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Francis Ford Coppola is both scripter and director of this drama adapted from the John Grisham novel about broke, inexperienced Memphis law-school graduate Rudy Baylor (Matt Damon), ready to take any job he can find. Signing on with slimy Bruiser Stone (Mickey Rourke), he learns ambulance-chasing tactics from Bruiser's leg man Deck Schifflet (Danny DeVito) and meets battered teen Kelly Riker (Claire Danes), abused by her husband (Andrew Shue). Baylor has his own clients -- friendly Miss Birdie (Teresa Wright), who has a large estate to dispose of, and desperate Dot Black (Mary Kay Place), whose son Donnie Ray (Johnny Whitworth) has terminal leukemia. Medical intervention could have spared his life, but the Great Benefit Insurance Company denied coverage, preventing Donnie Ray from getting a life-saving bone marrow transplant. Rudy finds a place to live in the apartment behind Miss Birdie's house. Deck and Rudy split from Bruiser to start their small firm. When they take on the Blacks' case, they go up against the insurance company's high-priced law firm and are continually thwarted by slick lawyer Leo F. Drummond (Jon Voight).

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