Best Drama Movies on Netflix Right Now (2020)

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American actor John Houseman (1902 – 1988) as Charles W. Kingsfield Jr. in ‘The Paper Chase’, directed by James Bridges, 1973. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
American actor John Houseman (1902 – 1988) as Charles W. Kingsfield Jr. in ‘The Paper Chase’, directed by James Bridges, 1973. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images) /

No. 37 – The Paper Chase  (1973)

Written by: James Bridges

Directed by: James Bridges

Starring Timothy Bottoms, John Houseman, and Lindsay Wagner

The Paper Chase is a movie about how much it sucks to study for tests, essentially. It is also very effective at convincing you how much it actually does suck to study for tests, as well. It is a very basic plot, as it follows a Harvard Law student, James Hart (Bottoms), and his journey through the school, all while dealing with menacing professor Kingsfield (Houseman) who tries to challenge James at every step to get the very best from him. As James desperately tries to stay in school without failing, he begins a relationship with Susan (Wagner), who turns out to be the daughter of Professor Kingfield which further complicates James’ experience.

The Paper Chase is on this list strictly because of John Houseman’s award-winning performance, which came as the highlight of his storied career. It is an emotionless, commanding role that let Houseman, known for his stage work and Shakespearean acting, steal every scene from his fellow actors, and makes a film with an incredibly thin plot shine much brighter on this list than it probably should.