230 of 243 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to make a great movie (recipie below)
1 incredible script
12 talented actors
lots of emotion
1 very simple set
no special effects
Produce under good direction. Serves millions.
Seriously, this film is a masterpiece. A jury has to decide a seemingly open and shut case of a young man (who, as with most of the jurors, remains nameless throughout the film) who has been...
Published on September 19, 2000 by Wayne Steinhardt
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Everyone giving an honest effort to civic duty is a matter of life or death
12 Angry Men is about the idea that everyone giving an honest effort to civic duty is a matter of life or death. It sets out to prove this idea with two external plots: one plot chronicles the journey of finding reasonable doubt for a Not Guilty verdict, the other chronicles the jury gradually giving an honest effort to the deliberation process. The result of these two...
Published 18 months ago by Story Charts
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230 of 243 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to make a great movie (recipie below),
1 incredible script
12 talented actors
lots of emotion
1 very simple set
no special effects
Produce under good direction. Serves millions.
Seriously, this film is a masterpiece. A jury has to decide a seemingly open and shut case of a young man (who, as with most of the jurors, remains nameless throughout the film) who has been accused of murdering his father in a fit of anger. The evidence couldn't be clearer that this guy did it. Murder weapon, motive, eyewitness testimony all in place.
One juror (Fonda) however, wants to talk the case out. He's not 100% convinced that the guy is guilty. And so it begins. An emotional roller coaster follows as we learn about the jurors, their reasons for voting as they do and how (or if) they are forced to re-evaluate the evidence.
Part of the charm of this film is it's starkness. 99% of the film takes place in one room; the jury room, a simple set consisting of little more than a table, 12 chairs, some windows and a fan.
The best part, I believe, is the character development of the jurors. When the movie begins, they are just 12 anonymous characters. Even though none of the jurors are named in the movie (two are in the very last scene, after the case is over) by the time the movie is over, you feel as if you know and understand every one of them.
Truly a remarkable film and well worth repeated viewings.
75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, not a Megabudgeter.,
Where do I start? How many films can you honestly watch three times in a fortnight and know it wont be too long before you feel compelled to view it again? 12 Angry Men, a movie that risks everything on a script, and succeeds triumphantly because that script sets you back on your heels(instead of earth-shatteringly expensive special effects or exotic location work) and draws a uniformly astounding set of performances from a cast most of whom were unfamiliar at the time. Henry Fonda, one of only two "big" names amongst the dozen participants, has the advantage also of being the one who stands against the view of a group of jurors, hell bent on putting a young boy in the electric chair for "obviously" murdering his father. Yet each character is played so well, is so interestingly unique in each case, and is given such telling lines, that you hang on the words of them all equally. The other well known face, (at least in 1957), is Lee J. Cobb, who in any other film would have stolen it completely, but here is "merely" as memorable as all the others. Robert Webbers character is excruciatingly irritating, but hes playing it to perfection none the less. That Fondas viewpoint will win the day is probably never in doubt, but how he,(and infact some of the other characters despite themselves), achieves this is positively gripping and astonishing. Sidney Lumet, in his directorial debut, proved at once what he was capable of, and, in this single set scenario, that classic status does not necessarily depend on an extravagant outlay. One of the Top Five Best Movies of all time. I rest my case!
90 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the elusive truth,
Having recently had a jury duty experience that was equally as contentious as the one depicted in "Twelve Angry Men," I found this film fascinating, and one that maintains its interest because of the taut, well written script (by Reginald Rose, based on his play for TV), and some of the finest character actors of mid-20th century cinema, and though Henry Fonda was a big star when this was made in 1957, he blends in to be part of what is essentially an ensemble acting piece.
Practically the entire film is set in the single jury room, on a hot and humid day, with these twelve incredibly diverse men, and shows how their backgrounds color how they arrive at their conclusions. Truth is very elusive in this case, and it's a matter of questioning if there is "reasonable doubt."
There are many things that point out how times have changed in 50 years; it has been decades since a jury would be chosen that would only consist of white men, and a few years since a table full of ashtrays with cigarette butts would be allowed, but the basic truths remain the same, and if one places twelve strangers to come to a verdict in a difficult case, tempers are going to flare. The hot head in this film is Juror # 3, Lee J. Cobb, who sees the events through the lens of his relationship with his son, and he gives a fiery performance, but each actor has a lot to contribute to the success of this film.
