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The Pelican Brief

2 h 21 min1993X-RayNR
Adapted from a John Grisham best seller, this film stars Julia Roberts as sharp-witted law student Darby Shaw, who finds herself the target for murder when her thesis determining why two US justices were killed falls into the wrong hands. Supported by Washington-based journalist Gray Grantham (Denzel Washington), she seeks to find out who is behind the threats against her life, and bring them t...
Alan J. Pakula
Julia RobertsDenzel WashingtonSam Shepard
English [CC]
Audio Languages
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
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Supporting actors
Stanley TucciWilliam AthertonHume CronynRobert CulpJohn HeardJohn LithgowJames B. SikkingTony Goldwyn
Alan J. PakulaPieter Jan Brugge
Warner Bros.
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesexual contentviolence
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


4.6 out of 5 stars

1713 global ratings

  1. 73% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 17% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Mandrek LarlReviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 July 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Recommended if you've read the book …
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Now here's a first. Yesterday afternoon I finished reading "The Pelican Brief" and having enjoyed the book so much I persuaded the Memsahib and the teenagers to watch the movie last night, and boy is it a good movie that follows the book closely so much so there's even dialogue that's been lifted directly. But its a long and complicated book and this is a long [over two hours long] and complicated film; there are a few cuts from the original story and a couple of small changes and additions here and there, but without the benefit of having read the book it would have been difficult to follow and we took a couple of time-outs to ensure that everyone was on the same page before carrying on.

But it looks so dated, it's not that the storyline is dated, and it's not the absence of mobile phones or laptops or any of the things that we take for granted today but the way the movie's directed makes it look more like it's from the 1970s and not 1993. And while Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington are superb the chemistry between them that's so evident in the book falls short in the movie, Roberts never looks as fearful or commanding as the book's Darby Shaw, the influence and control of Tony Goldwyn's Fletcher Cole is reduced and disappointingly the tension that makes the book so good never quite builds; but Grisham's story is still there and that's really what makes the film.
One person found this helpful
Dangerous DaveReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 August 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Boring ....
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Wife wanted to watch after reading the book... She got annoyed at me because I wasn't getting gripped... But the truth is neither was she... The acting is bad, so you don't care what happens in the film. We didn't get to the end , she had read the book, and I didn't know or care what was going on .
Mrs. L. CassidyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 February 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great film
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Watched it and really enjoyed the chases, scary bits etc. Julia Roberts and Denzil Washington are real stars
One person found this helpful
JennineReviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 August 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Good entertainment
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A brilliant modern thriller in the classic style. Not so muych sex or grastuitous violence and a good storyline. Julia Roberts and Denzil Washington at their best.
Peter AshcroftReviewed in the United Kingdom on 01 September 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
No subtitles
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I’m 100% profoundly deaf. Unfortunately this downloaded video doesn’t have subtitles. Consequently for me a waste of mney
Mr. C. FaulknerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 01 November 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
A good classic film that still engages
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This a good classic thriller, that still is exciting to watch. The story line is good. It does not have high tech imagery so the film has a nice charm that doesn't age.
One person found this helpful
Kindle CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 July 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the greats
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Good plot, great characterisation and well directed. A joy.
M. DarlingReviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 May 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
A great movie!
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Great movie! I watched this years ago and just watched it again with my teenagers. They loved it too!
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