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Bach Movies



The Pelican Brief








Film: Dec 1993 (USA)
DVD: Jun 1997; May 2003 (3-DVD No. 2); Mar 2005 (3-DVD No. 1)
VHS: Feb 1995; Sep 1995 (2-VHS No. 1); Sep 1997 (2-VHS No. 2); Feb 2000
Soundtrack: Jan 1994 (CD, MC)


Alan J. Pakula


John Grisham (book); Alan J. Pakula (screenplay)


Julia Roberts (Darby Shaw); Denzel Washington (Gray Grantham); Sam Shepard (Thomas Callahan); John Heard (Gavin Vereek); Tony Goldwyn (Fletcher Coal); James Sikking (FBI Director Denton Voyles - as James B. Sikking); William Atherton (Bob Gminski); Robert Culp (President); Stanley Tucci (Khamel); Hume Cronyn (Justice Rosenberg); John Lithgow (Smith Keen); Anthony Heald (Marty Velmano); Nicholas Woodeson (Stump); Stanley Anderson (Edwin Sneller); John Finn (Matthew Barr)


Two Supreme Court Justices have been assassinated. One lone law student has stumbled upon the truth. An investigative journalist wants her story. Everybody else wants her dead. (IMDB)

Another John Grisham legal thriller comes to the screen, pairing Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts in a film directed by Alan J. Pakula, who is known for dark-hued suspense pictures such as Klute, The Parallax View,All the President's Men, and Presumed Innocent. The Pelican Brief isn't up to the level of those films, but it is a perfectly entertaining movie about a law student (Roberts) whose life is endangered when she discovers evidence of a conspiracy behind the killings of two Supreme Court justices. She enlists the help of an investigative reporter (Washington) and the two become fugitives. The charisma and chemistry of the leads goes a long way toward compensating for the story's shortcomings, as does a truly impressive supporting cast that includes Sam Shepard, John Heard, James B. Sikking, Tony Goldwyn, Stanley Tucci, Hume Cronyn, John Lithgow, William Atherton, and Robert Culp. (Jim Emerson,

A New Orleans law student 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 activities of a powerful oil magnate. (

More like the Pelican Long-and-Drawn-Out: well over two hours of plots, subplots and super-subdialogue. The script is adapted from the novel by John Grisham, but not adapted enough. Two Supreme Court Justices are murdered, and Darby Shaw (Julia Roberts), a mere law student, decides that the trail leads all the way to the White House. She gets help from a journalist, played by Denzel Washington, who struggles manfully to keep her, and the movie, alive. (Only one of them survives.) The director is Alan J. Pakula, who shows his class in a couple of nervy murder sequences, but flounders through the rest of the story; it's a big comedown from the great days of "Klute" and "All the President's Men." Pale and overwrought, Julia Roberts looks worried that she may be in the wrong movie. (Anthony Lane, Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker)

Two Supreme Court Justices have been killed. Now a college professor, who clerked for one of the two men, who's also having an affair with one of his students, is given a brief by her, that states who probably, wanted to see these two men dead. He then gives it to one of his friends, who works for the FBI. When the FBI director reads it, he is fascinated by it. One of the preseident's men who read it, is afraid that if it ever got out, the president could be smeared. So, he adivises the president to tell the director to drop it, which he does. But later the professor and the girl were out and he was drunk and when he refused to give her the keys she stepped out of the car. When he started it, it blew up. She then discovers that her place has been burglarized and what was taken were her computer and her disks. Obviously, her brief has someone agitated. She then turns to her boyfriend's friend at the FBI, he agrees to come meet her but before he does someone shoots him and takes his place. At the meeting, he was about to kill her when someone shoots him. She then decides to turn to Gray Grantham, an investigative reporter, who was contacted by someone who says he has info on the killings but backed out at the last minute. He then meets her and tells her what her brief is, and basically, the man she suspects is a good friend of the president, who is trying to manipulate the outcome of a trial that is now before the Supreme Court. Grantham tells her that her brief can harm the president and all what they have are theories, he asks her to help him but she wants to leave the country. When Grantham's editor tells him that they have nothing that he should drop cause the man she implicated is extremely powerful. Grantham's about to drop it when she says that she will help him. But can they stay alive? (




141 min / 412 min (3-DVD No. 1) / 370 min (3-DVD No. 2)

J.S. Bach's Music:

Choral Komm, O Tod, Du Schlafes Bruder
Max Pommer (?) / Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig
Courtesy of Capriccio, by arrangement with Source Q


Film: Color (Technicolor), Dolby Digital
DVD: (Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC, Region 1) | (PAL, Region 2) | (Anamorphic, Full Screen, NTSC, Region 2, Italian)
3-DVD No. 1: (Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Unknown Region)
3-DVD No. 2: (Box set, Color, NTSC, Region 1)
VHS: (Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC) | (Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC) | (PAL) | (Color, NTSC, Spanish)
2-VHS No. 1: (Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC)
2-VHS No. 2: (Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC)
Soundtrack: CD | MC


Film: Warner Bros. Pictures
DVD: Warner Home Video
VHS: Warner Home Video
Soundtrack: Warner Bros / Wea [CD, MC]


3-DVD Set No. 1 includes: John Grisham 3-Pack (The Pelican Brief / A Time to Kill / The Client)
3-DVD Set No. 2 includes: Denzel Washington Collection (Fallen/The Pelican Brief/Ricochet)
2-VHS No. 1 includes: The Pelican Brief/The Client Giftset

Watch selections:

Buy movie at:

DVD: | [Region 2] | [Region 2] | [Region 2, Italian]
3-DVD: [No. 1] | [No. 2]
VHS: | | | [PAL] | [PAL] | [Spanish]
2-VHS: [No. 1] | [No. 2]
Soundtrack: [CD] | [MC]


Source/Links: IMDB
Contributor: Aryeh Oron (November 2007)

Bach Movies: Bach's Life & Documentaries: Index by Title | Index by Year
Filmed Performances: Index by Work | Index by Main Performer
Bach's Music in Soundtracks: Index by Title | Index by Year
General: Index by Number | Discussions of Movies on Bach


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Last update: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 09:58