July 24, 2024

The Firm on its 30th Anniversary remains one of the best OGs legal thrillers

John Grisham was the first adult writer I began reading, and it may have very well been because of Tom Cruise and his work in “The Firm” which turns 30 this weekend. Yeah, my experience worked in reverse. Seeing Cruise in this 1993 legal thriller actually made me read John Grisham novels afterwards.

The movie gave us Mitch McDeere as our first Grisham protagonist who gets caught up in the legal matters of the mob, and proved that legal thrillers could fill movie theaters.

And depending on the way the wind is blowing it still might be the actual best Grisham adapted film next to “A Time to Kill”.

We get one of the first Tom Cruise “running” scenes. We get Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Gary Busey, and Wilford Brimley all in memorable roles. Holly Hunter was nominated for an Oscar for her work here.

Director Sydney Pollack finds a nice pace between the legal-cool recruitment of McDeere who eventually gets in too deep and needs to start running for his life.

What many Grisham nerds like myself will point out to you is the differences between the ending of the book and the ending of the movie. I actually prefer the ending to the film, which is a lot more believable than the thriller-esque book wrap up.

While The Firm is solid on all formats, it’s not even the best film that Cruise played a lawyer in during that year long span. I’ll still give the edge to “A Few Good Men” which came out during the holiday season before this summer offering.

But make no mistake. This film cleared the way for more Grisham movies that starred Oscar winners like Susan Sarandon, Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey ,and the 30th anniversary of The Firm also comes at the same time McDeere returns in the newest Grisham book, The Exchange, which I haven’t read yet.

Thirty years later, we can still say that The Firm still got it right the first time.

The Firm

1993 Grade: B

2023 Grade: B+

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