Gideon's Trumpet

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Released 1980

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Movie Summary

Director:
Robert E. Collins
Released:
1980
Rating:
Not Available
Gideon's Trumpet tells the real-life story of a man who helped to fix a United States law that desperately needed to be changed. The film focuses on Clarence Gideon (Henry Fonda), a man convicted of petty theft. When Gideon can't afford his own attorney, he wonders why he can't be given one in order to have the same rights in court. When Gideon sends a handwritten petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, everyone is forced to reconsider what a prisoner's rights should or shouldn't be. This leads to the Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright, which the movie expertly tells in an interesting yet factual way. This case led to a decision which extended the right to an attorney to all criminal defendants. At the end of the movie we see how Gideon has changed his own life (and many other lives) by helping to change this law. Henry Fonda's performance makes for a powerful film that rings true to real life. Fonda never falsely plays his character as someone entirely likeable, but he stays true to Clarence Gideon's actual faults and flaws. This is one of Henry Fonda's best late-career performances. Although Gideon's Trumpet was released as a made-for-television movie, it is one of the best historical films of the 1980s.moreless

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