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Gideon's Trumpet
Gideon's Trumpet
Actors: Henry Fonda, JosÚ Ferrer, John Houseman, Fay Wray, Sam Jaffe
Director: Robert E. Collins
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2007     1hr 44min

Henry Fonda stars in a Hallmark Hall of Fame classic seen on CBS In one of the finest and final performances of his distinguished career, Henry Fonda portrays Clarence Gideon, the destitute prisoner whose handwritten plea ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Henry Fonda, JosÚ Ferrer, John Houseman, Fay Wray, Sam Jaffe
Director: Robert E. Collins
Creators: John Houseman, Donald H. Birnkrant, Frank Bracht, David W. Rintels, Robert H. Justman, Anthony Lewis
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Drama, Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Acorn Media
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 08/28/2007
Original Release Date: 04/30/1980
Theatrical Release Date: 04/30/1980
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 44min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 13
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 08/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a movie made great by Henry Fonda's compelling portrayal of an unlikely folk hero,Clarence Earl Gideon, who was the catalyst for one of the most significant changes in our legal system. The seminal case of Gideon v. Wainright ultimately saw the United States Supreme Court establish that anyone who is charged with a crime is entitled to legal representation by an attorney. Clarence Earl Gideon was no angel. He was a four time loser, who had been arrested for the burglary of a pool room. He did, however, maintain that he was innocent in this instance and demanded a trial, as he had no intention of pleading guilty for a crime that he did not commit. When Gideon, a semi illiterate, poorly educated man, requested an attorney to represent him at the trial, his request was denied, the presiding judge being of the mind that Gideon was able to represent himself. Gideon did not have a clue and, consequently, was convicted and sentenced to a five year prison term. Gideon wrote an appeal to the United States Supreme Court, which granted his appeal, and its justices set a new precedent with their ruling. His case was remanded to the Florida state court for a retrial. He was appointed an attorney, tried and, ultimately, acquitted of all charges, deservedly so, based upon the evidentiary weakness of the case against him. Justice delayed, however, is, as always, justice denied, as Gideon ended up serving two years in prison for a crime that he did not commit, before he was finally freed. This is a terrific film with wonderful performances by the entire cast. Henry Fonda is superlative as the stalwart Gideon, whose innate sense of fair play and faith in the United States Constitution helped shape the legal system that we know today. This is a film well worth watching."
This movie was entertaining as well as educational
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The movie, "Gideon's Trumpet" was incredible. It copied the court case Gideon vs Wainright almost word for word. The actors did a wonderful job of protraying the characters and as a whole the movie was quite educational. This movie proved that education can get a person anywhere they want to go. Clarence Earl Gideon was charged for a crime that he did not commit, and he is then sentenced to jail. While on trial, Gideon asked to be represented but the state of Florida denied him of that right. During his time in jail, Gideon researched his case in the jail's library and sent a letter to the supreme court asking for help. The Supreme Court replied and decided to take onthe case. The court ruled in Gideon's favor. The movie proved that an ordinary man such as Clarence Earl Gideon could get help from the Supreme Court. He was by no means extremely intelligent, instead he was just an average man. Gideon made it possible for average people to be noticed and have rights."
Age No Object To Henry Fonda's Acting Talents
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Henry Fonda at seventy four, but he glues together what you may not guess is a T.V. movie with the acting skills of a consumate professional. He plays an ageing semi-literate who just happens to be in the wrong place when a shop break-in and robbery occurs. The actual culprit names Fonda, who with a track record of petty crime is found guilty himself. He had fallen to the mercy of a ruling, made twenty years earlier, that those accused of "non serious" crime did not require the representation of a lawyer, and he was ofcourse in no financial position to hire one. Based on a true story, it tells, in a slow-paced but nonetheless fascinating fashion, how Clarence Earl Gideon(Fonda) studies the law books in his prison library over a two year period , culminating in a letter of appeal to the High Court being taken on by a high-profile lawyer (Jose Ferrer in a strong performance) who succeeds in overturning this ruling, and subsequently in a re-trial Gideon is found innocent. Henry Fonda is quiet, reserved, and as amazingly natural and superb as ever. Its also nice to see Fay Wray in a small role as his landlady. A wonderful production!"
Fonda's Best
Earl A. Myers, Jr. | 04/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've seen most of Henry Fonda's films and this ranks among his very best. He has captured the flawed character of Clarence Earl Gideon like no other actor.This seemingly inconsequential individual who changed the course of American jurisprudence through his appeal to the US Supreme Court for legal representation is portrayed by Fonda so convincingly and so assuredly that Fonda and Gideon become indivisible.

One is equally astonished that the High Court gave such consideration to a relatively minor infraction of the law, and in doing so, gave everyone like the obscure,impoverished Gideon the right to council regardless of their station in life.

As has been stated elsewhere, this film is both an entertaining and informative experience. It is a must see for law students and laymen alike.