12 Angry Men
Perhaps one of the greatest movies ever made. This theatrical release, directed by Sidney Lumet, was released in 1957, and was based on a 1955 stage play, which in turn was based on a 1954 television film -- all written by Reginald Rose. This 1957 film has one of the best casts ever put together for a movie -- headlined by Henry Fonda, but with superb supporting work by Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, John Fiedler, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec and Robert Webber. The plot, in a nutshell, is that these twelve men are the jurors on a murder trial, and they've been sent away from the courtroom to debate the case and make their decision regarding the guilt or innocence of the accused. All but one of the jurors are set to believe this was an easy case, but Henry Fonda's character has questions -- he's not certain "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the accused is guilty, and his questions begin a lengthy process of each juror re-examining the evidence, the testimonies, and their own preconceptions. Set in the stifling confines of a hot, stuffy jury room, this intense drama pits conflicting opinions and moralities against each other head on, and touches on issues of racism, classism, and the American system of justice. This is an unforgettable production, and although it has more recently been remade in a 1997 TV-movie version (with an equally stellar cast), nothing beats this original. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the 1997 TV-movie, if you can track it down.]
[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ MGM's official 12 Angry Men web page ]
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