Adam’s Rib is a 1949 American film written by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin and directed by George Cukor. It stars Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as married lawyers who come to oppose each other in court. Judy Holliday co-stars as the third lead in her second credited movie role. The music was composed by Miklós Rózsa, except for the song “Farewell, Amanda”, which was written by Cole Porter.
Doris Attinger (Judy Holliday) follows her husband (Tom Ewell) with a gun one day after suspecting he is having an affair with another woman (Jean Hagen). In her rage, she fires at the couple multiple times. One of the bullets hits her husband in the shoulder.
The following morning, married lawyers Adam and Amanda Bonner (Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn) read about the incident in the newspaper. They argue over the case. Amanda sympathizes with the woman, particularly noting the double standard that exists for men and women regarding adultery. Adam thinks Doris is guilty of attempted murder. When Adam arrives at work, he learns that he has been assigned to prosecute the case. When Amanda hears this, she seeks out Doris and becomes her defense lawyer.
Amanda bases her case on the belief that women and men are equal, and that Doris had been forced into the situation through her husband’s poor treatment of her. Adam thinks Amanda is showing a disregard for the law, since there should never be an excuse for such behavior. Tension increasingly builds at home as the two battle each other in court. The situation comes to a head when Adam feels humiliated during the trial when Amanda encourages one of her witnesses, a woman weightlifter, to lift him overhead. Adam, still angry, later storms out of their apartment. When the verdict for the trial is returned, Amanda’s plea to the jury to “judge this case as you would if the sexes were reversed” proves successful, and Doris is acquitted.
That night, Adam sees Amanda and their neighbor Kip Lurie (David Wayne), who has shown a clear interest in Amanda, through the window. He breaks into the apartment, pointing a gun at the pair. Amanda is horrified, and says to Adam, “You’ve no right to do this — nobody does!” Adam feels he has proven his point about the injustice of Amanda’s line of defense. He then puts the gun in his mouth. Amanda and Kip scream in terror. Adam then bites down on the gun and chews off a piece; it is made of licorice. Amanda is furious with this prank, and a three-way fight ensues.
Adam and Amanda, in the midst of a divorce, reluctantly reunite for a meeting with their tax accountant. They talk about their relationship in the past tense. They become emotional when talking about the farm they own and realize how much they love each other. They go to the farm, where Adam announces that he has been selected as the Republican nominee for County Court Judge. Amanda jokes about running for the post as the Democratic candidate.