Opening the iTunes Store.If iTunes doesn't open, click the iTunes application icon in your Dock or on your Windows desktop.Progress Indicator
Opening the iBooks Store.If iBooks doesn't open, click the iBooks app in your Dock.Progress Indicator

iTunes is the world's easiest way to organize and add to your digital media collection.

We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To preview, buy, or rent movies, get iTunes now.

Already have iTunes? Click I Have iTunes to open it now.

I Have iTunes Free Download

The Pelican Brief

HD   PG-13 Closed Captioning

Alan J. Pakula

Open iTunes to preview, buy, and download this movie.

About the Movie

(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


  • Reviews Counted: 49
  • Fresh: 26
  • 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

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!

well acted, dated thriller

First off, Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts are superb here. The plot and direction,however, are both quite dated. The pace is slow by modern standards, the outcome is easy to guess, the bad guys are one dimensional. If you've seen "All the President's Men" then you've seen this movie.

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!

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

Customer Ratings