This was the first feature film in Sidney Lumet's long career, and he was nominated for a Best Director Oscar; the film was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, but lost in all three categories to David Lean's "Bridge on the River Kwai." Lumet was to work with Fonda again in '64 with the riveting cold war thriller (and my favorite Lumet film) "Fail-Safe," which also had in its cast Juror # 6, Ed Binns.
Total running time is 96 minutes.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest courtroom drama,
12 Angry Men is one of the finest courtroom dramas ever created for the silver screen. Although many other movies have borrowed liberally from the plot, they have never captured the tension of this film or it's humanity. It is for this reason that I believe 12 Angry Men will outshine many other flashier movies to be a classic worth seeing by your grandchildren's children.
The plot is very simple. A poor, young man from the wrong side of the tracks in on trial for murdering his father in a fit of anger. The evidence seems overwhelming: an eyewitness to the killing, a murder weapon was a knife owned by the young man, and he was seen fleeing from the scene of the crime. Guilty? You'll have to wait and see.
Well, when our film starts the 12 jurors have just been led to the jury room where they are to decide if the defendant should be convicted and given the death penalty. Eleven of the jurors vote guilty without really reviewing any of the evidence. Mr. Davis (Henry Fonda), juror #12, objects and asks that his apathetic companions at least give take a look at all of the information before sentencing the boy to death. The other 11 jurors are incensed by this waste of time but finally, they agree.
Watch as the evidence is examined bit by bit and make up your own mind. Guilty? Innocent? That really isn't even the point. This is a beautiful example of how suspense can be wrought without eerie music and 2 million dollars worth of sets. Ninety-eight percent of the film takes place in a small, claustrophobic jury room where you can feel the heat of bodies and smell the sweat, and know the true face of the man who has the seat next to you. Layer and layer of pretense is stripped from the characters until their true selves emerge and then, and only then, can they begin to see the truth in the case.
Although he has been nominated for 5 Oscars in the past, Sidney Lumet has never been given the kudos he deserves as a director. Without props or fantastic sets, this film relies heavily on intense performances from his all star cast-and he manages to bring it all together into a film that is even greater than all of its parts. I salute him. Don't miss 12 Angry Men -you will regret missing one of the finest movie experiences of your life.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 Great Script + 1 Director Named Lumet + 12 Jurors + 12 Fine Acting Performances = 1 Heckuva Good Movie!,
How many times have you seen the "One Juror Holdout" theme played out in movies and (especially) on TV shows? Probably quite a few. But none done quite so well and so very convincingly as 1957's wonderful "12 Angry Men".
This black-and-white classic court drama was directed by Sidney Lumet and co-produced by one its star actors, Henry Fonda. The film premiered in movie theaters on April 13th, 1957.
This was Sidney Lumet's very first feature film as a director. He had only directed television programs up until "12 Angry Men". Lumet's first theatrical effort turned out to be a very good one indeed, belying its low budget and short three-week shooting schedule.
Did you know ..... That "12 Angry Men" was originally written for a TV program? The teleplay version was aired in 1954, as an episode of the TV series "Studio One".
The film was remade in 1997 (as a Made-for-Cable-TV movie), with Jack Lemmon starring in the Henry Fonda role. In many scenes, that newer version is pretty much a word-for-word duplication of the '57 film. The '97 version is OK, too. But the original is superior overall (IMO), with better jury-room atmosphere and that certain 1950s-period detail and aura that could never be replicated in later decades. William Friedkin (one of my favorite movie directors) directed the '97 version of "Angry Men". I hadn't realized that Friedkin was involved in the remake until doing some research for this Amazon review.
The '57 version of "Angry Men" earned three Oscar nominations, including one for "Best Picture" of the year (it lost out to "The Bridge On The River Kwai").
Henry Fonda stars in the film as "Juror #8". Fonda's arguments, as he attempts to persuade his fellow jurors of the defendant's "possible" but by no means "certain" innocence, play out exceptionally well in this film. This is due in no small part to Fonda's fine performance. Each of his eleven fellow actors (jurors), to a man, do quite nicely in their respective parts as well.
