My Cousin Vinny is a 1992 American crime comedy film written and produced by Dale Launer, and also directed by Jonathan Lynn, starring Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Marisa Tomei, Mitchell Whitfield, Lane Smith, Bruce McGill and Fred Gwynne. This is Fred Gwynne’s final film appearance before his death on July 2, 1993 due to pancreatic cancer.
The film deals with two young New Yorkers traveling through rural Alabama who are put on trial for a murder they did not commit, and the comic attempts of a cousin, Vincent Gambini, a newly minted lawyer, to defend them.
Much of the humor comes from the contrasting personalities of the brash Italian American Vinny and his fiancée Mona Lisa, and the more laid back Southern townspeople. Pesci and Tomei received vast critical praise for their performances, and Tomei won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Fred Gwynne also received critical acclaim for his performance as Judge Chamberlain Haller.
In the August 2008 edition of the American Bar Association Journal, My Cousin Vinny was rated #3 in their cover story listing of "The 25 Greatest Legal Movies", after To Kill a Mockingbird and 12 Angry Men.