Anatomy of a Murder is a 1959 American courtroom crime drama film. It was directed by Otto Preminger and adapted by Wendell Mayes from the best-selling novel of the same name written by Michigan Supreme Court Justice John D. Voelker under the pen name Robert Traver. Voelker based the novel on a 1952 murder case in which he was the defense attorney.
The film stars James Stewart, George C. Scott, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden, Kathryn Grant, Brooks West (Arden's real-life husband), Orson Bean, and Murray Hamilton. The judge was played by Joseph N. Welch, a real-life lawyer famous for berating Joseph McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy Hearings.
This was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to address sex and rape in graphic terms. It includes one of Saul Bass's most celebrated title sequences, an innovative musical score by Duke Ellington (who plays a character called Pie-Eye in the film) and has been described by a law professor as "probably the finest pure trial movie ever made".
In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, small-town lawyer Paul Biegler (James Stewart), a former district attorney who lost his re-election bid, spends most of his time fishing,