Vincent Gambini, Cross-Examiner Extraordinaire

In my humble opinion, the cross-examinations by Vinnie Gambini in My Cousin Vinny represent just about the finest courtroom advocacy ever depicted in cinema. For example:

Q. Hey, Mr. Crane, what are these pictures of?

A. My house and stuff.

Q. Your house and stuff. And what is this brown stuff on the windows?

A. Dirt.

Q: Dirt? What is this rusty, dusty, dirty-looking thing over your window?

A: It's a screen.

Q: A screen? It's a screen. And what are these big things right in the middle of your view, from the middle of your window to the Sack O' Suds? What do we call these big things?

A: Trees?

Q: Trees, that's right. Don't be afraid. Just shout 'em right out when you know 'em. Now, what are these thousands of little things that are on trees?

A: Leaves?

Q: And these bushy things between the trees?

A: Bushes?

Q: Bushes, right. So, Mr. Crane, you could positively identify the defendants for a moment of two seconds looking through this dirty window, this crud-covered screen, these trees with all these leaves on them, and I don't know how many bushes.

A: Looks like five.

Q: Ah ah, don't forget this one and this one.

A: Seven bushes.

Q: So, what do you think? Do you think it's possible you just saw two guys in a green convertible, and not necessarily these two particular guys?

A: I suppose.


This is textbook cross-examination. He asks short leading questions, one fact at a time, using plain English, and he keeps building by adding one additional fact per question until his grand finale. He doesn't yell at the witness, and he even uses demonstrative exhibits effectively. The last question may have been one too many, but it worked in the movie.