12 Angry Men (Twelve Angry Men)

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Sidney Lumet's feature debut is a superbly written, dramatically effective courtroom thriller that rightfully stands as a modern classic.



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Movie Info

A Puerto Rican youth is on trial for murder, accused of knifing his father to death. The twelve jurors retire to the jury room, having been admonished that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Eleven of the jurors vote for conviction, each for reasons of his own. The sole holdout is Juror #8, played by Henry Fonda. As Fonda persuades the weary jurors to re-examine the evidence, we learn the backstory of each man. Juror #3 (Lee J. Cobb), a bullying self-made man, has estranged himself from his own son. Juror #7 (Jack Warden) has an ingrained mistrust of foreigners; so, to a lesser extent, does Juror #6 (Edward Binns). Jurors #10 (Ed Begley) and #11 (George Voskovec), so certain of the infallibility of the Law, assume that if the boy was arrested, he must be guilty. Juror #4 (E.G. Marshall) is an advocate of dispassionate deductive reasoning. Juror #5 (Jack Klugman), like the defendant a product of "the streets," hopes that his guilty vote will distance himself from his past. Juror #12 (Robert Webber), an advertising man, doesn't understand anything that he can't package and market. And Jurors #1 (Martin Balsam), #2 (John Fiedler) and #9 (Joseph Sweeney), anxious not to make waves, "go with the flow." The excruciatingly hot day drags into an even hotter night; still, Fonda chips away at the guilty verdict, insisting that his fellow jurors bear in mind those words "reasonable doubt." A pet project of Henry Fonda's, Twelve Angry Men was his only foray into film production; the actor's partner in this venture was Reginald Rose, who wrote the 1954 television play on which the film was based. Carried over from the TV version was director Sidney Lumet, here making his feature-film debut. A flop when it first came out (surprisingly, since it cost almost nothing to make), Twelve Angry Men holds up beautifully when seen today. It was remade for television in 1997 by director William Friedkin with Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Martin Balsam
as Juror No. 1
John Fiedler
as Juror No. 2
Lee J. Cobb
as Juror No. 3
E.G. Marshall
as Juror No. 4
Jack Klugman
as Juror No. 5
Edward Binns
as Juror No. 6
Jack Warden
as Juror No. 7
Henry Fonda
as Juror No. 8
Joseph Sweeney
as Juror No. 9
Ed Begley Sr.
as Juror No. 10
George Voskovec
as Juror No. 11
Robert Webber
as Juror No. 12
Rudy Bond
as Judge
Billy Nelson
as Court Clerk
John Savoca
as Defendant
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Critic Reviews for 12 Angry Men (Twelve Angry Men)

All Critics (50) | Top Critics (6)

Audience Reviews for 12 Angry Men (Twelve Angry Men)


An impressive achievement considering it was Lumet's first film, extremely well-written and superbly directed, with many elegant shots, fluid camera movements and a gripping plot that takes place entirely inside a room and is sustained only by a tense, smart dialogue.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.

Kase Vollebregt
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

Exceptionally acted and written, 12 Angry Men is a smart, thrilling classic that keeps the viewer hanging on to every word.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

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.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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