Very nearly all of this 96-minute film was shot in the "jury room", a perfectly natural setting for the movie considering the subject matter, of course. From what I've read, an actual jury room was used to shoot "12 Angry Men", which further enhances the gritty, realistic look of this B&W classic. The old-time jury quarters come complete with high ceiling and big (sticky) windows. Another realistic touch was the rickety and troublesome electric fan that juror Jack Warden just can't seem to get started (until the light switch is flipped on).
We get to see outside of that confining 16x24-foot jury room for only a very few minutes -- at the beginning and end of the movie. Those brief scenes include a nicely-done courtroom segment which depicts the trial's judge (portrayed by Rudy Bond) giving the jury the appropriate instructions before turning the murder case over to them. Note the bland, banal, and seemingly-uncaring manner in which the judge issues his instructions to the jury. I thought this was a good piece of writing here -- to have the judge, at the end of another long day in the sweltering non-air-conditioned courtroom, speak to the jury in a rather detached way. It's obvious that this judge has given out these exact same instructions many times prior to this trial. It's become merely "routine", and his robotic-like words are telling us that he could probably say this stuff in his sleep.
After the jury files into the back room, we get our only look at the defendant in this murder trial -- a young 18-year-old Hispanic boy who is accused of knifing his father to death late one night. The boy glances at the jurors as they leave the courtroom; and it's hard at that early point in the film to not feel some compassion and sympathy for this young man whose life is in the hands of the twelve men he just watched leave the room. It's another fine piece of (silent) writing here, to give the audience one brief look at the person whom the film's story is really all about. The young defendant, played by John Savoca, never says a word here, and never utters a sound, but he says a lot with just his facial expressions during those few short seconds he's on camera.
Very little music accompanies this movie (besides the low-key theme that plays under the opening credits and some additional music at the end of the picture). I'm guessing that Mr. Lumet was of the opinion that the tension in the jury room was ample enough to propel the film forward, and that a minimal amount of music was required. I think that's correct too.
The cast here is comprised of all men. Not a woman juror to be found. Even the two "alternate" jurors who were dismissed at the start of the picture are men (we get a brief glimpse of those two male alternates in one shot during the short courtroom scene).
I think it might have been interesting if one or two female jurors had been inserted into this Reginald Rose screenplay. But it was decided to go with an all-male jury instead. And I certainly can't fault the results. It's a film that works extremely well, despite the cliched premise (i.e., "11 vs. 1 in a jury room").
Screen time is divided up pretty evenly between the "Twelve Angry Men" throughout the film. And each and every one of these twelve actors is worth watching here. They're all very good. If the words "top-notch ensemble cast" ever applied to a motion picture, that phrase certainly would adequately describe this film's troupe of actors.
It's a cast filled with familiar faces (or soon-to-be-familiar faces, from a "circa 1957" perspective). As I look over this cast of 12, I'm reminded of something from a TV fan's standpoint .... and that is the connection between 8 of these 12 actors and one of the best-written television series ever aired, "The Fugitive" (which ran from 1963 to 1967). Eight of these "jurors" made guest appearances on "The Fugitive", some of them appearing in multiple episodes of that TV show.
The majority of this "angry dozen" also showed up on lots of other TV programs in the years following the release of this film -- including many episodes of "The Twilight Zone", which (like "The Fugitive") proved to be a familiar stomping ground for several of these actors, with five of them logging guest appearances on that Rod Serling-created anthology program.
Here's a rundown of the film's exceptional cast (complete with some random chunks of miscellaneous info and bio data re. each of these "jurors"):
"Juror #1" (The Jury Foreman) -- Played by 37-year-old Martin Balsam. .... Martin was one of the last "holdouts" in the film, changing his vote from Guilty to Not Guilty quite late in the movie. .... Martin is possibly best-known for his part as "Detective Milton Arbogast" in 1960's "Psycho". His "meeting" with "Mother" on the stairs is a memorable scene in that Hitchcock shocker. .... Balsam passed away of a heart attack in February 1996. He was 76.
