This dramatization of the famous Nuremberg trials centers on Dan Haywood (Tracy), who's sent to Germany as chief Allied judge (Haywood's character was based on real-life jurist Robert Jackson). Prosecutor Tad Lawson (Widmark) tries a group of top-level Nazis for complying with Hitler's inhumane edicts, facing off against defense attorney Hans Rolfe (Schell). As Haywood presides over the historic trial, he ponders where the great nation went wrong, and how to apportion the blame.
Long but brilliant, “Judgment” was a box-office sensation, due to director Kramer’s sensitive, socially conscious approach, which examines the degree to which people should be held responsible for following orders. The movie includes a host of sterling performances: Schell stands out as the impassioned defense attorney (the part netted him an Oscar), as do Montgomery Clift and Judy Garland, whose tragic characters poignantly mirror the consuming sadness in their real lives. “Judgment” is an absorbing, true-to-life reckoning with the infamous Nazi legacy and the nature of modern justice.