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…
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 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…
Best movie of all time no question.
Remake was okay, but is no where near as good as the original
How the shit was this Sidney Lumet's first film? This is movie is incredible.
12 Angry Men is a true masterpiece of cinema and astoundingly it was Sidney Lumet's directorial debut. It tackles the subject matter of twelve jurors tasked with arriving at a verdict on whether an 18 year old boy, from a poor background, murdered his own father. Eleven of these jurors are convinced the boy is guilty, putting Henry Fonda's character in the unenviable position of trying to convince them otherwise.
The whole film takes place in one room, forcing the viewer to focus on the subtle progression of the twelve jurors that is presented through the remarkable dialogue. I was sceptical about such a large cast, fearing that only a fraction would be of major importance to the story and…
Very deliberately scripted. Good actors all around.
There are no explosions, robots, superheroes, sexy women (they are no women at all, actually) or hunky men (unless frumpy, slightly bloated middle-aged men are your thing) in this movie. Hell, most of it takes place in a single room. Yet, "12 Angry Men" is by far the most compelling film I've watched in a very, very long time. The most riveting special effect on screen is the examination of human nature. The most amazing fete is a screenplay with something to say. The only superhero is Lumet, whose powers are his ability to find the perfect camera angles to capture the mood and pace the story in such a way that it never drags and feels as if it…
Once it got going, it had me through to the end.
book was a billion times better tbh
Wow. Sidney Lumet really knew how to work a room, eh? ;)
I was shown this film in high school (more than ten years ago) and recall being one of the very few people - if not the only - that "enjoyed" it. Admittedly, many of the greatest attributes of this marvel were likely missed by me on that initial viewing. (i.e. The cinematography, the character development, the camera placement / movement, the close-ups, the dialogue and the pacing, the attention to detail... right down to sweat stains, etc., etc.)
I have no problem admitting that this films status and reputation, the fact that it was a chance to seem more intelligent and artistic than my classmates, and a chance…
Extraordinarily compelling despite many flaws. While all of the jurors are completely formed characters they are also rather schematic archetypes illustrating how various forms of social and ethnic prejudice, personal experience, shallow self-interest, expediency, and conformity form opinions and actions, and while the performances are uniformly excellent there are moments in many of where you wish the actor (and the screenwriter) had dialed it back a bit, particularly of course with Lee J. Cobb. The messages are clear and paramount and universal enough to remain relevant, but occasionally art is forced to take a backseat. Still it is so beautifully paced that the hour and a half seems to fly by in about 20 minutes.
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men
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