"Juror #2" -- John Fiedler. .... John was the youngest of the twelve jurors (at age 32), besting Robert Webber for this "youngest" honor by just four months. .... Fiedler made scads of TV guest-starring appearances, including his memorable recurring role as "Mr. Peterson" in "The Bob Newhart Show" during the 1970s. .... He was also famous for providing voices for cartoon characters. .... The Wisconsin-born Fiedler died, at the age of 80, in June 2005.
"Juror #3" -- Lee J. Cobb (age 45). .... A distinguished film actor ("The Exorcist"; "The Three Faces Of Eve"; "The Dark Past"), Cobb was the very last "Angry" juror to have his vote swayed. His emotion-filled breakdown at the end of the film put a cap on the roller-coaster ride of feelings he exhibits throughout the movie. An extra nice touch is when Henry Fonda's character helps Cobb on with his jacket after all the other jurors have left the room. Fonda shows his compassion toward Cobb here, despite the violent outbursts Cobb aimed at Fonda earlier. A nice finishing touch of humanity here. .... Cobb was 64 when he passed away in 1976.
"Juror #4" -- E.G. Marshall (42 years old). .... Marshall acted in dozens of movies and made over 130 TV appearances (mostly in the early days of the medium). .... Was born in Minnesota in 1914. Died in 1998.
"Juror #5" -- Jack Klugman (34 years of age during filming) -- Famous for his TV characters ("Oscar Madison" and "Quincy"), Jack's acting career began in the very earliest days of television (in 1950). .... Klugman is also remembered fondly by this writer for his parts in the TV series "The Twilight Zone". .... Klugman, like two of his jury-mates, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (the other two Philly-born actors in the cast being Ed Binns and Joe Sweeney).
"Juror #6" -- Edward Binns. .... There's a nifty little "connection" between Binns and Henry Fonda (besides this picture) -- i.e., both appeared in the 1964 film "Fail-Safe" as well ("Grady, this is the President!!"). Binns was playing bomber pilot "Grady" when he was being screamed at by "President" Fonda. Another "Fail-Safe"/"12 Angry Men" tie-in is the fact that Sidney Lumet directed both movies. .... Ed Binns passed on in December of 1990 (when he was 74). He was 40 when he played "Juror Number Six".
"Juror #7" -- Jack Warden. .... Jack provides most of the comic relief in this movie. He gets in several zingers at the expense of Baltimore Orioles' baseball fan Jack Klugman -- "Baltimore? What have they got, except good groundskeeping?" -- "And pop-ups are fallin' for base hits wherever we look!". .... Warden was 36 in early 1957 when "Angry Men" was filmed. .... Jack's acting career, in both TV and in the movies, extends back to 1951.
"Juror #8" -- Henry Fonda. .... The most recognized name in the cast, Fonda was 51 when he made "12 Angry Men". .... Henry was famous for his many highly-memorable big-screen roles, in such films as "Mister Roberts", "The Grapes Of Wrath", "Young Mr. Lincoln", and "On Golden Pond". .... I'm also very partial to Fonda's performance in "Fail-Safe", in which (as mentioned previously) he portrayed the President of the United States. .... Henry Fonda left behind a legion of faithful fans and a legendary roster of film roles when he died on August 12th, 1982, at the age of 77.
"Juror #9" -- Joseph Sweeney. .... Sweeney was the oldest (72) and one of the most likeable of the 12 jurors in the film. .... Joe was one of only two jurors whose name was revealed in the movie (Mr. "McCardle"). .... Sweeney only made six movies, with "12 Angry Men" being his last. His first film was a 1918 silent flick called "Sylvia On A Spree". .... The 79-year-old Sweeney passed away on November 25, 1963 (the very same day that America buried its assassinated President, John F. Kennedy).
"Juror #10" -- Ed Begley (Sr.). .... Begley, 56, played the bigoted "Juror Number Ten", whose "Not Guilty" vote does not come without a vigorous fight ("Ya know what I mean?"). .... I've always liked this guy in everything I've seen him in, from Barbara Stanwyck's father in the screen version of the famous radio play "Sorry, Wrong Number" (1948), to "Patterns" (both the TV version in 1955 and the film adaption the following year), to a skillful performance in "The Fugitive" in 1964, to his very funny part as a court judge in a 1965 episode of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" ("Mr. Petrie, is it your intention to go through the ENTIRE alphabet?!" LOL!). .... Ed Begley, in April 1970, died at the age of 69.
