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…
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 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…
“Prejudice always obscures the truth.”
Aesthetically, 12 Angry Men is a master class in refurbished cinematic space. It takes a confined, almost completely banal real-world location and makes it completely dynamic, using incredibly nimble camera movements to establish character motivation and theme. Kaufman's fluid long takes track each character as they leave the table in anger and frustration, the men departing for sporadic moments of personal reflection before returning to the heated discussion. Seemingly simple conversations lead to damning assumptions about ideology and purpose, and each man brings their own set of moral baggage to the table. This allows the location to grow in depth as the characters become more fully developed. In turn, the smooth visuals have a strange…
Lumet's masterpiece isn't only an outstandingly well filmed movie but also a powerful satire on a holiest part of American judgment - a jury trial.
Angry, old and indifferent to everything men who can't even deal with their own problems get a life of unknown person in their own hands. Mafia doesn't threat them and nobody bribes them. 12 men themselves are their biggest problem. Their indifference, racism, arrogance. But Lumet doesn't want to moralize anything, after showing each's dark side he gives everyone of them an opportunity to become pure again by making them doubt in their life and views at least once. A small private room is a purgatory for them and after this trial nobody will stay…
I never get tired of watching this courtroom drama. A smart script performed by a bunch of talented character actors. While 95% of the action takes place in the same room throughout the film, it never gets boring or repetitive. A credit to everyone involved. Solid performances by all.
I knew the story, but wow - this was visually interesting as well!
the only movie with an all white-male cast worth watching
It's quite a feat.
What if I told you to make a film set almost entirely in one room? What if I told you to keep this film almost entirely driven by dialogue? What if I told you to prolong this film for ninety-odd minutes? What if I told you this was assignment your debut feature?
Not only does "12 Angry Men" fit all of this criteria, but it manages to remain both thrilling and engaging in its entirety.
The one film that captures the Letterboxd climate beautifully...
I just hate seeing it in school so much.
Asi en mayusculas.
Exceptionally composed Studio film by the legendary Sidney Lumet. The patriotic pat on the back vibe a bit telling.
85/100 - Excellent
- 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 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men
most recent update - Friday, November 22, 2014
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