Anatomy of a Murder

Synopsis: Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara), a lieutenant in the army, is arrested for the murder of a bartender, Barney Quill. He claims, in his defense, that the victim had raped and beaten up his wife Laura (Lee Remick). Although Laura supports her husband's story, the police surgeon can find no evidence that she has been raped. Manion is defended by Paul Biegler (James Stewart), a rather humble small-town lawyer. During the course of interviews, Biegler discovers that Manion is violently possessive and jealous, and also that his wife has a reputation for giving her favors to other men. Biegler realizes that the prosecution will try to make the court believe that Laura was the lover of the bartender and than Manion killed him and beat her up when he discovered them together. Manion pleads "not guilty" and Biegler, who knows that his case is weak, sets his assistants to try to find a witness who will save Manion.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director(s): Otto Preminger
Production: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 11 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
160 min

Your pal just drove into town,

Mr. McCarthy.

I'll have one more, Toybo.

I'm afraid I'll have to pay

my bar bill tomorrow.

- You're good with me, Mr. McCarthy.

- Thank you, Toybo.

- Good night, Toybo.

- Good night, Mr. McCarthy.


Operator, I want...

...489 Thunder Bay.

I want to speak to Mrs. Manion.


This is Paul Biegler speaking.

Iron City 700.

- Will they know when she'll be there?

- No, they don't.

I see. You just leave a message.

Tell her to call this number.

- What do you say there, Counsellor?

- Save your money.

- What's in the brown paper bag?

- It might be a cabbage head.

But it wouldn't be.

You're a very suspicious man.


I'm everlastingly suspicious of...

...andlor fascinated by...

...the contents of brown paper bags.

- Can I sneak a peek?

- You do that, Counsellor.

You do that.

After you sneak a peek,

why, you uncork whatever you find.

Shall I pour?

- Your privilege.

- My pleasure, sir.

You fought this soldier by yourself.

You've been drinking alone, Pauly.

I don't like that.

Drop the stone, Counsellor.

You live in a glass house.

My windows were busted a long time ago,

so I can say as I please.

- Have an Italian cigar?

- No, thanks.

Those stinkweeds

are another sign of your decadence.

Pauly, it's a fact.

Since Mitch Lodwick beat you out

of the office of public prosecutor... haven't been worth salt for peanuts.

Not that I don't understand how you feel.

A man who gets beat out of an office

he's held for a long time...

...feels his community has deserted him.

The finger of scorn is pointed at him.

None but the lonely hearts

shall know my anguish.

Pauly, you are a good lawyer.

You ought to make like one.

Be here ready for clients, not fishing...

...and playing that rooty-tooty jazz.

I'm making a living.

I run a few abstracts and divorce Jane Doe

from John Doe every once in a while.

Threaten a few deadbeats.

And in the evening I sit around...

...and drink bourbon whiskey and read law

with Parnell Emmitt McCarthy.

One of the world's great men.

That was a kind word, Pauly.

You know, I might have been.

That's one of the reasons I hate to see

your talent pushed aside by lesser men.

I look at you and see myself years ago,

with the same love for the smell...

...of the old brown books in a dusty office.

Here's a rose, a lily...

...a sweet lupine.

The United States Supreme Court Reports.

What shall we read this evening,


How about a little Chief Justice Holmes?

Restrain Chief Justice Holmes for a minute.

I might have a client. Waiting for a call.

- Hello?

- Mr. Biegler?

This is Paul Biegler speaking.

Hello, Mrs. Manion?

- What?

- Mr. Biegler?

I'm sorry I missed you.

Did you get my message?

Who? What is that name?

Just a minute, please.

We seem to have a bad connection.

It's a woman named Manion.

Maida took a message from her.

In Thunder Bay? If she wants you

to represent her husband, say yes.

- I don't know what it's all about.

- Pretend you do and say yes.

- Hello?

- Mr. Biegler?

This is much better now.

Yes, I can hear you fine.

I waited for your call all afternoon.

Yes, well, I just got in a few moments ago.

You've read about my husband?

Muffy, please.


Mr. Biegler,

have you read about my husband?

Yes, I have. A little.

Will you defend him?

I don't know.

I'd have to know more about it.

Will you talk to him?

He's in the county jail.

Will you see him in the morning?

He's very anxious to see you.

You've been so highly recommended.

I have?

Yes, someone told him about you.

Will you see him?

I suppose I could.

I'll see him tomorrow morning.

- Would you want me there, too?

- I think that would be fine.

Let's make it about 10:00.

- Thank you so much.

- You're quite welcome.

What's this all about?

A man named Barney Quill

raped Mrs. Manion.

Her husband is a lieutenant in the Army.

There's a base in Thunder Bay,

gunnery or something.

The lieutenant goes to Quill's place

and plugs Quill about five times...

...which causes Quill

to die of lead poisoning.

- When?

- A couple of nights ago.

If you hadn't been out fishing in some

godforsaken place, you'd have known.

Good morning, Maida.

- There it is.

- What?

The newspaper.

I thought maybe they didn't bring it.

We haven't paid the bill.

Did you get my note?

We may be in the case.

I'm reading up on it now...

...before talking to Lt. Manion.

Doesn't he ever go home?

You mean Parnell?

We were up late last night.

Is that a fact?

I think maybe you'd better cancel

all my appointments for today.

What appointments?

People think you've migrated to the woods.

If this refrigerator gets more fish in it...'ll swim upstream

and spawn all by itself.

May I have your attention

for a moment, please?


I went over your cheque-book yesterday.

I can't pay me my salary.

What happened to the fee

for the Walkers' divorce?

Help salt a uranium mine or something?

I bought a few bare necessities.

Like a new outboard motor.

I wish I could be classed as a necessity.

- Aren't you going to have any toast?

- No.

I'll call you.

Let you know how things are going.

Now, don't let him pay you off

in Purple Hearts.

Those professional soldiers

never have a dime.

I ought to know, I was married to one.

Pardon me. Are you Mrs. Manion?

- Hi.

- I'm Paul Biegler.

- I'm Laura.

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Wendell Mayes

Wendell Curran Mayes (July 21, 1919 – March 28, 1992) was a Hollywood screenwriter. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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