The Glass Shield (1994) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Glass Shield1994

The Glass Shield (1994)



Critic Consensus: The Glass Shield struggles under the weight of its worthy themes, but emerges as a flawed yet powerful look at systemic racism in modern America.

The Glass Shield Photos

Movie Info

In this powerful drama, young J.J. is the first black police recruit to come into the L.A. Edgemar station, located in one of the toughest inner-city areas. Through J.J., the film examines several incidents of racist behavior amongst the cops and within the legal system.

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Michael Boatman
as J.J. Johnson
Lori Petty
as Deborah Fields
Ice Cube
as Teddy Woods
Elliott Gould
as Greenspan
Richard Anderson
as Clarence Massey
Don Harvey
as Deputy Jack Bono
Michael Gregory
as Deputy Roy Bush
Sy Richardson
as Mr. Taylor
Natalija Nogulich
as Judge Helen Lewis
Erich Anderson
as District Attorney Ira Kern
Wanda De Jesus
as Carmen Munoz
Victoria Dillard
as Barbara Simms
Tommy Redmond Hicks
as Reverend Banks
Gary Wood
as Sergeant Chuck Gilmore
Linden Chiles
as Sergeant Berry Foster
Corbin Timbrook
as Deputy Kurt Smith
James Fitzpatrick
as Deputy Jim Ryan
David McKnight
as Mr. Harold Johnson
Thomas W. Babson
as U.S. Marshall
Monty Bane
as Coroner
Ernie Banks
as Mr. Woods
Jim Boyce
as Paramedic No. 1
Marcia del Mar
as Mrs. Cruz
Mkeba W. Dunn
as Teddy Woods' Girlfriend
Leigh Dupree
as Court Clerk
Eric Fleeks
as Bailiff
Patricia Forte
as Mrs. Marshall
Jim Hardie
as Insurance Investigator Robert Hill
James Ingersoll
as Jury Foreman
Kyle-Scott Jackson
as Mr. Marshall
Kimble Jemison
as Buddy Johnson
Richard Kuss
as Judge Speck
Michael R. Larson
as Arraignment Lawyer
David Lodge
as Reporter No. 2
Rod McFall
as Cyclist
Christine McGraw
as Reporter No. 1
Julio Oscar Mechoso
as Assistant D.A.
Dino Parks
as Deputy
Al Rodrigo
as Richard Rodrigo
Jose Rosario
as Interpreter Castro
Ed Ruffalo
as Sheriff Sergeant
Lee Ryan
as Insurance Investigator George Beaten
Jason Saffran
as The Punk
Drew Snyder
as Sheriff Sergeant
Joseph Walsh
as Councilman Ross
Donnice Wilson
as Mrs. Johnson
Biff Yeager
as Investigating Officer
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Critic Reviews for The Glass Shield

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (10)

Ambition is something to respect in an artist, but Charles Burnett's police-corruption drama The Glass Shield is such a maladroit piece of filmmaking that its weighty themes and sclerotic tangle of a plot end up making it a trial to sit through.

July 6, 2010 | Rating: D

A powerful moral drama that tries to deal with the racism at the root of many problems in contempo American society.

March 26, 2009

The movie feels sketchy, as if Burnett chopped the flesh off his screenplay and left us only the bare bones.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Burnett uses a socially discomforting scenario that has only vague implications of deeper malice to initiate a brave portrayal of a Caucasian-centric sort of martial law.

August 29, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

It's a rigorous, angry piece of work, but it misses out on the psychological depths that have made Burnett's previous films among the glories of recent American independent moviemaking.

February 13, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Though no masterpiece, the film is an interesting sidebar for moviegoers who try to keep up; it's like a '50s film noir oddity you catch on 3 a.m. TV, only to find that it's become a more scintillating view than Ben-Hur.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Glass Shield

A pretty good Police Drama about how once again the white man has done the black man wrong. Still Story line worth 4 stars

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

This is a gritty police story of crime and corruption in the police force based partially on a true story revolving around a young black cop J.J. Johnson (MICHEAL BOATMAN), the first black officer who is sent to an all-white Los Angeles station for his first assignment. The black rookie encounters not-so-subtle racism and at first tries to fit in by covering up certain corrupt practices within his department but then he is drawn into a plot to falsify evidence against a supposed murderer (ICE CUBE). He is teamed up with Lori Petty, the only female deputy who helps J.J in his investigation. As a much deeper conspiracy is uncovered, J.J and Petty tries to uncover the truth behind the false prosecution of Ice Cube and finds themselves trapped between the wheels of the conspirators and the legal system, both of which they are sworn to serve. Great cast of actors including Richard Anderson, M. Emmet Walsh, Bernie Casey (is good as Ice Cube's lawyer) and Elliott Gould and Michael Ironside who is chilling as one of the corrupt officers!

Deb S
Deb S

Super Reviewer


Not sparkling. Very run of the mill.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

The Glass Shield Quotes

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