The greatest films of all time as voted on by the Criterion subreddit using a ranked top 10 methodology from…
12 Angry Men
Life is in their hands. Death is on their minds.
The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young Spanish-American is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open and shut case soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors' prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other.
12 reasons why 12 Angry Men is the best film of the 1950s:
1. It’s a high concept film that delivers beyond the unique hook to create compelling and flawed human characters.
2. The performances are sensational from Henry Fonda (empathetic and unwavering) attempting to change the minds of the other jurors, to the rest of the cast led by Lee J. Cobb. Considering it has such a sizeable main cast it is amazing how well developed each and everyone of them is with the lean script giving each of the perfectly cast actors a moment to shine.
3. It uses the claustrophobic single location to great effect, accentuating the sweltering heat and tense atmosphere amongst the conflicted men.
12 Angry Men was one of those films that I had never seen, but for which I knew almost the entire plot and ending. I think this will be the case for most people who watch the film since it's one of those essential classics which has spawned an endless supply of parodies and homages. To me its most genius quality is the simplicity. About 99 percent of the story takes place on one set as 12 jurors deliberate the guilt of an eighteen year-old murder suspect in the slaying of his father.
With brilliant presentations of the characters and an engaging follow up on each one, 12 Angry Men is a film where dialogue is at the center. The…
How do you ever begin to top a directorial debut such as this? Well Sidney Lumet certainly gave it is best shot over the years that followed creating an enviable filmography packed with cinematic gems. That he can turn a simplistic set-up of twelve men stuck together in a steaming hot room, into such a in-depth social, intellectual and thrilling 90 minutes speaks volumes for the man.
What does remain a mystery is how the creator of the screenplay Reginald Rose never even came close to this sort of standard again. His next project was 1957's Dino and then it was mostly back to the food and drink of TV scripts for the rest of his career. Whilst Lumet deserves…
I cannot think of many stories that mostly happen in a single location to be as gripping and profound as 12 Angry Men. There are so many admirable achievements in this film that it’s tough to point them all out. Starting with the performances, you’ve got veteran actors showing great intensity and representing characters we’ve all probably encountered at some point in life. They all have distinct personalities, different backgrounds and a mesmerizing moment in the film as the story progresses. Another strength is the excellent dialogue, showing how traditions and preconceived notions can completely blur logic and rationality. The arguments are just so compelling, constantly bringing something new to ponder about.
Sidney Lumet’s direction is absolutely marvelous and it…
Wow. Simply wow. There is no other way to articulate the feeling you get after watching 12 Angry Men, perhaps the zenith of Sidney Lumet's remarkably talented directorial career, even more amazing considering this was his debut feature. It's just one of those rare golden gems of a film that gets everything, literally everything, absolutely right. Script, direction, performances, tone, setting, story, the lot. It's perfect. It's exciting. It's gripping. It's meaningful. It's moving. And it may be close to sixty years old, but all of the many things it's trying to say remain relevant to our society, and sadly perhaps always will. This truly is a cinematic masterpiece that deals with not only the rule of law and it's…
That was the best 1.5 hours of middle aged white dudes yelling at each other that I've ever seen.
Brilliant, thrilling, incredible. A movie that has not aged at all.
Notable scenes: Lee J. Cobb holding knife to Fonda. Reenactments.
I really regret never watching this film before today. Iiiiiiincredible.
This is what a perfect film looks like. Great acting from some, at the time, actors. Set the tone for all courtroom/judicial dramas. A true masterpiece.
Fantastic film. The screenplay us excellent. Sidney Lumet is one of the greatest directors of all time.
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Passes the Bechdel Test
How can 12 men sitting in a drab room talking be so fucking entertaining? I've seen this film countless times now, and I've seen the stage show too, and I never tire of it. Brilliantly written, Lumet cranks the tension up in that small, stifling room to unbearable heights, aided by his terrific cast including Henry Fonda as the voice of reason and J Lee Cobb as the headstrong impulsive hothead who can't keep personal bias out of his judgments. Brilliant stuff that's still relevant and topical today and forever, dealing with racism, class, and other social hot button topics. A masterclass in taut writing, innovative directing and superb acting. 12 Angry Men make me 1 happy man.
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All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…