Why Is the Movie Called Star Chamber?

When it comes to the world of cinema, movie titles play a crucial role in capturing the audience’s attention. A well-crafted title can set the tone for the film and provide a glimpse into what viewers can expect. One such title that has intrigued audiences for decades is “Star Chamber.”

What is “Star Chamber”?

“Star Chamber” is a 1983 American crime thriller film directed by Peter Hyams and starring Michael Douglas. The movie follows Judge Steven R. Hardin, played by Douglas, who becomes disillusioned with the justice system and seeks an alternative means of delivering justice. He joins a secret organization called the “Star Chamber,” which operates outside of the law and delivers vigilante justice to criminals who have escaped punishment through legal means.

So why is it called “Star Chamber”?

The term “Star Chamber” refers to an old English court that was known for its secrecy and arbitrary rulings. The court was established in the 15th century to hear cases that were outside of the common law courts’ jurisdiction, such as cases involving high-profile individuals or cases where juries were deemed too biased.

The name “Star Chamber” is believed to have originated from the room where the court was held, which had a ceiling decorated with stars. Over time, the term came to be associated with any secretive or unaccountable tribunal.

The relevance of Star Chamber in the movie

In “Star Chamber,” Judge Hardin becomes frustrated with how easily criminals can evade punishment through legal loopholes or lack of evidence. He feels that true justice is not being served and decides to take matters into his own hands by joining an organization that operates outside of legal boundaries.

The use of “Star Chamber” in this context highlights how desperate Judge Hardin has become for justice to be served properly. The organization represents his last resort when all other legal means have failed.

The controversy surrounding the movie

“Star Chamber” received mixed reviews upon its release, with some praising it for its suspenseful plot and others criticizing it for its portrayal of vigilante justice. The movie’s ending, where the “Star Chamber” members realize they may have made a mistake and decide to go after Judge Hardin himself, also drew criticism.

Some viewers felt that the movie was promoting the idea of vigilantism and undermining the legal system’s importance. Others argued that it was merely a work of fiction and should be viewed as such.

Regardless of one’s opinion on the movie’s message, there is no denying that “Star Chamber” is a thought-provoking film that raises questions about justice, morality, and the role of law enforcement in society.


In conclusion, “Star Chamber” is a title that perfectly captures the movie’s themes of secrecy, justice, and moral ambiguity. The use of this term adds depth to the film by connecting it to an old English court known for its arbitrary rulings.

Whether you love or hate “Star Chamber,” there is no denying that its title is fitting for a movie that explores the limits of law and order.