My Favorite Movies #81 – 12 Angry Men

12 Angry Men Poster12 Angry Men

1957

Directed by Sidney Lumet

Netflix says… Knowing full well that a guilty verdict means death, a jury of 12 men (including Jack Warden and Jack Klugman) must decide the fate of an 18-year-old boy accused of fatally stabbing his father. But only one juror (Henry Fonda) wants to take the time to coolly deliberate the case. Sidney Lumet (Network) made his directorial debut with this Oscar-nominated drama that illuminates all the petty impediments on the path to justice.

  • This is one of the 17 films that appears both on my favorites list as well as the AFI’s top 100 list.
  • I place it slightly higher than the AFI did (their 87 to my 81).
  • I first saw this movie during my senior year of high school when it was shown in my sociology class.
  • About 95% of the movie takes place in one room. It’s the hottest day of the year and the room has no air conditioning.
  • You pack 12 jurors in with very different personalities, tempers are gonna flare.
  • This movie is perfect for anyone who enjoys just watching people. Because that’s all this movie really.
  • You spend 96 minutes seeing how these 12 men express their emotion, mostly frustration. How they move from being certain that a defendant is guilty to having those shadows of doubt.
  • It’s interesting to think about the time in which this movie was made. Because in 1957, the juror was made up entirely of 12 white men.
  • The movie was remade for TV in 1997 with a more diverse cast, still all men.
  • I think it would be interesting to see this story remade today, with the diversity not only in race and religion, but in gender as well.
  • Because in this version, there’s plenty of prejudice to go around, simply based on the neighborhood that the defendant comes from.
  • Imagine the prejudices that could cloud a jury’s judgment in today’s world.
  • I’m not gonna go through this movie with some kind of play by play. Because that would do a disservice to how incredible this film is.
  • Just like when I reviewed it for the AFI list, I’m going to just have to insist that you take the time to watch it.

Next week we’ll head back to medieval times for A Knight’s Tale.

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