12 Angry Men (Twelve Angry Men) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 20, 2011
This classic is a scintillating courtroom drama with an excellent script and a brisk pace. It's all the more important considering it came just before the social upheaval in the 60's, when America began to reevaluate its prejudices.
Super Reviewer
August 1, 2014
Exceptionally acted and written, 12 Angry Men is a smart, thrilling classic that keeps the viewer hanging on to every word.
Super Reviewer
February 14, 2013
Juror #8: 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.

"It Explodes Like 12 Sticks of Dynamite"

12 Angry Men is a movie of no action, but loads of tension. It finds the tension in differences of opinion, how people were brought up and how they talk, act and think. This is Sidney Lumet's most revered and remembered film, and for good reason. It's one of those rare films that won't leave you, ever. It's powerful and extremely well directed, written and acted.

An 18 year old slum kid is on trial for his life. He is accused of stabbing and killing his father. The 12 men of the jury retire to the jury room and take a vote. With the first vote, 11 of the jurors believe he is guilty and only one isn't sure; he votes not guilty. From there it's arguments and yelling, as Juror #8 tries to prove that you can't prove the boy killed his father.

There's a lot of reasons why this film is so good, but the most obvious one to me, is how simple it happens to be. It's twelve men sitting and walking around a table. They're all different, and the actors who played them couldn't have done a better job. The standouts for me were, obviously, Henry Fonda(one of the best ever) as Juror #8 and Lee J. Cobb who plays Juror #3, and is the exact opposite of Fonda's character.

It's easy to see why this is so often considered among people as one of the best films ever; definitely one of the best American films. 12 Angry Men is one that cannot and should not be missed by any film fan.
Super Reviewer
September 14, 2007
I stylish drama that you fail to appreciate these days. A rarity and a classic in its own right.
Super Reviewer
October 11, 2012
With a blazing cast and effective plot, Sidney Lumet's debut picture is a stunning drama and one of the essential classics of cinema. What makes Sidney Lumet's work standout is the fact that he can do so much with so little. 12 Angry men, has a great cast of talented actors who deliver strong performances. The film starts off slow, but as the film unfolds, the plot becomes more intense therefore you're more involved. Lumet is a terrific filmmaker and he crafted a solid picture with this one. The fact that Lumet is able to pull off terrific tension because of the performances he gets out of the actors as well as a well constructed script that is engaging. Despite the fact that the film is set in one room, the film showcases Sidney Lumet's talent in telling a well constructed story early on in his career. This is a simple, yet brilliant film that delivers suspense as the film unwinds and as the plot progresses the tensions mount to a great climax. A key component of the film's success is Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb on-screen chemistry. Their disagreement over the facts of the case is one of the strongest aspects of the film. Henry Fonda is terrific here, and his performance is memorable, and is only topped by his performance by the Sergio Leone classic Once Upon A Time in the West. If you love classic cinema that relies more on the casts performances rather than effects to create an effective plot, then 12 Angry Men is a must see film and is among Sidney Lumet's greatest achievements in cinema. This film should definitely be seen by any serious film fan.
Jon J.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2012
To most people, this was a clear-cut case. A young man accused of patricide with a gun, a mountain of evidence against him and a jury of 12 people that are more concerned with getting home as early as possible than to serve in the name of justice. After the hearing, the jury was sent into a small room to come to a singular decision - a simple choice of guilty or not guilty. The vote was cast, hands shot up in agreement to the guilty verdict, yet one man stayed his hand: juror number 8 (Henry Fonda). In the face of incredible unilateral pressure, he was the only one that dared to look closer at what had perspired that fateful night of the crime. At that point the entire room goes up in a furor, the tension rises, the temperature shows no sign of going down and as the sun sets alongside the ensuing discussions, things only get more complex.

In principle, this set-up is incredibly simple, most of the film happens in one room with a small cast of only 12, all focusing on one set plot point: did the accused perpetrate the crime? The simplicity, however, is only superficial. Every single juror in the room has his own story, his own background, that not only explains what lies behind their decision in the vote, but also highlights the overall character of each juror outside the courtroom. There's the father that's slowly but surely grown distant from his only son; there's the foreigner who's just trying to keep a low profile. One juror is timid, another brash, even another cold and calculating. So what seems to be a room full of like-minded people (with a single exception) progresses into one that is filled with arguments, conflict and turmoil. It's within this battlefield of emotions that the film gets its strength. It may be from its theater-inspired atmosphere or the increased focus on argumentative discourse among (quite) intelligent men, but the film is simply magical. Transforming a jury room into a place of almost palpable excitement is no easy task.

