Here is a film with many strengths Abby Mann's stunning script and Stanley Kramer's direction. But the great joy of this movie is its sensational cast. Possibly the best "all-star cast" movie ever made,Judgement at Nuremburg is a fascinating study, not only of its subject matter, but of different acting styles coming together.
Spencer Tracy's quiet and thoughtful turn as the lead judge is a perfect contrast to Maximilian Schell's (sensational) passionate defense attorney and Richard Widmark's almost fanatically zealous prosecutor. With these three remarkable actors "running the show," so to speak, we are treated to a parade of solid performances.
Marlene Dietrich (in what may be the most difficult role in the film) plays the widow of a prominent Nazi general. Outside the courtroom she strikes up a tentative friendship with Tracy. Dietrich (a passionate Nazi-hater) brings a surprising depth of feeling to her portrait of a woman caught between her love for her country and the terrible times in which she lives.
In the midst of all this are two brief yet absolutely mesmerizing performances: Montgomery Clift and Judy Garland as victims of Nazi atrocities. Both are heartbreaking as individuals haunted by Nazi persecution; struggling to rebuild life and regain dignity.
Burt Lancaster makes an interesting departure from his usual gutsy male hero; here he plays the chief defendant, the former Minister of Justice. Lancaster abandoned his usual bluster here; this is a terribly moving performance: the man's quiet surface dignity belies the guilt he lives with.
A young William Shatner makes an appearance as the lead judge's aide, in one of his first film roles.