6 Iconic Legal Contracts in Movies

Legal contracts play a big role in our lives. Renting a car, buying a house, signing up for a job–every process goes hand-in-hand with putting an autograph on a piece of paper.

In the business world, legal contracts govern 80% of all operations, where each contract is subject to a thorough legal review before being approved and, finally, signed.

But that’s not the case in the movies.

In the fiction world, legal contracts play even a bigger part. Aside from describing huge, life-changing deals that create the storyline, doesn’t it feel like contracts in movies create a certain aura for the signees?

…An aura of negligence and stupidity.

When it comes to signing a life-changing deal, contracts are somehow taken very lightly. 

Of course, if every character had a law degree, we would not have had so many cool movies to watch and plots to unravel.

But don’t you wish your favorite movie heroes sometimes had a little help with their legal troubles?

We’d like to present to you the 6 most famous deals that were made in the movies. Let’s see if having a document automation software would bring dramatic changes to the storyline.

Shrek Forever After (2010)

Image source: Watchseries

Shrek’s got a tough life. Family, kids, and absolute absence of privacy make him long for the days when he was a feared ogre. So, after a few ‘eyballtini’ cocktails with Rumpelstiltskin, Shrek gladly takes an opportunity to relax in the comfort of his old swamp for just one day. In return he gives one day, ‘any day’ from his childhood and ends up in an alternate reality trying to find his way out of the contract.

How would document automation help with Shrek’s contract?

If Shrek had AXDRAFT document automation, the deal would have fallen through. First of all, even a scary ogre is not authorized to sign the contract without legal approval. That contract definitely would not have been approved without a more detailed explanation. For example, the exact day that Sherk is giving to Rumpelstiltskin in return for his day as an Ogre. Or the specifics of what the wicked little man was planning to do with it.

Doesn’t it feel like ‘Getting one day from the past’ and ‘Being transferred to a completely different reality’ are slightly different from one another?

With contract automation software your legal review process gets more structured and transparent. It is much easier to notice potential loopholes in your legal contract.

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The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey (2012)

Image source: WallpaperSafari

Bilbo Baggins grew to be an old wise hobbit with good soft skills. But his life would not be full of stories to tell if not for Gandalf. The wizard brought a pack of dwarfs to his house and took Bilbo on a breathtaking adventure. Of course, the hobbit had to sign a legal contract before leaving.

During their travels, Bilbo Baggins found a ring that changed his life and the fate of several kingdoms. If only he had a chance to review his contract at any time, a lot of lives would have been spared. Yes, Gandalf could have guessed that something went wrong.

But no wizard can compete with the magic of document automation.

The ring found during the adventure is part of the treasure. Bilbo was promised a profit that equals 1/14 of the overall treasure. According to the contract, the ring should have been accounted for. However, Bilbo must’ve forgotten about that part of the contract which he safely left at home.

Had he reviewed his contract after finding the ring, he would have felt bad about stealing it, and Gandalf would have been notified. A timely destroyed ring would have led to far more peaceful years ahead.

With a contract management platform, Bilbo wouldn’t need to worry about soaking his contract in orc blood. Rest assured that even the best burglar wouldn’t steal it from him.

Legal document automation software uses cloud storage to keep your legal contracts and legal contract templates safe and secure. Access your contracts from anywhere in the world and keep them safe.

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Ghost Rider (2007)

Image source: Looper

Signing a Master Service Agreement with the devil will always have some trick to it. Somehow it is almost always a soul in return for something. And this is exactly the price that Johnny Blaze, a stuntman, willingly pays to Mephistopheles in return for saving his father’s life. But that was years ago.

Today, Johnny Blaze is a Ghost Rider every night. A fiery creature from hell that roams both worlds and brings evil to justice. Having such graveyard shifts can be tiring and dangerous. 

But one cannot breach a contract that was signed with blood.

When a deal includes a third party, that party has to partake in signing the contract. Or give a power of attorney to someone and thus give the authority to the signee. Johnny Blaze should have had no authority to sign the deal alone. There had to be an approval flow set up, which should have included his father. They were talking about his life, after all. 

If only he had a document automation software at hand, the conditional approval flow would not have let Johnny drop the blood on Mephistopheles’s manuscript. But then, we would not have had the Ghost Rider.

By the way, Ghost Rider’s services should also have been outlined in a Statement of Work, no?

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Image source: The Disinsider

Legal contracts in movies are not always as tricky as the character offering them. Ursula’s offer to Ariel, for example, is one of the clearest deals that were ever made in movies. She didn’t even need to use GPT-3 technology to make the language understandable to Ariel. In fact, such a contract calls for a self-service document to be set up in Ursula’s office.

