John Grisham Books to Films

As a John Grisham fan and am just about to watch The Pelican Brief I started writing about the films that are based on his books (The Pelican Brief being 1 of these), these are the books/films I can remember without checking.

The Pelican Brief, The Firm, The Runaway Jury, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, A Painter House and Skipping Christmas (The film was called Christmas with the Kranks), I know there is probably 2 or 3 more but will need to check this.

Complete list below which brief outline and who is in the film.

*The Chamber – Stars Chris O’Donnell, Gene Hackman & Faye Dunaway – I must admit I can’t remember too much about this one, a young attorney fresh out of law school seeks to save his grandfather from execution after he killed 2 boys 30 years previously as part of the Ku Klux Klan, I will need to re-read or watch this again to remind myself of this one as though I can picture some of the film I can picture the story.

*The Client – Stars Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones,Brad Renfro & Mary Louise Parker – this one I can remember but for some reason missed it on my original list, a young boy sees a Man try to commit suicide with an exhaust pipe running in to his car but the boy saves him only for the man to shot himself instead and sends the boys younger brother in to a state of shock, after the police question him he hires an attorney to protect himself as the man who committed suicide was a lawyer for the Mafia and had disclosed information the police what to know but would put his life at risk.

The Pelican Brief – Stars Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington & Sam Shepard – The film I was just about to watch when I started this post. 2 Supreme court justices are killed but no-one is able to link the murders though they have the same suspect for both until a young Law Student who is having an affair with her College Professor comes up with a theory and writes the Pelican Brief, she shows it to her professor who passed it on to the FBI, the Professor and his FBI friend are then killed and she fears for her life and makes contact with a reporter who her lover trusted and she meets up and starts giving him the brief, the reporters boss urges him to drop it and he becomes a target to, to stop the brief ever making it out.

The Firm – Stars Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Gene Hackman – Possibly the most famous of the films from a John Grisham book, stars a lawyer fresh out of law school being selected by a prestigious law firm only to discover that the lawyers that were killed just before he joined may have been murdered and starts to find that the law firm has two sides and he is then approached by the FBI to help them take down the law firm as they suspect they help run the Mafia, he now has 2 options but both mean his life is over as he knows it.

Runaway Jury – Stars  John Cusack, Rachel Weisz & Gene Hackman – The film and book differ on the subject of the case as in the film it is a gun and gun firm whilst the book is about smoking and a tobacco firm however the rest of the story is the same. Where Nicholas Easter plants himself on a jury and with the help of his girlfriend and manipulates the jury whilst holding the decision to ransom with the 2 sides.

A Time To Kill – Stars Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Spacey & Samuel L Jackson – This was the first John Grisham book I read and made a lasting impression on me. A young black girl is raped by 2 white men and left for dead but is found and taken to hospital.  When they go on trial the girl’s father shots them and also injuries a deputy, he is arrested and goes on trial and hires against the NAACP and local African American leaders a white lawyer to represent him which puts him in line of the Ku Klux Klan, the odds are stacked against him but he deals them a joker in the closing statement.

The Rainmaker – Stars Matt Damon, Danny Devito, Claire Danes & Jon Voight – A young lawyer fresh out of Law School is hired by an Ambulance chasing lawyer but after the firm is raided by the police and FBI he goes out on his own with a Paralegal who has failed the bar exam several times and have just one case which is for Insurance Bad Faith and files suit, but having never faced a trial before and going up against countless lawyers for the Insurance company but gets some good luck when the original judge suffers a heart attack and a more sympathetic judge takes on the case, whilst the case is preparing to go to trial Rudy falls for a young lady who is being beaten by her husband and Rudy tries to persuade her to leave him, her husband finds out and they have a confrontation which Rudy kills him but Kelly tells the police she killed him in self defence this taking the heat of Rudy (though his family expect that Kelly didn’t kill him). Rudy then concentrates on the suit which they win but the insurance company files for Bankruptcy leaving no fee for Rudy and no Damages to the family he represented. Rudy and Kelly then leave town.

A Painter House – Stars Scott Glenn, Arija Bareikis, Robert Sean Leonard, Melinda Dillion & Logan Lerman, this was the first non- legal book/film that John Grisham did. This was a TV Movie and is told through the eyes of a Young boy (Luke) and tells the story of 1 summer of harvesting cotton with the help of Migrant workers from Mexico and Red Necks and how they clashed by respected Luke’s father and how Luke developed a crush on the girl from the Red Neck family. The title comes from when Luke wasn’t allowed to pick cotton along with the invalid boy from the red neck family helped paint their house.

Christmas with the Kranks (Skipping Christmas) – Stars Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis & Dan Aykroyd – When their daughter Blair decides to go to Peru with the Peace Corps and will miss Christmas her parents device to go on a cruise over Christmas and decide to Skip Christmas to pay for the trip as they won’t need a tree or all the food but the Neighbours resent that they’re not putting their decorations up and start a feud however a few days before Christmas Blair calls and says she’s coming home for Christmas with her Fiancé and now have to enlist the Neighbours help to get everything together and to throw the Christmas Party they normally throw.

*are the ones I couldn’t remember

I’m an avid reader of John Grisham and for this reason watch the films too, as you can tell by the casting these are not low cost films though not all have been big hits, The Pelican Brief and The Firm are probably the 2 biggest films in the list but A Time to Kill and the Runaway Jury I think provide to be hits too. The Painted House always reminds me of a Sunday film and I liked it was told by a character in the film (Luke). I’m looking forward to hopefully more of his books being made into films especially Camino Island which I read recently as I reckon this can be adapted easily in to a hit.


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