Yet this is what Sidney Lumet (director) and Reginald Rose (screenwriter) do with relative ease, squeezing every ounce of character from each juror. As mentioned earlier, this resembles as much a theater piece as it does a movie, lending it a touch of proximity that would otherwise have been impossible to achieve. Together with the brilliant acting, the transformation from the mundane to the fascinating (noteably something that Sidney Lumet achieves later on in Dogday Afternoon) is accomplished. Though some actors play far bigger roles than others (the salesman for instance gets only a few lines), no-one feels out of place or inconsequential. The big fish is of course Henry Fonda, who plays the single dissenter who has the gargantuan job of convincing everyone else to take a few steps back to analyze the situation. Oddly enough, though, his character isn't one of brimming self-confidence and a foolproof plan of execution. He often seems unsure and in fact confirms that feeling on more than one occasion - his desire lies in holding a fair trial, not one that is governed by a unilateral verdict on either side. With every step in the deliberation, he ponders about each piece of evidence, its implication and connection to the murder. Even the viewer can't help but feel that everything points to a guilty verdict for the boy. However, like pieces of a puzzle, juror number 8 puts forth simple truths that had been forgotten in the heat of the moment, not to mention the heat of the day. Thanks to the movie's set-up, even the person watching gets to join in (albeit indirectly), putting things in perspective as the tale goes along. Other great performances include that of E.G. Marshall as a stern pragmatist and Lee J. Cobb as a distraught, obstinate father. Lee is particularly memorable, being one of the most interesting jurors in the room and one you get to know incredibly well as time passes.

Thanks to its mesmerizing script, diverse and talented cast, and contained direction, 12 Angry Men is doubtlessly a classic. In fact, it is one of the prime examples of brilliant filmmaking from its time. Don't doubt whether or not you should see it; the only question is when!
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2010
An impressive achievement considering it was Lumet's first film, extremely well-written and superbly directed, with many elegant shots and fluid camera movements. Really gripping and audacious, it takes place entirely in a chamber, sustained by a tense, compelling dialogue.
Super Reviewer
December 21, 2006
Sidney Lumet's classic courtroom drama is based upon a very simple premise; a jury is sent to deliberate on a capital murder case and one lone juror stands alone against the other eleven arguing that there is reasonable doubt. Virtually the entire film takes place in the same room and the characters are a deliberate cross section of different personalities from all walks of life. They even remain unnamed for the length of the film. It's basically a tribute to the American justice system and democracy in general; imagine a more high brow version of Frank Capra without the sentimentality. Slightly reminiscent of Rashomon, it exposes the preconceptions and prejudices behind the attitudes of some of the jurors and their refusal to accept the possibility of a juvenile delinquent's innocence and is fascinatingly told as a kind of detective story in reverse, Fonda gradually dismantling the prosecution's case piece by piece. The character's are all really well written, the dialogue taut and the director's skill is consummate as he creates tension and drama without ever leaving the jury room. It's very stagey and occasionally reminded me of a game of musical chairs for that reason and it may be a little subdued for younger tastes used to fast cuts and gratuitous action, but for me this is still the best courtroom drama ever made.
Super Reviewer
March 5, 2012
12 Men, one room, maybe the most exciting and powerful hour and a half of film I've ever seen.
Super Reviewer
January 24, 2012
Not to deny that it's a remarkable classic and I enjoyed it reasonably despite having watched its remake quite a while ago, but I'd have to admit that it's a downhill trip for the last half hour. Nevertheless, highly recommended by all means.
Super Reviewer
November 16, 2011
A lesson in cinema and justice.
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2010
12 Angry Men is a film with a basic idea that turns into a complex, dialogue-ridden feature film that will have you on the edge of your seat for the full 90 minutes that this brilliant classic surely embraces. Henry Fonda leads a debate with a 12 manned jury on the case of whether or not an 18 year-old boy is guilty of murdering his father. Taking place after a courtroom session, these men "angrily" reflect on the statements made by the accused and the defendants as they fight until the bitter end when all the possible facts are on the table. I was pulled into this amazing film and I felt what every man had to say as they made critical points that will make you go back and forth, never truly knowing which side to take, even though you may have a good idea! This classic is one of the smartest written films I have ever seen! 12 Angry Men is magnificent!
Super Reviewer
June 18, 2011
Incredibly engaging drama with stunning performances all round. A great achievement in filmmaking from the late Sidney Lumet.
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2010
Breathtaking filmmaking. Full review later.
Super Reviewer
October 17, 2010
Stunning film! The fact that this film takes place entirely in a jury room but still delivers, is incredible. Sidney Lumet brilliantly directed this masterpiece; I doubt that any director could replicate the greatness in this film, today.
Super Reviewer
July 16, 2007
Even though it's slightly dated and starts to feel just a tad contrived towards the end, 12 Angry Men is nevertheless riveting and, most importantly, smart. The fantastic script by Reginald Rose is matched in its intensity by a remarkable cast, where Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Warden and Ed Begley stand out.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
This movie is fantastic, it's suspenseful, dramatic, and very intense. This film is a classic, and the best court drama I've ever seen.
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2010
This classic easily goes down, along with "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994), as my favorite film of all time. This is perhaps the most important film to a modern judicial system, and is required viewing for anyone who wishes to call themselves a proper and good citizen of any free nation.
Super Reviewer
July 10, 2010
Every juror is illustrated so specifically. They're all types but completely fleshed out - each with their own demons and prejudices. However, the older I get, the more cynical I get about what I take away from the film. What if they WERE sunglasses? What if the woman had been reading in bed because she couldn't sleep? What if the boy just grabbed the knife overhanded because he obviously wasn't getting into a knife fight? This whole movie is a must-happen - a gloriously-paced must-happen but...

I want to marry a man who looks like Henry Fonda. Not fall in love with a man like Henry Fonda. Marry a man who looks like Henry Fonda.
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