"Juror #11" -- 51-year-old George Voskovec. .... The Austrian-born Voskovec was the only juror (actor) who was not a native of the United States. .... His lineup of credits includes several movie parts and better than fifty TV roles. .... Date of death: July 1, 1981 (age 76).
"Juror #12" -- Robert Webber (age 32). .... Like many of these other actors, Webber's list of TV acting credits is about a mile long. Just prior to his death (of Lou Gehrig's Disease) in 1989, Robert had been a regular in the TV series "Moonlighting". .... He was also a common sight in 1970s-era television crime dramas.
THE DOPE ON THIS DVD...........
"MGM Home Entertainment, Inc." placed this DVD on the home-video market on March 6th, 2001. "12 Angry Men" is part of MGM's "Vintage Classics" series of DVDs.
The disc sports a very-pleasing Widescreen (1.66:1) image and two Dolby Digital audio soundtracks (English 2.0 Mono and French 2.0 Mono). It's not an Anamorphic video transfer we see here, but picture detail looks excellent nonetheless. Very little to complain about, IMO. French and Spanish subtitles are on the disc, too.
The Original Theatrical Trailer for "12 Angry Men" is the lone bonus supplement offered up on the disc. Run time for the trailer is 2:13. As with many trailers of this era, watch for the "alternate" takes of scenes (which are not quite the same as what end up on screen in the final cut of the movie). Lee Cobb's "fuming tirade" scene, for instance, is a different "take" than the one in the finished film, with some extra (snarling) dialogue added as well.
I get a kick out of old trailers. And while this one for "12 Angry Men" doesn't include the melodramatic screen-filling written passages that some (even older) movie trailers contain, the narration we find here has that same 'overdone' effect. An example being when this completely-inaccurate narration is heard in the trailer: "Twelve men turned into twelve clawing animals!" ... Huh?? 12 clawing animals? This is not true at all. Only one of the jurors would even remotely fit that description (Cobb).
The overly-dramatic music used for the trailer is not to be found in the movie itself either. Fun-to-watch stuff though.
The DVD Menus are quiet and static in nature. Four choices are available from the disc's Main Menu screen -- "Play"; "Scene Selections" (four Menu screens used for the movie's 16 chapters); "Theatrical Trailer"; and "Languages".
No paper insert is included.
I'd also like to point out a mistake in the movie description that is found on the back of the DVD case. For some reason the author of that descriptive blurb claims: "Eleven jurors are convinced that the defendant is guilty of murder. The twelfth has no doubt of his innocence".
The above passage is not accurate. The 12th juror referred to there (Fonda) is not at all completely convinced of the defendant's innocence. Fonda's character (revealed as "Mr. Davis" in the final reel) states numerous times during the movie that he "isn't sure" if the boy is guilty or innocent. In fact, he says "I don't know" when asked point-blank by a fellow juror "Do you really think he's innocent?". So, I just wanted to point out this erroneous info being given to unaware DVD buyers who might take the package's blurb to heart. Certainly not an Earth-shaking error, but still worth pointing out.
There's another minor error on the packaging as well. The box claims that the film received "four" Academy Award nominations...which is wrong. It received three.
To close this "Angry" dissertation ;) .........
"12 Angry Men" has been one of my favorite motion pictures for a long time now. It's certainly one of the best-written and competently-acted dramas of its kind ever produced. And this sparkling-looking DVD edition only makes me want to revisit this film all the more. And I'll bet that the odds are 11-to-1 in favor of other DVD owners feeling that same way after viewing this Digital Disc.
Pretty good odds, huh? (Or are they?) ~wink~
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'no one wears eyeglasses to bed',
I first saw this movie years ago on the late late when I was around [...] years old. It impressed me and gave me a lot to think about. Today, and over the years, it still does.
