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Twelve Angry Men
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Customer Reviews:

  • ToK with 12 Angry Men
    I used this movie in my Theory of Knowledge class the last 3 class period. It is so "ToKish"! Guess you would have to be in the IB program in school to understand how it relates to everything that we have talked about and done the past year and a half. My kids loved the movie! Their papers that they wrote about the movie were wonderful!

    ...more info
  • Drama in the Jury Room
    The film begins at the entrance to a courthouse (the classic style from the 19th century). A man is on trial for murder in the first degree. The judge reads the law, the jury will decide from the conflicting testimonies. It is a hot day, no air conditioning. [Hot weather is associated with higher crime and violence.] The conversations tell about the jurors (all male for a murder case). The foreman asks for a preliminary vote, then a discussion. The first vote by hand is 11 for guilty. The jury begins to discuss the case. The holdout talks about the miserable life of the 18-year old who stabbed his father. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. One juror discusses the facts of the eyewitness identification. [No physical evidence.] The heat and the arguments affect the jurors. Did the defendant get a competent defense? They examine one piece of evidence. If that type of knife was available to others, would it be proof of guilt? [Jurors shouldn't investigate on their own.]

    They vote again by secret ballot, and only ten vote guilty. The characters of the jury are shown. Is one juror affected by his own family history? The dissident juror points out how a passing elevated train would make extreme noise to block out conversation and the noise of a falling body. Then another juror votes `not guilty'. One juror questions the lack of fingerprints on the knife handle. The next vote adds another `not guilty'. How accurate was the time estimate? The next vote is six to six. The more they discuss the evidence the more doubt is raised about the case. Would a memory be affected by emotional stress? How would that knife be used in a stabbing? More vote for acquittal. Does prejudice motivate one juror? They review the testimony of the eyewitness. Note how some jurors see things the others have missed. Do people wear eyeglasses to bed? There is now a reasonable doubt for some. And so the jury reaches a verdict. [Note how a person's background and emotion affect how they view events.]

    You can contrast this drama to your own experience. It wasn't that dramatic. This film can serve as a tutorial: jurors discuss the testimony and apply reason and common sense. The most common cause for wrongful conviction is still faulty eyewitness identification. This was known in the late 19th century.
    ...more info
  • 1 Angry Viewer
    12 Angry Men is a courtroom drama that was made before they had color films and is very, very irritating to watch. It's a courtroom drama about twelve jurypeople deliberating on a really important case but like a lot of old movies, it really doesn't hold up after all these years.

    If you like courtroom dramas, and I'm not a big fan quite frankly, you will not enjoy this movie. Remember in A Few Good Men when Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise were yelling at each other and you were on the edge of your seat? Well, get ready for none of that. Instead be prepared to be bored for 12 angry hours while people talk and talk and talk and nothing happens!

    Movies are a visual medium for a reason. If you're going to do a movie about a court case, you should actually show the crime like on Law & Order. This movie would have been much smarter to follow their example and do the first half as the crime on the streets, and then the second half be an exciting courtroom drama.

    Gee, do I really get to watch twelve dudes sitting around talking and making choices and opinions for two hours? Sign me up! I'm being sarcastic, if you can't tell. Because I don't want to watch a movie where twelve dudes sit around talking and making choices and opinions for two hours.

    And I don't want to hear excuses like "oh, it's a classic, because it was made in the old days when they made boring movies like this." Guess what? It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was made back in the 1940s too, and it's hilarious!

    All in all this is a good movie if you have sleep apnea or children that enjoy this type of thing. ...more info
  • Less is More
    No film ever ever made has told a more in depth story with so little attention to anything beyond the bare necessities and managed to pull off anything of this caliber. This little film easily ranks up there with the best of all of them, including Casablanca -- and this comes from somebody who really loves the film Casablanca. And yet, the entire film, save for a few short seconds of the very beginning and end, takes place in a small stuffy little room filled with 12 people -- 11 of which don't want to be there. And there lies our movie.

