First Monday in October on DVD

Category: Blu-ray's and DVD's

1981 was the year Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to the United States Supreme Court. She was the first woman justice to serve on the bench. That same year the movie First Monday in October hit the screens. Based on a play written four years earlier, this fictional film is about the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jill Clayburgh plays Judge Loomis, a conservative from Orange County California. Her liberal foil on the High Court is Judge Snow, adeptly played by Walter Matthau. They balance the power with conflicting ideas and always clash, however they ultimately respect each other.

What is interesting about this movie is that even though the two justices are foes when it comes to ideology, they have respect and admiration for each other’s opinions and know that by expressing opposite arguments, they are doing their jobs. This is something today’s politicians should take note of.

The takeaway from this entertaining film is not the story of the first woman on the High Court. It is the relationship between dissenting justices. It is the fact that respect and admiration can be sustained even though two people are on very opposite sides of issues. Before the current stalemate in Washington, at the end of the day Democrats and Republicans were friends, not foes. They would enjoy a drink together and socialize with each other. Today’s atmosphere is different. What this film teaches us is that even though people have differing views, we all have the right to our opinions and have the right to express them, and we are all human beings and citizens of the same country. If the people in Washington could all see this film, the country would be better off.

There are opposing opinions on every issue. The point of the film is that our personal convictions should not be the basis for how we feel about others. This is a good lesson for everyone. People – especially those in powerful positions – need to be able to respectfully talk about issues with each other and learn why the other person feels the way he/she does. With civility, people can work together and hopefully forge agreements that take into consideration the differing opinions.

The movie is rated “R” because it takes on the subject of pornography, indecency, art, and free speech, so it isn’t recommended for kids. First Monday in October is part of the Warner Archive Collection and is available from their website at The movie is serious and also entertaining. Listening to Snow and Loomis exchange arguments and cross-examine each other makes for smart and engaging scenes. This movie shows that a serious film can be witty.

About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment business for 20 years. She also writes about technology and has been a travel writer for the past 12 years. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet: The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.

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