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…
I don't know why, but I think this film is the social science version of Coherence. Oh sorry, I mean Coherence is the natural science version of 12 Angry Men for sure.
"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. I don't really know what the truth is. I don't suppose anybody will ever really know."
The brilliance of this classic is not the story itself, but how accurate "reasonable doubt" is portrayed to this very day. It's 2014 and our juries vary in race, age, socioeconomic status, and life background. This method allows us to combine a group of people who will be able to decide a person's faith in the most objective way possible. 12 Angry Men illustrates something that we often forget: there is no such thing as "lack…
"Hey!... What's your name?"
[shakes his hand] "My name's McCardle."
"Well, so long."
Though I'm only 22, I still feel fortunate to have only done jury duty once. What's more is that I only had to stay for one day. The thought alone of having to stay multiple days was agonizing enough. The stubbornness of some of the jurors is a bit baffling, but then again, that's the point. Six days of sitting through evidence and procedure certainly warrants the pugnacious condition of the men, magnified further by the sweltering heat and stuffy room.
The several murder puns are rather groan-inducing and the sheer talkiness of it is sure to turn off less patient audiences, but…
As a picture of the US legal system, this movie is something of a fantasy. It's certainly true in 2014 and it was probably true in 1957, but I think the movie understands that. Though Henry Fonda's juror #8 is able to complicate the proceedings and force the other jurors to confront their doubts and prejudices, several of them remark that "any other jury" would definitely find the defendant guilty with no deliberation. So I think the audience is supposed to understand that they are witnessing a remarkable and largely fictional event.
But, for a fantasy, it's a great exercise in empathy. This movie explicitly challenges classist prejudice, and despite the all-white cast (including the young man accused of murder), the language clearly speaks to broader issues. This is a story about the legal system assuming certain people are guilty by circumstances of their birth. You could replace the accused with a young black man with minimal changes.
This movie was really interesting. i like that the one man took time in deciding the fate of the boy and didnt just want to leave. I didnt think i was going to like it at first because it was about a jury. but it suprised me and i really liked it.
How has it taken me this long to watch this masterpiece? This is gold, and is a perfect look at society when confronted with itself. Every Juror has his problems, and each is just as pained as the next. Sidney Lumet is a genius, able to shoot plain dialogue and make it thrilling. I've known the ending, considering it is quite evident what will happen from the beginning, but who the hell care? This was damn near perfect, gaining every bit of tension it can, from what characters are sweating, to how a character is shot in profile, to the minutes long shots the proliferated the movie at some points but are abandoned at others.
All of these visuals make…
Lives up to the reputation in spades. A simple format yields a masterclass in both suspense and characterisation, with twelve pinpoint performances, myriad twists and a lot of salient commentary.
12 Angry Men might possibly be one of the greatest films I have ever seen. Having said that I keep slapping my self, wondering why I haven't watched it sooner. I'm not too familiar with director Sidney Lumet considering he's way past my time, however after watching this I'm intrigued to see what other works he has out there. The acting was great, with a great cast including Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb.
12 Angry Men begins in the court room. A murder has happened and twelve jurors are tasked with judging weather or not the accused is guilty. Nearly the entire movie takes place in the jury room. Most of the men believe the accused is guilty, however…
Watched as part of our psychology class in school.
- 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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