The Paper Chase (film)

1973 film by James Bridges

The Paper Chase is a 1973 film about a first-year law student at Harvard Law School who struggles with balancing his coursework and his relationship with the daughter of a stern professor.

Directed and written by James Bridges, based on the novel by John Jay Osborn.
You have to choose between the girl you love and the diploma you've worked for all your life. You have 30 seconds.

Professor KingsfieldEdit

  • The study of law is something new and unfamiliar to most of you — unlike any other schooling you have ever known before...You teach yourselves the law, but I train your minds. You come in here with a skull full of mush; and if you survive, you leave thinking like a lawyer.

Susan FieldsEdit

  • I know there's a lot of things to say, but it really isn't worth saying them, so please just get out.
  • They finally got you, Hart, they sucked all that Midwestern charm right out of you. Look, he's got you scared to death. You're going to pass, because you're the kind the law school wants.


Professor Kingsfield: Mr. Hart, would you recite for us the facts of Hawkins versus McGee? [looks up] I do have your name right? You are "Mr. Hart"?
James Hart: [mumbles] Yes, my name's Hart.
Professor Kingsfield: You're not speaking loud enough, Mr. Hart. Will you speak up?
James Hart: Yes, my name's Hart.
Professor Kingsfield: Mr. Hart, you're still not speaking loud enough. Will you stand? Speak louder, Mr. Hart! Fill the room with your intelligence!

Toombs: Kingsfield drove him mad. He's driven a lot of lawyers mad over the past 40 years that he's been teaching here. I heard he ripped up a 1-L this morning so bad, the guy lost his breakfast.
James Hart: That's true. That was me.

Franklin Ford III: Damn good.
James Hart: It was a good answer - not a complete analysis, not a hard question - but the point is, I did it. I did it in Kingfield's class, this is a goddamn dance.

William Moss: So you flunked all your practice exams, huh? Every one?
Kevin Brooks: Yeah, every one.
William Moss: Aww man, don't look like that, you'll be saved. Every person in this house almost flunked out of law school in their first year. It's not hard to see why; they had broads on the brain. It's the worst thing that can happen to a first-year law student. I don't suppose that's your problem?
Kevin Brooks: No, no. I'm married.
William Moss: Well, the vote's split on that, but I've saved all kinds. I moved in here and saved all these dum-dums. They'll all graduate, all from Harvard. Did you bring any samples of your work?
Kevin Brooks: Yeah, I brought some notes...
William Moss: Notes don't mean a thing.

James Hart: I found something. There's a room above the stacks that have all the professors' old notes from when they were law students here. They're just sitting there waiting. I want to see the notes... I want to see Kingsfield's notes on contracts.
Franklin Ford III: Oh no, I know what you're thinking. [shakes head] Uh-uh.

Professor Kingsfield: Mister Hart, here is a dime. Take it, call your mother, and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a lawyer.
James Hart: [pause, as he is leaving the room] You... are a SON OF A BITCH, Kingsfield.
Professor Kingsfield: Mr. Hart! That is the most intelligent thing you've said all day. You may take your seat.


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