- Class Action (film)
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Apted Produced by Ted Field
Robert W. Cort
Written by Carolyn Shelby
Starring Gene Hackman
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Music by James Horner Cinematography Conrad L. Hall Editing by Ian Crafford Studio Interscope Communications Distributed by 20th Century Fox Release date(s) March 15, 1991 Running time 110 minutes Country United States Language English Box office $28,277,918
Class Action is a 1991 American drama thriller film directed by Michael Apted. Gene Hackman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio star; Laurence Fishburne, Colin Friels, Fred Dalton Thompson, and Donald Moffat are also featured.
The story is about a lawsuit concerning injuries caused by a defective automobile. The suit takes on a personal dimension because the injured plaintiff's attorney, Jedediah Tucker Ward (Gene Hackman) is the father of the automobile manufacturer's attorney Maggie Ward (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), his estranged daughter. The central premise of the film is roughly analogous to the controversy surrounding the Ford Pinto.
Jedediah Ward is a liberal civil rights lawyer who has based his career on helping people avoid being taken for a ride by the rich and powerful; he's pursued principle at the expense of profit, though he has a bad habit of not following up on his clients after their cases are settled.
Jed's daughter, Maggie, has had a bad relationship with her father ever since she discovered that he was cheating on her mother, Estelle (Joanna Merlin), and while she also has made a career in law, she has taken a very different professional route by working for a high-powered corporate law firm and has adopted a conservative political agenda.
Jed is hired to help field a lawsuit against a major auto manufacturer whose station wagons have a dangerous propensity to explode on impact while making a left turn, but while his research indicates he has an all but airtight case against them, the case becomes more complicated for him when he discovers that Maggie is representing the firm he's suing.
The auto manufacturer in the film also utilizes a "bean-counting" approach to risk management, whereby the projections of actuaries for probable deaths and injured car-owners is weighed against the cost of re-tooling and re-manufacturing the car without the defect (exploding gas tanks) with the resulting decision to keep the car as-is to positively benefit short term profitability.
- Gene Hackman as Jedediah Tucker Ward
- Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Maggie Ward
- Colin Friels as Michael Grazier
- Joanna Merlin as Estelle Ward
- Larry Fishburne as Nick Holbrook
- Donald Moffat as Quinn
- Jan Rubes as Pavel
- Matt Clark as Judge Symes
- Fred Dalton Thompson as Dr. Getchell
- Jonathan Silverman as Brian
- Joan McMurtrey as Ann
- Anne Elizabeth Ramsay as Deborah
- David Byron as Carl
- Tim Hopper as Howie
- Robert David Hall as Steven Kellen
The Jerry Bruckheimer Connection
A trio of the film's stars would end up on two of Jerry Bruckheimer's CBS crime dramas: Mastrantonio would star as FBI agent Anne Cassidy on Without a Trace, Fishburne and Hall would reunite as co-stars on CSI.
Class Action opened at #4 in its opening weekend with $4,207,923 and ended with a domestic gross of $24,277,858; a worldwide total of $28,277,918 was made and the film was a moderate box office success.
- Class Action at the Internet Movie Database
- Class Action at AllRovi
- Class Action at Box Office Mojo
- Class Action at Rotten Tomatoes
- Class Action at Metacritic
- Interview with Producer Robert Cort and writers Carolyn Shelby and Christopher Ames on the film's 20th anniversary at Abnormal Use
Michael Apted 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010sThe Power of the Game (2010) • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) Television"The Dustbinmen" (1968) • "ITV Playhouse" (1968 – 1971) • "Big Breadwinner Hog" (1969) • Up series † (1970 – ) • "The Lovers" (1970) • "ITV Saturday Night Theatre" (1971 – 1972) • "Follyfoot" (1971 – 1972) • "Play for Today" (1972 – 1977) • Joy (1972) • "Thirty-Minute Theatre" (1972) • Buggins' Ermine (1972) • "Black and Blue" (1973) • "Shades of Greene" (1975) • "Laurence Olivier Presents" (1976) • "The Paradise Run" (1976) • P'tang, Yang, Kipperbang (1982) • Haunted: Poor Girl (1986) • The Long Way Home (1989) • Always Outnumbered (1998) • Nathan Dixon (1999) • "Married in America" (2002 – 2006) • "Blind Justice" (2005) • "Rome" (2005) • "What About Brian" (2006)†indicates documentary
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