User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28
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  1. JasonE.
    Apr 25, 2006
    2
    A real snoozer, interrupted by a few laughs at the ludicrous plot and dialogue. It goes on forever, and then, when it absolutely has to be OVER, the thing comes back to life with a saccharine epilogue. Big stars, and a (formerly) expert director, in the service of dreck.
  2. Mar 9, 2014
    8
    A very well-executed and suspenseful political thriller, The Pelican Brief runs along the same lines as "Enemy of the State" and "All the President's Men" to create a great film.
Metascore
50

Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. 50
    Unfortunately, The Pelican Brief comes across as a prolonged bout with deja vu: you know you've seen this before, and more than once at that.
  2. 75
    By casting attractive stars in the leads, by finding the right visual look, by underlining the action with brooding, ominously sad music, a good director can create the illusion of meaning even when nothing's there.
  3. 50
    The final result is an unnecessarily-long thriller that contains far more talking than action. Pakula's direction is lackluster, showing little of the style that permeated his two most impressive pictures, "All the President's Men" and "Presumed Innocent".