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.
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…
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…
Review In A Nutshell:
I was sceptic at first, thinking 12 Angry Men is over-hyped and that it wouldn't be as amazing as everyone says it is; which is how I felt with synonymous films like No Country For Old Men and North By Northwest, but right from the start, it captivated me. It starts off with the audience knowing very little of the situation aside from the fact that these men were appointed to decide whether or not the young boy accused on trial is guilty. Sidney Lumet's, the film's director, choice of having us know nothing of the trial is a smart approach that keeps our judgement pure, and…
Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men is one of the most morally challenging films I've ever watched. Technically not a courtroom drama since it doesn't take place in a courtroom but in the jury room, it's usually considered part of the genre and one of the finest films in it. 99% of the film is set in that room, and yet it was more exciting that most of the action or adventure movies I've seen.
Without recurring to the use of flashbacks, a murder and the circumstances surrounding its committing are discussed and analyzed in order to decide whether an 18-year-old boy is guilty of killing his father, with a guilty verdict meaning death sentence for him; and doing so the film is totally gripping and thought-provoking. The writing and direction were extraordinary, but something that enhanced the entire movie was its cast. The twelve of them were great, but Lee J. Cobb and Henry Fonda were undoubtedly the best.
'It's always difficult to keep personal prejudice out of a thing like this. And wherever you run into it, prejudice always obscures the truth.'
There is something about 12 Angry Men which is undeniably satisfying. Maybe its the neatness of a film condensed mainly to a single room, but which branches far out in its philosophy and characters. Maybe its the mesmerising performance of Henry Fonda, who take the audience on a ride along with the characters he speaks to. Or maybe it is the sense of justice, or at least that something has been done right, that we feel at the end, after a trying, and at times excruciating journey.
Fonda's strength and resilience comes across brilliantly as he…
[originally written for my blog]
They're gonna be even angrier when they realize they almost certainly let a guilty man go free, thanks to the well-intentioned crusading of a juror who would likewise have voted to acquit O.J. Simpson. (I addressed this at length for the A.V. Club, but in brief: When there are multiple independent pieces of evidence strongly pointing to a defendant's guilt, casting doubt on each one individually does not constitute "reasonable doubt," because it doesn't address the sheer unlikelihood of all that evidence existing to begin with. You'd have to be the jurisprudential inverse of a national lottery winner to face so many apparently damning coincidences and misidentifications.) Terrible law doesn't preclude solid drama, though,…
I've never been one for courtroom dramas but this movie is riveting from the very beginning and causes you to think how you would act in the same situation. A must see for all movie buffs.
I had jury duty, so I decided to come home and watch this classic. Henry Fonda gives a good performance and his may be the weakest in the film.
The tension builds so slowly and evenly. Pour a glass of scotch, dim the lights and enjoy 90 minutes of classic, minimalist cinema.
A great classic!
I was planning on giving this four and a half stars, but I couldn't find any justifiable fault in the film that would make it imperfect. If ever a perfect film was made, this is it.
Posiblemente una de las películas más importantes que he visto en mi vida.
This review reportedly contains spoilers.
Un jurado de doce hombres tiene la responsabilidad de juzgar a un adolescente acusado de matar a su padre. De estos doce hombres, once están convencidos de que el acusado es culpable, pero uno trae a la mesa una duda razonable acerca de su inocencia. Si este es declarado culpable, la pena de muerte aplica. ¿Cómo será el proceso de deliberación entre estas personas y cuál será su decisión?
12 Angry Men, más que una película, es una muestra de la vida cotidiana; de la realidad a la que constantemente exponemos a los demás y aquella a la que estamos expuestos: la crítica, las diferencias entre las clases sociales, posiciones y oposiciones, actitudes, rebeliones y…
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