Other Sellers on Amazon
12 Angry Men (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
The Criterion Collection
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
12 Angry Men, by Sidney Lumet, may be the most radical big-screen courtroom drama in cinema history. A behind-closed-doors look at the American legal system as riveting as it is spare, the iconic adaptation of Reginald Rose’s teleplay stars Henry Fonda as the initially dissenting member of a jury of white men ready to pass judgment on a Puerto Rican teenager charged with murdering his father. What results is a saga of epic proportions that plays out in real time over ninety minutes in one sweltering room. Lumet’s electrifying snapshot of 1950s America on the verge of change is one of the great feature-film debuts.
Top customer reviews
Although this will seem outdated to many with its all-male jury, smoking allowed, no air-conditioning and no fancy meals, the story line transcends all that. It's a story of reasonable doubt, deductive reasoning/thinking and discovering that things aren't always as they seem.
The 12 men don't start out angry. One juror is not convinced of the guilt of the accused. In the process of discussing the details of the crime, tempers flare.
The photography is wonderful--the use of shadows & light and camera angles is a joy to behold. The interaction between the very diverse men is engaging, and although some of the scenes seem a little stilted (remember this was made in 1957), overall the acting is stellar.
I think this is a great movie to watch with young people to help them learn about tolerance, analyzing information, patience, critical thinking, humility and redemption. There is no sex, violence (other than a slight scuffle between two jurors), gore or swearing.
"12 Angry Men" first appeared on television on CBS's "Studio One" program in the early 1950's. Actor Henry Fonda was so taken with the play that he immediately launched a campaign to bring it to the big screen. When all of the major studios declined Fonda and the author of the play Reginald Rose decided to do it themselves. They recruited highly respected director Sidney Lumet and inked a deal with United Artists. Remarkably, this film was made for less than $350,000 and was shot in less than three weeks. Save for the opening and closing scenes the entire 95 minute movie was shot on one set consisting of the jury room and the adjoining bathroom. Moreover, this film was shot in glorious black and white which proved to be remarkably effective.
The matter at hand is the deliberation of a 12 man jury who must determine the guilt or innocence of a young Puerto Rican teenager who has been charged with the murder of this father. The remarkable 6 and 1/2 minute opening scene sets the tone for the entire film. As we watch these 12 men assemble in the jury room we immediately begin to get a psychological insight into each one of them. And when the foreman of the jury (Martin Balsam) decides to take an initial vote to see where things stand we learn that only juror #8 (Henry Fonda) believes tthat he young man is innocent. Thus the stage is set for a rock-em, sock-em debate as Fonda attempts to convince the other 11 jurors that they are wrong. This is courtroom drama at it's absolute best. I must tell you that the writing is nothing short of extraordinary and the acting is superb. There are truly remarkable performances by E.G. Marshall, a very young Jack Klugman, Ed Begley, Jack Warden and most especially Lee J. Cobb who plays juror #3, a highly opinionated and prejudiced man who for his own personal reasons is determined to see the defendant fry. And of course as one might expect Henry Fonda is unforgettable in the role of juror #8. During the course of the deliberations these 12 ordinary men must confront their own personal prejudices and shortcomings and make a series of moral choices. It is positively spellbinding! Meanwhile, the imaginative camera work conveys to the audience the sense of what it must be like to have to operate in such closed quarters for an extended period of time.
Although a disappointment at the box office "12 Angry Men" was nominated for three Academy Awards. The play continues to be performed by theater companies and high school groups all around the country. These days for rather obvious reasons the name has been changed to "12 Angry Jurors". If you have never seen this film I urge you to make it a point to see it. You will definitely not be disappointed and you just might discover that there is more to good film-making than special effects. Very highly recommended!
1. The "extras" in this 50th Anniversary Edition are excellent. Even if you've seen 12 Angry Men a GILLION times (because it is the kind of film one sees multiple times), you'll love the extras and will learn/glean something from them.
2. If you've never seen this movie but were told you should have seen it, this version will cover everything because the extras will bring you up to speed on the film's significance.
3. In my entire life, I've never heard anyone say they didn't like this movie. Ever. So, again, if you've never seen it or are considering buying it for someone, do it. It's a can't-fail movie. It stands the test of time because "12 people on a jury" is a timeless proposition.
I'm very much into DVD extras. I was excited to hear the commentary that is provided by Drew Casper, a film historian. Unfortunately, I was more frustrated by the commentary than happy with it. Casper spoke in an odd rapid fire hushed tone that annoyed me greatly. In fact, I felt aggravated by it. He was calmer in certain sections as the movie progressed, but on the whole, it was not a pleasure to listen. He did have some interesting things to say here and there, however.
What I absolutely loved was a featurette on the making of the movie. This was full of interesting info and it felt complete as it discussed each of the jurors. It talked a lot about Fonda's efforts to get the movie made, too. Another shorter featurette talked about how it was inside the jury room. These two extras are worth the price of the DVD in my view.