It achieves something which the best writing does-but it achieves it in a way that is fully cinematic. A book could not substitute for it. What makes it stand the test of time--and have appeal to many personal ages and stages--is its multiple layers. This is not just one story. It is actually several stories overlapping-and interpenetrating.
Having watched it many times, it seems that every frame counts for something. Virtually the whole story takes place in one small jury room, of which we are given the benefit of seeing from virtually every perspective. The same for the characters, which are themselves anything but two dimensional. The film does not have a dull moment--not even when the characters themselves are doodling and bored!
When I first saw the movie, I thought that it had something to do with human perfection always being within reach even in an imperfect situation. An imperfectly conducted trial with a selection of angry and biased jurors working within an imperfect system of law is brought to perfection as the jurors gradually realize that doubt is always possible and so the law itself forbids the death penalty-it merely leaves the decision in the hands of the jurors. That was my understanding when I was nine. I have since seen many other ways of looking at it and, though I still think that in some way the theme of perfection under imperfect circumstances is part of it, I also think there are many other layers.
Though I all but have the dialogue memorized, I still notice new things when I watch it again. This was a very studied production, from the exact wording of the script, to the body language of the characters and direction and camera angles--again from the smallest details, beginning with simply the jurors trying to get comfortable and make their "space" as they are locked in the jury room-along with the small interpersonal exchanges--right up to the involved discussions and passionate confrontations.
An important story layer lies in the theme of how conformity shapes human opinion, and what an individual can and cannot do to effectively awaken the use of reason in a group of people-not simply establishing another conformity or fashion. This is perhaps the predominant layer, insofar as it coincides with what the film is most famous for: one lone juror, voting not guilty, holding out against and eventually persuading the other 11 who were voting guilty. Here it is an exceptionally good character study, showing how different possible psychological motives and dispositions may result in more or less flawed perceptions of, even concern for, truth. The film has been called optimistic, and it is in the sense that it suggests that under the right circumstances, this concern can be rekindled in everyone-that it is universal.
Another story layer lies in the theme of how leadership works and what it means. There are several characters who, for different reasons, represent "natural leaders," and several others who, for different reasons, represent "natural followers." But things never quite naturally fall into place, and the struggles between the characters as they vie for position never quite works out as they, or even the audience, expects. But what happens is very believable, and there is not a cheap shot taken in the whole plot. Ultimately there is a showdown between the hero and his chief nemesis, but the nemesis winds up performing what is perhaps the most morally heroic act in the whole film.
It is also an excellent detective story, an excellent whodunit. The guilty verdict which seems cut and dried at the beginning is gradually and effectively analyzed as it is supplemented with details so that it does become questionable-and not in a cheap way; it still leaves you thinking.
Acting is very good. I'd rank Henry Fonda's low key performance his masterpiece. Also the masterpiece of a number of masterful character actors.
In my most recent viewing, I decided that the defendant is, in fact, innocent...
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Could Watch Over and Over,
By A Customer
I've seen this movie at least seven times and I'm still not remotely tired of it. Henry Fonda turns in one of his best performances as a stubbon jury member who thinks the man they're trying for the murder of his father may be innocent, despite seemingly overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Despite initial disagreement from the other 11 members of the jury, Fonda shows that the case isn't as open and shut as everyone thought. He also reveals that prejudice is playing a major role in the way the men are making their decisions. Lee J. Cobb is fantastic as a prejudice guy taking out the anger he feals over fights he has with his son on the young man being tried. E.G. Marshall stands out as an inteligent and logical man fighting against Fonda until the end, and Ed Beggley excels as a common bigot who believes all the poor are bums and crooks (a speach he gives at the end of the film to that effect is quite powerful. As he speaks, each of the jurors turn away, and by the end, no one is listening and Beggley breaks). Rounding out this supurb cast is Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, and a very young Jack Klugman. Director Sidney Lumet takes almost nothing (a cast of about 12, one room, no special effects) and transforms it into a rich, provocative, and moving story about America and the men who live there. If only today's directors could do the same.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie highlights what is wrong with Hollywood....,
...because when was the last time they turned out a movie like this??? NO special effects, NO crazy shock endings, NO elaborate sets; just one HELL of a good script and a bunch of superior actors. Its hard to explain just what the power of this movie is, since by modern audience standards, it is 'old'. The film is in black and white, it takes place almost entirely in one room, the acting is typical '50s style (no 'method' acting here). And yet, 12 Angry Men is a better movie that virtually any Best Picture winner from the past two decades (YES, its THAT good). Brilliantly conceived, intelligently written, masterfully paced, wonderfully acted (shall I go on??). Henry Fonda and company put on a tour de force here, and the effect is amazing: You will be RIVETED to the screen as 12 men from different walks of life come together to decide the fate of one teenage boy. As a side note, this film will also make you realize just how good an actor Henry Fonda truly was, as he OWNS his role in 12 Angry Men.
