Tom Cruise has been creating movies for nearly four decades, and while some of his films have not aged well, his 1993 movie The Firm still manages to pack a punch in 2023. The R-rated mystery thriller based on a novel by author John Grisham is now streaming on Paramount+.
The Tom Cruise legal thriller The Firm may be 30 years old, but it’s still watchable today thanks to the star’s performance.
The Firm stars Tom Cruise as Mitch McDeere, a young graduate from Harvard Law School who joins a successful law firm. At first, the law firm seems wonderful and promising with its high pay and benefits, allowing Mitch and his wife Abby (played by Jeanne Tripplehorn) to buy a house, a new car, and pay off student loans. But soon, the young lawyer gets caught up in lies and deceit when he finds out that the law firm is involved in shady business deals and several murders.
Mitch must choose between doing what is right for the law firm and doing what is right by his ethics. Soon, he and Abby are both caught up between the FBI and the law firm, where they must fight for themselves above all else.
The Firm is based on a book of the same name by John Grisham, an author known for writing many legal thrillers. The book was released in 1991, just two years prior to the film. While several of John Grisham’s books have been adapted into films, The Firm is the highest-grossing film adaption from one of his novels, at least so far.
In addition to Tom Cruise and Jeanne Triplehorn, The Firm stars several other big-name actors who helped bring the dramatic book to life.
Thanks in part to the star power of Tom Cruise, The Firm is the most successful film of any John Grisham adaptation, which includes The Lincoln Lawyer.
Gene Hackman plays Avery Tolar, a senior partner at the law firm who serves as Mitch’s mentor. Holly Hunter portrays Tammy Hemphill, a secretary at the law firm who witnesses some of their illegal activities and is willing to help Mitch try to expose the company. Ed Harris plays FBI Agent Wayne Tarrance, who works closely with Mitch to try and uncover more details on his investigation into the law firm.
Originally, the lead role of Mitch McDeere was meant for Charlie Sheen or Jason Patric, but producers Scott Rudin and John Davis spoke with Tom Cruise on the set of A Few Good Men, and he was very interested. Additionally, the role of Avery Tolar was meant to be a woman and was going to be played by Meryl Streep, but John Grisham objected to this idea.
The mystery thriller was directed by Sydney Pollack, who is best known for his directing work on Tootsie and Michael Clayton, and as an actor in Eyes Wide Shut (another Tom Cruise film). The director came on board after the first two directors (John Badham and John McTiernan) fell through.
The Firm was released to theaters on June 30, 1993, and it immediately jumped to the top spot at the box office and stayed there for three weeks in a row. It’s no wonder fans were flocking to the theaters to see Tom Cruise after his career began taking off thanks to his previous films like Top Gun, Rain Man, and Days of Thunder. This was also the height of John Grisham’s popularity since he had three books on The New York Times Best Seller list at the time of the film’s release.
With a budget of $42 million, the movie ended up grossing $270 million worldwide, the highest-grossing R-rated movie of the year. The Firm went on to receive two Academy Award nominations, one for Best Supporting Actress for Holly Hunter and the other for Best Original Score for Dave Grusin. Unfortunately, the film did not win either of the awards, but it was very well received by critics.
The Firm Is Getting A Sequel Novel
Later this year, John Grisham will release a new book The Exchange: After the Firm, a long-awaited sequel to the original novel. Despite being released 30 years after the first book, the sequel will only take place 15 years after the events of The Firm. The new legal thriller will be released on October 17, 2023, and it has already sparked a debate about whether or not a film will accompany the sequel, and if so, will Tom Cruise reprise his role.
To prepare for the new book (and a potential second movie), check out The Firm on Paramount+.