Ariel comes to Ursula and wants to become human and meet the prince she fell for during one of her land visits. Ursula, being a fair contractor, offers the little mermaid a deal’?Ariel becomes human and has 3 days for the prince to fall in love with her and prove it with a passionate kiss. Otherwise, Ariel goes into Ursula’s lifetime servitude. Another condition is, Ariel loses her voice for the time being.

So, Ariel has 3 days to be kissed by a prince. A short term, but people in love can become quite forgetful.

How would document automation help with Ariel’s contract?

It’s hard for contract management software to forget things. Armed with a document automation software you will always get notified when a contract’s term is about to expire, and that you should take action.

You might fall in love, you might get overwhelmed with work. You might simply be tired and experience burnout. But you will not forget the expiration date of the contract if you have it in your document management software. The notifications would make sure the deliverables remain on your radar. So you act faster. 

Arbitrage (2012)

Image source: Gareth Rodes Film Reviews

Contracts are beautiful. They can be made out of any piece of paper. Even a napkin, if you’re at a restaurant, and the deal is so compelling that you can’t refuse. A couple words and a signature can arm such a napkin with great power. 

Robert Miller, the owner of a failing hedge fund, craves to sell it to avoid bankruptcy. And the napkin is just the fit for him to seal the deal.

But does he have enough time to prepare all the proper documents and transfer the ownership of the company while there is still a company to sell?

How would document automation help with Robert’s contract?

Of course, the napkin deal is premature and would require further paperwork to be signed before the actual transfer would happen. But even a napkin could be spared with document automation software.

For Robert Miller, life would be a lot different. Had he drafted a proposition in document automation and sent it to the buying bank, they could have collaborated on the contract remotely and sealed the deal much faster. Robert would not waste time in a restaurant and instead attended his wife’s gallery show and maybe saved their marriage. 

Aside from helping businesses go green, document automation and contract management software helps businesses close deals faster. Automated contract drafting, live collaboration features, instant notifications and eSignatures may seem like regular features. But they are a game changer and can speed up your contract workflow by 80%+.

Start the negotiations anywhere by opening your laptop, phone or tablet, going into AXDRAFT, and drafting a new agreement in minutes.

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Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory (1971)

Image source: Reel Rundown 

There are two things that kids always dream of’?to become an astronaut and to get a lifetime supply of chocolate. For some kids, their dreams come true. Others should have been careful with contract signing.

Charlie was among the winners of a golden ticket that granted him a tour of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, and a lifetime supply of chocolate. During the tour, some kids are getting tempted by all the sweets and, one by one, get into trouble. Only Charlie and his grandpa made it out of the factory. But even they did not get their lifetime share of chocolate.

After all, the conditions of the contest were clearly written in the contract by Willy Wonka. Who cares that the font was small and the contract was written in Latin? A tempted drink of the ‘?Fizzy Lifting Drink’ led to a contract breach and cost Charlie his lifetime supply of chocolate

Always read the small font, children. And do it before putting your signature on a contract.

How would document automation help in this situation?

Document automation is designed to give you full visibility of every clause, every letter of the legal contract that you are about to sign. Reviewing the contract in document automation software Charlie, along with others, would have noticed every small font and understood the implications of the contract breach. That would have given him a reason to resist any kind of temptations.

After all, a lifetime supply of chocolate is much more interesting than just one ‘?Fizzy Lifting Drink’.

With document automation you can draft legal contracts in any language to make sure that every party has a clear understanding of what they are signing. Don’t give away your lifetime supply of chocolate by not studying the contract terms with care.

Honourable Mention: Devil’s Advocate (1997)

Image source: SyFy

Even though there is no contract signed in this movie, it is hard to not mention it in our list. One of the best movies about the legal industry with one of the trickiest deals ever made’?success and fortune in return for a ruined personal life and several immoral decisions.

Yes, breaking a deal is easier when there’s no actual deal. But we have a biased point of view that contract signing (and using contract automation software for that) would be a game changer for the main character. 

Clear responsibilities of parties and comprehensible obligations would have been easier to track. Decisions, moral or not, would be made easier because the contract would have a detailed outline of every action, every process that could take place in the scope of Keanu Reeves’s work.


We’re not movie heroes. But even we have access to magic and life-changing experiences. With AXDRAFT, magic means pitch-perfect legal contracts, automated workflows and a life-changing absence of routine and human-caused errors on your schedule.

While contract automation software won’t protect you from signing unprofitable contracts, it will provide you with a full visibility of clauses, keep your legal contracts safe and easily accessible, and will notify you when there’s a deliverable or expiration date to help you take a timely action.

And you can always offer the counterparty to sign the contract with eSign instead of making a ‘?bloody deal’.

Try our instant demo and find out how to receive a ready-to-use NDA in 57 seconds.
Or learn about QuickDocs and set up a fully self-service contract template for faster client onboarding with zero  effort from your legal team.

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