The Pelican Brief Synopsis
Reporter (Denzel Washington) helps law student (Julia Roberts) unravel government cover-up.
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Movie Reviews

Critic Ratings

50
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100

Variety

By Brian Lowry
Tilling some of the same conspiracy turf he explored in "All the President's Men," Pakula has improved on Grisham's book by excising much...
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75

Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
By casting attractive stars in the leads, by finding the right visual look, by underlining the action with brooding, ominously sad music, a...
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70

Empire

By Angie Errigo
Much like Pakula's "Presumed Innocent", this is a solid and intelligent, if unspectacular adaptation, and just a tad tighter than The Firm...
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70

The New York Times

By Elvis Mitchell
The story, neatly compressed, unfolds in dependable and photogenic ways. And it is coaxed along by Mr. Pakula's considerable skills as a...
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50

The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

By Rick Groen
Pakula's screenplay looks to bulldoze a clear path through the narrative thickets, but this stuff is impenetrable - meant to be...
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50

Austin Chronicle

By Marc Savlov
Unfortunately, The Pelican Brief comes across as a prolonged bout with deja vu: you know you've seen this before, and more than once at...
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50

TV Guide

Grisham's characters are rudimentary, and both Roberts and Washington are stiff and over-earnest.
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50

USA Today

By Mike Clark
Until its dopey coda, the film never all-out stumbles, but always exudes Pakula's trademark chilliness. [17 Dec 1993 Pg. 01.D]
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50

ReelViews

By James Berardinelli
The final result is an unnecessarily-long thriller that contains far more talking than action. Pakula's direction is lackluster, showing...
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42

Entertainment Weekly

By Ty Burr
Pakula insists that The Pelican Brief is haute cuisine, and the seriousness nearly wrecks it.
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More Info

Rated PG-13
What Parents Need to Know
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 14+ Talky political thriller won't engage kids.
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