Robert Redford, usually a pretty good judge of material, got snookered badly in this Ivan Reitman comedy that also starred Debra Winger and Daryl Hannah. Redford is a rising assistant D.A. who is prosecuting a woman (Hanna... more »h) for theft of a painting by her father. Before he knows what hit him, he's involved romantically both with the defendant and with her scattered lawyer (Winger). Redford is as good as he can be, given the circumstances, but this is a movie that doesn't know where it's going. Originally intended as a serious film about the legal wrangling over the estate of the late Mark Rothko, this film quickly degenerated when the script was turned over to Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr., whose sparkling oeuvre includes Turner and Hooch. --Marshall Fine« less
Michael Rogers | Webster, New York United States | 07/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is Ivan Reitman's first film after his mega hit "Ghostbusters". Some will even recognize an exterior or two that was used in both films.I will always remember this film because I got a pass to a preview screening for it from my art teacher. This was before preview screenings were done as much as they were now by radio stations and more. It was a bit of a special thing in my mind.I remember enjoying it on a interplay between Redford and Winger level and thinking of it as a good but not great movie.About a month later, the film opened to mediocre reviews and business.After that, the movie would turn up on TV and when I caught it, I found myself seeing it thorugh to the end (only to be surprised when the TV version had an altered ending).Anyway, Legal Eagles became that "old comfortable shoe" of a movie that when it popped up on cable (and for a while it often did)I would go "ahhhh" and keep on watching.I would've gotten it on VHS, but I was all too aware of how the movie was cropped and zoomed and that was good enough to watch on TV but not good enough to buy. I would wait until I got a laserdisc player and get it in widescreen (laserdiscs, those things that look like big DVD's before they had DVD's)The rest is history of course, then came DVD. When I got a DVD player, a widescreen Legal Eagles DVD was available for about  so there you go.This was the first release (from Image) though, single layer non-anamorphic widescreen and no extras. The single layer made for some noticable compression artifacts when I viewed it on my newer high tech TV (especially on Daryl Hannah's face during her performance piece). Also, the audio on the disc seemed a bit weak.But then, just a couple weeks ago, I saw the newer release for Legal Eagles. Dual layer, anamorphic widescreen (which my new TV can take advantage of)plus a trailer and a vintage featurette. Terrific.This transfer is much improved from the first release, though it still has a bit of softness and grain to it.The soundtrack is improved from the first release too, more accurately reproducing the Dolby Surround mix I remember hearing in that preview screening.Please note that this new release has misprints on the specifications on the back.It lists the video as "1.85 to 1 anamorphic widescreen" when it's actually 2.35 to 1 Anamorphic. It also lists the audio as "2.0 mono" when it is actually 2.0 Dolby Surround.So, people thinking of picking up this on DVD remember to get the updated version (with the blue tone background on the cover) instead of the old one (with the pinkish tone background on the cover)."
3 and 1/2 stars....Something About Debra
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 01/22/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to the DVD(Universal/2003 release) edition of "Legal Eagles"...
Okay, okay,...so let's say you are entertaining beings from another planet. You are telling them about all the great talent we have here in the world of film. Included among that talent would of course be Robert Redford and Debra Winger. "Legal Eagles", although a fun, sometimes thrilling, and entertaining view, may not be the one, you would want to use as an example of all that talent! Maybe it was the chemistry(or lack of), maybe it was two great, but basically dramatic talents doing romantic comedy together, or perhaps the storyline, that mixes romantic comedy with a murder mystery, but probably a little of each of those things, keep this duo from being the shining example of what we expect from them on the screen.
The story is a complex but good one. It's a serio-comic look at some dirty dealings in the Art world with New York City as the centerpiece of all the action. An Asst. D.A. and a defense attorney, who's courtroom styles couldn't be more different, try to work together to prove the innocence of a client accused of first theft, and then murder. Chelsea Dearden, is the client, a young and beautiful performance artist, who, as a little girl, saw her talented father and all his artwork go up in flames. A painting, a gift from her father, may have survived the fire. Chelsea wants what is rightfully hers. How far will she go to obtain it?
The cast includes a host of fine talented actors. Daryl Hannah is Chelsea. She is wonderful at keeping us guessing about her guilt or innocence. One moment she is a child-like beauty, the next a sultry seductress. Brian Dennehy, Terrence Stamp, Steven Hill, and a young Christine Baranski add their marvelous talents as well. Directed by Ivan Reitman, who has a fine sense of comedy ("Ghostbusters"/"Stripes"), it is a film that will have you both smiling and intrigued. Elmer Bernstein, who knows a thing or two about movie scores adds his touch as well. A couple of added attractions to this film would be a look at some incredible artwork, and of course, being that this all takes place in the Big Apple, you'll see the WTC preserved on film.
I would suggest renting it if you haven't already seen it, as it is enjoyable, but probably not one that will watch repeatedly. If it is a film you already know you love and are interested in the DVD, you should go for it. The DVD presents a very nice picture in anamorphic widescreen. It has an informative look at the film with a "making of" featurette, English captions, and subtitles in French and Spanish.
With something for everbody... thrilling action, explosions, romance, courtroom scenes, comedy and drama, it is very much worth the view. There was just something about the mix, that kept if from being great.....enjoy...Laurie"
AMUSING ROMP THROUGH, WELL, TOO MANY THINGS
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 02/01/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It doesn't stink as much as some reviewers have foisted off on this site, but don't go expecting a tight plot.
Somewhere along the way the scriptwriters seem to have gone berserk with expensive attempts to be all things to all people -- goofball romantic comedy, courtroom melodrama, high-octane thriller with flaming pyrotechnics. The overloaded plot revolves around an assistant D.A. who gets involved with a defense lawyer to solve a convoluted case that includes arson, art robbery, insurance fraud, even murder.
It's almost as if the plot was not the point. The 22-carat charisma of Robert Redford and the starry-eyed charm of Debra Winger is what keeps the film afloat with some delicious chemistry. Daryl Hannah is very effective as the spaced-out daughter, who spends most of the movie seeming sexy and/or guilty.
The whole mishmash ends up significantly less than the sum of its parts, which is sad because with only slightly better editing it stood on the brink of being an excellent film. That, it isn't."
TerryT | WA United States | 12/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a 17 year old movie fan, and just to put my two cents in, I think this movie is awesome. It's not well known, but even so, I watch it every time it's on television. Thumbs up."
A fine comedy, one of the best
pietro-di-tricesimo | charleville-mezieres, France | 02/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There no stronger words to define this comedy. It's fine, surprising and all the actors reach the summit of the art. It's not a Grisham's novel with an unbelieved story with FBI and CIA all around. It's lawyers games but those lawyers are human with a normal life. Just look at the play of Redford in the court. If you want to see the most fantastic example of the perfect attorney, just print this scene in your memory. I don't count the number of times I view this tape."