Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
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.
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…
12 Angry Men is definitely one of the most astonishing dramas I've seen. It has a simple premise, but all the discussions between the jurors were just so captivating and revealing. I liked how they always went back and forth with the case, gathering as many details as possible to find out if there was any room for doubt with the facts presented. Not only director Sidney Lumet masterfully orchestrated an intriguing story filled with little twists, but he also investigated very thoroughly how prejudice and preconceived notions could be in the way of realizing the level of uncertainty of the facts.
The performances here were truly remarkable, being another strength of the film. Each juror had unique personality traits…
There is a certain predictable inevitability when watching a classic when you're a bit older than the first time you watched it. You up the rating to reflect its classic status. I'm glad to say that this is also the case for 12 Angry Men.
The always underwatched Sidney Lumet's first feature film proves to be the first promise he made for all the marvellous films he has made after it. 12 Angry Men is a dialogue driven cross section of male America in the fifties and it is unflinching in how it dares portray the pettiness and weaker sides of us humans. Weaknesses that are still present some 50 years after this was…
12 Angry Men's biggest advantage is its agelessness. It could have been filmed last year and it still wouldn't be any more modern than it already is. It never once seems constrained by the time period it was filmed in. Its issues are as pertinent today as they have always been. And its lack of theatricality makes it completely timeless.
The film has a simple premise: a jury of twelve gets together to decide whether or not to send an accused youth to the electric chair. It seems like an open and shut case - all the evidence is against the boy, and nobody feels otherwise. Except for the one man who votes not guilty. It's never quite clear why…
This fucking movie, man.
This fucking movie is literally just 12 dudes arguing in a room for an hour and a half, and somehow it manages to be one of the very best things I have ever seen. It's more exhilarating, more exciting, and more riveting than just about anything I've ever had the pleasure of viewing, and, as I said, it's nothing more than a bunch of guys arguing for an hour and a half.
What the fucking fuck.
Want to know why this anomalous creation exists? Want to know why it's so fantastic? Its script and its characters. We don't even know the names of these characters, and yet the writing is so sharp and the…
How interesting can a courtroom drama be if almost the entire movie takes place in the jury room? Well, as director Sidney Lumet demonstrates here, it can be pretty darn interesting. In fact, this heated talkative drama over the fate of a boy who appears on screen for only a few minutes proves itself to be one of the most compelling movies of all time. 12 Angry Men proves that Hollywood films do not need a large budget, special effects, breathtaking sets, or even an overly-intricate story to make a five-star film. All you need is a talented group of people who believe in the movie they're involved in.
Why do I think 12 Angry Men is a masterpiece? Several…
This movie is over 50 years old and today is the day that I finally saw it. Now, this movie has been on my wishlist for several years now. So, I decided to finally watch it today...
OMG..this is why I love 50s, 40s, 30s, etc films so much. It's ALL dialogue. No car chases. No gun shooting. No 'Michael Bay explosions'. Just straight dialogue, and this move provides that. The acting was phenomenal. I really think the movie is 85% improv and 15% script to be honest. The weather (heat and rain) in this 12 Angry Men made the acting more believable-It was a hot day, very hot day. Think about "Do The Right Thing" as the hottest…
An impeccably made and assured debut feature from Sidney Lumet, this has all the technical and narrative beats you could ask for getting hit with aplomb. The photography's fantastic, the acting compelling and the narrative constructed with the precision of a quantum physicist. I can imagine this probably blew some minds at the time but watching it now, I did feel a little like its earnest polemic, while righteous, was perhaps a touch idealistic. I'm just too cynical to have this much faith in human nature... It's an admirable film and undeniably a good one but the kind for which the double-edged adjective of "worthy" was invented.
A minimalistic triumph, and a testament to why characterisation and dialogue are the two most important elements of a film. Can't believe I'd never seen this before!
12 Angry Men is pure, perfect cinema.
The eponymous group, the jury on a murder trial, sit around a table to come up with the verdict. A vote is taken. 11 to 1 in favour of guilty. The 1 refuses to throw it away without discussion. For the next 90 minutes or so the men attempt to reach a unanimous decision.
No car chases. No wire-fu. No explosions. Filmed in long, static shots in black and white. Wall to wall dialogue.
And one of the most riveting films you may ever experience.
The script is flawless, slowly teasing the details of the trial, carefully marking out the dots that will later be connected.
The performances are just brilliant, with Henry…
I've always been told that this is a must watch film, but I always thought to myself, "Why do I want to watch 12 men be angry?!" So I put it on my LoveFilm list so that one day I would have to watch. But I should have read the description because it was quite obvious this was going to be something I would really enjoy. And I did. It's excellent!
I feel like I've seen it before, though, but I may have seen the awful TV film remake.
Good stuff. Lumet's best? Yeah, probably.
A few years back I saw the 1997 TV remake of 12 Angry Men with Jack Lemmon because it was shown to me in school. I remember enjoying it, but I knew it had the air of a pale imitation about it. Now, having seen the original, I can say with finality that it’s the real deal in just about every respect. Knowing the premise and remembering details about the crime being argued over did nothing to take away from the scope and power of this masterpiece, which is so perfectly acted and shot that it simply arrests you for the entire duration of its length. A casual viewer would never believe that this was Sidney Lumet’s debut as a…
Great movie, suspense, original
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