A Civil Action

Watch A Civil Action

"Justice has its price."
  • PG-13
  • 1998
  • 1 hr 55 min
  • 6.6  (30,843)
  • 68

A Civil Action, released in 1998, is a legal drama film that depicts the real-life story of a courtroom battle over environmental pollution. The movie is directed by Steven Zaillian and stars John Travolta, Robert Duvall, and Kathleen Quinlan as the lead characters. The plot of the movie revolves around a successful lawyer named Jan Schlichtmann (John Travolta), who is approached by a group of families from Woburn, Massachusetts. These families have lost their children due to a prevalence of leukemia, a type of blood cancer, in their neighborhood. The community believes that the contamination of the town's water supply by industrial waste dumped by two companies is causing the leukemia epidemic. The families ask Jan to represent them in a lawsuit against the two companies responsible for the pollution.

Jan is a flashy and successful lawyer who has made a name for himself by winning big cases. Initially, he is not interested in taking up the Woburn case, as he believes that fighting large corporations is not profitable. However, after meeting with the families and hearing their tragic stories, he decides to take up their cause.

Jan's team includes his trusted colleague Kevin Conway (Tony Shalhoub) and a group of scientists who conduct research to prove that the companies are responsible for the contamination. They find that the companies have dumped harmful chemicals, including trichloroethylene (TCE), into the ground, which have seeped into the groundwater and contaminated the wells that supply drinking water to Woburn.

Jan and his team file a lawsuit against the companies, and the case goes to court. However, they soon realize that this case is much trickier than they had anticipated. The companies have hired a brilliant lawyer named Jerome Facher (Robert Duvall) to defend them. Jerome is an experienced and successful defense lawyer who has never lost a case, and he uses every trick in the book to discredit Jan's case.

As the case progresses, Jan realizes that he has bitten off more than he can chew. He becomes increasingly disillusioned with the legal system as he finds that the courts are biased towards wealthy companies. He also faces personal and financial problems as the case drags on, and he begins to question his own motives for taking up the case.

The movie effectively portrays the personal and emotional toll that legal battles take on everyone involved. John Travolta delivers a powerful performance as the conflicted lawyer torn between his desire for justice and his personal interests. Robert Duvall is equally brilliant as the formidable defense lawyer who uses his experience and influence to win over the judge and jury.

The movie also raises important questions about the responsibility of individuals and corporations towards the environment and public health. The Woburn case led to the creation of the Superfund program, which is the federal government's initiative to clean up hazardous waste sites and protect public health and the environment.

In conclusion, A Civil Action is a gripping legal drama that effectively portrays the complexities of environmental pollution litigation. It is a thought-provoking movie that raises important questions about corporate responsibility and the role of the legal system in protecting public health and the environment.

A Civil Action is a 1998 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 55 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6 and a MetaScore of 68.

A Civil Action
Where to Watch A Civil Action
A Civil Action is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent A Civil Action for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 55 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (30,843)
  • Metascore