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The Pelican Brief

  PG-13 Closed Captioning

Alan J. Pakula

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Plot Summary

(Academy Award-winner Julia Roberts - "Ocean's Eleven," "Erin Brockovich") who finds herself embroiled in a terrifying web of intrigue extending to the highest levels of government after she writes a speculative legal brief exposing the illegal activities of a powerful oil magnate. When those close to her are killed by assassins, the young woman embarks on a desperate flight with a Washington, D.C., investigative reporter (Academy Award and Golden Globe-winner Denzel Washington -- "Training Day," "Malcolm X") her only confidant and ally. Co-starring Academy Award-nominee Sam Shepard ("The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," "The Right Stuff") and Tony Goldwyn ("The Last Samurai," "Ghost"). With Emmy and Golden Globe-winner John Lithgow ("The World According to Garp," TV's "3rd Rock from the Sun"). Directed by Alan J. Pakula ("Sophie's Choice," "All the President's Men"). "Superb! Fantastic suspense! A major thriller! Fast and exciting" (WNBC-TV). "An exhilarating, breathless, first-class thriller" (CBS-TV). "Perfect casting and stellar work by writer-producer-director Alan Pakula" (Variety).

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews

TOMATOMETER

52%
  • Reviews Counted: 48
  • Fresh: 25
  • Rotten: 23
  • Average Rating: 5.5/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: As the film piles on shovelfuls of further exposition, Mr. Washington and Ms. Roberts are left to look terrific and recite perfunctory lines. – Janet Maslin, New York Times, Mar 30, 2009

Fresh: Pakula has improved on Grisham's book by excising much of the detritus, crafting a taut, intelligent thriller that succeeds on almost every level. – Brian Lowry, Variety, Jul 7, 2010

Rotten: A brightly wrapped, ketchup-drenched mush-burger, it slides down the Zeitgeist esophagus like a slippery McPelican. You pay, you swallow, you drive home. You're left with nothing except, possibly, heartburn. – Desson Thomson, Washington Post, Sep 5, 2002

Fresh: A clever device to take your mind off your problems for 141 minutes. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, Jul 7, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Pleasantly surprised!

We decided to rent this movie on a whim after hearing it referenced on the television show 30 Rock. We didn't know what to expect, and after reading several negative reviews, came into the movie with fairly low expectations. However, these bad reviews were entirely unwarranted. The suspense, action, and high drama were riveting, and the movie included stellar performances from Denzel Washinton and Julia Roberts. Although it did get a bit confusing in the middle, there were several unnecessary characters, and Julia Roberts should reconsider her nylon '90s apparel, the overall effect was highly enjoyable. We definitely recommend this movie. Plus, Denzel Washington looks so dapper in a suit!

Great Movie

I was surprised how great of a movie this was. Denzel Washington & Julia Roberts gave an excellent performance in this movie. Keeps you thinking and on the edge of your seat the whole time!

Inspiring!!!

At a young age i was introduced to this movie. Having just been accepted to Law School, I can honestly look back now and credit this movie with the majority of why i want to do what i want to do. (no disrespect to the great instructors I've had). How can one go wrong with Denzel and Julia anyways????

The Pelican Brief
View In iTunes
  • $14.99
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Released: 1994

Customer Ratings

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