Eleven jurors are convinced that the defendant is guilty of murder. The twelfth has no doubt of his innocence. How can this one man steer the others toward the same conclusion? It's a case of seemingly overwhelming evidenc... more »e against a teenager accused of killing his father in "one of the best pictures ever made" (The Hollywood Reporter).« less
"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."
The elusive truth
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 02/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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. "
A Masterpiece, not a Megabudgeter.
GRAHAM TOMLINSON | LONDON, ENGLAND | 06/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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!"
The finest courtroom drama
SheLikesDvds.com | Cincinnati | 03/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
I Could Watch Over and Over
SheLikesDvds.com | 11/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."