New Jersey's Best Legal Podcast
July 29, 2022

Inherit The Wind

Inherit The Wind

This installment of Meg's movies features Inherit the Wind.


Inherit the Wind is one of the best-known court case movies. This 1960 Hollywood remake of the Scopes 'Monkey' Trial recasts the events of the real-life event.

The State of Tennessee v John Thomas Scopes

The trial took place in Dayton, Tennessee, (Hillsboro in the movie) in July 1925. It dramatized the clash between religious fundamentalism and intellectual freedom.

Spencer Tracy stars as schoolteacher Bertram Cates. Fredric March plays prosecution attorney Matthew Harrison Brady. The film also features Gene Kelly, Dick York, Noah Beery Jr. and other notables. Stanley Kramer directed the movie, based on the play of the same name by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee. The play was intended to be an allegory for the McCarthy Trials that would follow.

Inherit the Wind opens with a sweeping crane shot of the small town of Hillsboro, Alabama, in the Bible Belt. The scene shows a man walking down the steps of the courthouse, including a statue of Blind Justice. Other grim-faced men soon follow, and they serve a notice to biology teacher Bertram Cates. The film is an enduring reminder of the dangers of bigoted imbeciles who make laws that choke our freedom of speech.

In the Scopes "Monkey" Trial, Clarence Darrow, a famous trial attorney, argues to prove that evolution is false. The film's two leading actors, Spenser Tracy and Frederic March, dominate the plot and define what a movie-the tricourtroom presence is all about.

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