packer, who works on the ethics committee, is arguably one of these. She points out to him that much of what disgusts him about the justice system is, in fact, legally and procedurally correct. Of course, as Kirkland counters, that doesn't make it right...
* AnOfferYouCantRefuse: Fleming tries this on Kirkland, and it might've worked too, if he would have only shut up.
* BigBad: Judge Henry T. Fleming.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Kirkland will probably be disbarred, but he has kept his integrity.]]
* BlackComedy: The film has a fair amount of this. Rayford's suicidal tendencies are a good example.
* ChewingTheScenery: Pacino's over-the-top performance as Kirkland. But given what his character's going through, this was probably the best way to play it.
* ConfessInConfidence: After Kirkland confronts Fleming with some incriminating photographs he's gotten, Fleming [[spoiler:confesses to having committed the rape, which Kirkland cannot disclose by law]]. [[PlotHole However]], he ''would'' be legally required to turn over photographic evidence to the prosecution...
* DeusAngstMachina: If you're a client of either Kirkland or one of his friends, the best way to be found guilty is to be completely innocent, or vice-versa.
* DidIMentionItsChristmas: In one scene where Kirkland visits his grandfather at the nursing home, a Christmas tree is visible in the background. No other mention of the holiday is ever made.
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Ralph Agee]]
** [[SuicideAsComedy Played for laughs]] with Judge Rayford, who clearly has a death wish.
* EntitledBastard: Fleming, especially when he blackmailed the honest Kirkland to defend him in court.
* EvilCannotComprehendGood: The only logical way Fleming could make that last little comment.
* FrameUp: Jeff had the knife which a guard was stabbed with planted in his cell, leading him to be sentenced to five years in prison.
* GoodLawyersGoodClients: Played completely straight with Arthur Kirkland. Every client we see him defend is either innocent or very sympathetic, until he's blackmailed into representing Judge Fleming on rape charges, leading to his infamous breakdown.
* GreyAndGrayMorality: The entire legal system, as depicted in the film, combines this with copious amounts of CrapsackWorld and WorldGoneMad. The judges are either borderline insane like Rayford, or downright evil like Fleming. The prosecutors are more interested in punishing people for minor offenses while pursuing high-profile cases that make them look good in the press. Most of the public defenders have either surrendered to apathy or are so swamped with cases that they can't apply any sound judgment handling them, and even the ones who want to do good like Kirkland can't break through the wall of corruption and incompetence overwhelming the courts.
* HangingJudge: Fleming.
* HeroicBSOD: Kirkland, about halfway into the movie and well up to the moment Fleming pushes him over the edge.
* HollywoodLaw: It doesn't seem that Kirkland should be in danger of losing his license over telling the police his former client was probably the one forcing lit cherry bombs into people's mouths. Attorney-client privilege only applies to ''past'' crimes, and this was a crime the client fantasized about committing in the ''future''. In that case, attorneys are actually ''required'' to notify the police of what their client plans.
** Some of the evidence Kirkland digs up on Fleming should have been turned over to the prosecutor's office too. For instance, Fleming reveals to him that a supposed witness who says he saw another man leaving where his victim lived actually was paid to lie. Knowing that, he had an obligation not to put this witness on and report the planned crime, which would torpedo Fleming's case through a completely legal method, rather than killing his career by turning on Fleming during his opening argument.
* ImportantHaircut: Jay Porter shaves his head after flipping out over a client who murdered two children after he got him off.
* {{Jerkass}}: Fleming is initially depicted as this. [[spoiler: By the movie's end, when he makes that horrifying remark about his rape victim, it's confirmed]].
* MiscarriageOfJustice: Jeff was arrested due to MistakenIdentity (he had the same name as a suspect) then framed by other inmates for a prison guard's stabbing. Kirkland can't get him out due to the evidence clearing him coming in too late, [[spoiler: leading Jeff to snap, taking hostages after being [[PrisonRape gang-raped by fellow prisoners]] and is then [[{{Tearjerker}} shot dead by a police sniper]].]]
* MoodWhiplash: From zany comedy to heavy drama and back again.
* OffOnATechnicality: Cruelly {{inverted}} with Jeff, whom Kirkland can't get off although he's innocent ''because'' of a technicality.
* ParentalAbandonment: Kirkland was abandoned by his parents as a child and raised by his grandfather, who was the one who encouraged him to become a lawyer and put him through school.
* PrisonRape: What drives Jeff over the edge.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: The fed-up Judge Rayford leaves his stand after Kirkland's antics and his delivery of his SignatureLine (see below) after telling him he's out of order to keep him under control and having him removed from the courtroom.
* SignatureLine: "''You're'' out of order! ''You're'' out of order! The whole ''trial'' is out of order!"
* SmugSnake: Fleming, he is arrogant and an EntitledBastard in general, [[spoiler: freely admits to be guilty of his sex crime and makes a sleazy remark about raping his victim again]].
* TheSociopath: Fleming, as he has a LackOfEmpathy towards innocents who presided before him in court like Jeff and [[spoiler:express interest in raping his victim again which led him to be in the other side of the trial with Kirkland to defend him without any remorse or true guilt and evenly smugly admitting to be guilty like he was proud of his crime before the trial when pictures of him with a call girl are revealed to him]].
* {{Tearjerker}}: The death of Jeff.
* TitleDrop: The opening credits are accompanied by voice overs of children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which naturally ends with the title phrase.
* {{Transsexual}}: One of Kirkland's clients, Ralph Agee, is a black man who presents as female. [[spoiler: He commits suicide after being sent to prison for 5 years due to incompetence by Kirkland's colleague]].
* VillainousBSOD: [[spoiler:Fleming scornfully sits down in defeat after Kirkland betrays him in court.]]
* WhatTheHellHero: Kirkland bitchslaps Fleming with this; even though the latter is evil, he's still a judge.
--> '''Kirkland:''' ''You son of a bitch!'' You're -- you're supposed to ''stand'' for something! You're supposed to ''protect'' people! Instead you '''''[[spoiler:FUCKING MURDER THEM!!!]]'''''