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The Paper Chase


James Bridges

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Plot Summary

Expecting only the basic pressures of attending Harvard Law School, a serious, hard-working student (Timothy Bottoms) finds himself the fearful adversary of the school's most imperious, sarcastic professor (John Houseman). Their relationship grows even more complex when the boy discovers that the girl he's in love with is the professor's daughter (Lindsay Wagner).

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 25
  • Fresh: 22
  • Rotten: 3
  • Average Rating: 7.3/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: The Paper Chase has some great performances, literate screenwriting, sensitive direction and handsome production. – Variety Staff, Variety, Aug 24, 2010

Fresh: Houseman is able to project subtleties of character even while appearing stiff and unrelenting; it's a performance of Academy Award quality, and resulted in an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, Aug 24, 2010

Fresh: James Bridges manages to do a fair job with the semihokey material. – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader, Aug 24, 2010

Fresh: It's intelligent, entertaining and ultimately uplifting, but never really gets to the heart of the class struggle (academic and social) that's taking place. – Film4, Aug 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


An interesting film. It shows the ins and outs of law school in a by-gone era. What strikes me is the amount of work the characters did to learn the law. There were no short cuts, no "Googling" the answer. Houseman is simply terrific. His explanation of the Socratic method is absolutely correct and good for any teacher to see and reflect on. A very cool film.

for those thinking of law school.

I'm a first year law student. I've seen this movie 3.5 times. A classic. My mom attended high school with the lead actor...she says he is just like the character he plays in this movie! Check out Trials of Law School, too...its ok.

A classic!

Reminds me of Love Story, The Graduate, a great 'coming of age' movie! Apple, would it be possible some day to buy this one...many of us would buy if given the chance!

The Paper Chase
View In iTunes
  • $6.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 2003

Customer Ratings

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