Oh, in case anyone is wondering if I am old or something (like that's the reason I like this movie: I just turned 35. Not exactly a senior citizen!)
To anyone who hasn't seen this movie: Rent a copy now! HIGHEST (and I do mean HIGHEST) POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just a Courtroom Drama-Micro-spective of the Human Condition..Must SEE!!,
This black and white masterwork of film is a must see for all. This is a not just a courtroom movie, but an examination of ourselves and how we see each other. Reginald Rose's original play reads like a powerhouse, even in a highschool english class, but given the direction of Sidney Lumet, the dynamite cast and the beautifully stark black and white cinematography it becomes a legend on film.
This movie centers on the diverse jury and it's deliberations in the murder trial of a young Puerto Rican man accused of killing his own father. It is an examination of our perception of one another, our selfish nature, our apathy when a crisis occurs-but does not affect us and our preconceived ideas of each other NOT based not upon fact, but upon our own experiences and traumas. It sheds light on how we process our decisions and how we can be easily yet unknowingly swayed away from the truth and yet believe we make honest and fair evaluations of fact, when in all truth we do not.
This was the ONLY film in which Henry Fonda starred AND was the producer and it was slow to take off at the box office. But within a few years this film became an american film mainstay. Regardless of the stunning performances and positive reviews, he never produced again.
This film has many of the early television and film greats and each gives a RIVETING PERFORMANCE!!! There's Jack Klugman, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, E.G. Marshall and Lee J. Cobb who gives one of the most memorable performances in the film. Cobb, who was known for his moving portrayal of Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman, is aggravating and compelling. Fonda depicts the "voice of reason" juror that is neither self-righteous or bleeding-heart wimpy. He challenges the other jurors and the viewer alike to rethink their conclusions and recalculate them by utilizing ALL the facts. Anyone that sees this movie will recognize at least someone they know that is like each juror, which are designated only by number throughout it's entirety, in their daily lives.
Don't let the black and white format sway you, this DVD is presented in a lovely widescreen format that intensifies the expert cinematic talents of the golden age of the silver screen. This is considered an essential for anyone that loves film. My thirteen year old actually sat mesmerized through the whole film and began to watch some of my other DVDs (To Kill a Mockingbird, Inherit the Wind, Judgement At Nuremburg, to name a few) and at that tender young age, he is determined to spread the word and keep the tradition of sharing these movies of great distinction..
Metaldiva Sez: This is one of the essential films you should watch and share with your friends and family. This is an excellent price to own and to share. Get it today....
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless. A classic. Will never be bogged down by age.,
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This movie shows you a simple truth. Take a fantastic script, twelve fine actors lead by Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb, no special effects, a very sparse setting that will not distract from the characters and the story and you have a great film. Being filmed in Black and White rather than color also added to to the greatness of this film. What 11 jurors believe to be an open and shut case of homicide turns out not be be so simple when one juror (Fonda) votes not guilty. He is not sure whether the boy is guilty or innocent but he has a reasonable doubt and believes that a capital crime with someone's life on the line deserves more than 5 minutes of the other juror's time. This movie is like an onion; it strips the characters bare and slowly as they talk and listen in the hot and stuffy jury room statements they thought were conclusive begin to become hazy. It's like a mystery being untangled. Even at the end, you really don't know the truth but you do know that the lives of the 12 men have been irrecovably changed. Rose pulls no punches in his dialogue. This movie will still be a classic in 100 years.
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12 Angry Men by Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, Ed Begley Henry Fonda (DVD)