    When there are less components in a given whole, it is more important for each component to do its job well. This film really only has three components, the script, the cast, and the direction. The reason this is such a good film is because all three are superb, with the cast arguably being the strongest. Most of the people in this movie are people you have seen before and will recognize -- Lee J. Cobb, Jack Warden, E.G. Marshall, and Jack Klugman are some of the more familiars faces. Most notably however is Henry Fonda in the leading role. He is the one man willing to stand against the tide. While he played many good roles in his life, this one has to rank near the top. Its hard to believe that this is the same guy who played the grumpy old codger in "On Golden Pond", or even the frustrated Tom Joad in "Grapes of Wrath". Fonda's performance is as cool as his character -- whose every argument is a case study in logic and reason.

    The rest of the cast, along with the claustrophobic setting, bring to mind Hitchcock. Each member has a distinct personality and offers a different perspective on society -- A businessman, a salesman, an immigrant, an elderly gentleman, a man from a poor background, a bigot, and a few men from various working class jobs. As different as each one is however, they all agree for one reason or another that the kid on trial is guilty and they all want to go home. When Fonda's character, a remarkably stoic and clear thinking architect, starts engaging the other jurors, both collectively and individually, things get tight.

    As the title states, this movie is about twelve men who get angry. And over the course of the film all of them do, some frequently. Even the cool headed Fonda has a few short but dignified outbursts. This movie clearly illustrates the fact that nothing can blow another person's stack like a compelling argument. And this is where direction gets showcased. There are no wasted scened or lines in this film. Every camera angle is perfect. I particularly like the shot of Henry Fonda sticking the knife into the table. It personifies the entire film in a single shot -- very simple but effective. It is moments like these that crescendo as jurors start defecting one by one offer to Fonda's side.

    There is sort of an equilibrium that seems to take place. As there become fewer jurors holding onto their guilty votes their anger increases, particularly Lee J Cobb's. Although personally of all the jurors that hold on the longest to their guilty vote I like E.G. Marshall the best. He is almost the alter ego to Fonda. He is a cool calculating person who will not let go of his reasons until he has a compelling argument to force him to do so. He also holds no loyalty to other jurors because their votes happen to agree with his. One is the best lines in the movie comes just after Lee J Cobb complains about Fonda baited him into an argument. Marshall doesn't even look at him. He simply turns away and remarks, "he did an excellent job."

    As far as the DVD itself is concerned, this is an excellent representation of a classic B&W film that has been nicely restored. This film probably did not look this good when it was first released. There are no extras to speak of on this disc -- just a clean transfer of the movie. Ordinarily this would warrant the loss of a star. In this case however, is seems to fit very nicely with the "Less is More" theme. Like the movie itself, it is all that this disk requires....more info
  • Still Great After All These Years
    Teenagers today are supposed to refuse to watch black and white, and to sniff at anything more than 15 minutes old. Several people told me to get the remake of this instead of the original, but when I showed it to 95 undergraduates they were completely spellbound (that means quiet) and active in discussion afterwards. It may be old, and outdated in parts (unlikely that a juror would sneak a switchblade into the jury room; unlikely that a jury would be 12 white men) but so what? This is one of those films where every part is perfectly cast and acted. I was a little confused for a bit by Amazon's listing as Martin Balsam as the lead actor (he plays a relatively secondary role), but evidently they do this in alphabetical order. Henry Fonda, of course, is the key actor here.
    If you have a use for it, there is a very nice 15 minute intro to the film included with a couple of noted talking head legal types (Robert Shapiro, Gloria Allred) explaining the fine points and what would not happen today. ...more info
  • 12 Angry Men DVD
    Distributor was great; received the DVD in quicker than expected. The DVD itself is wonderful, with a nice bonus documentary about the making of 12 Angry Men....more info
  • Twelve Awesome Men!
    I bought this film for my classroom after reading the screenplay. The moving deliberation allows students an inside look at serving on a jury. The chaotic and racially charged environment that the twelve men develop throughout the deliberation process sheds light on key jury vocabulary such as reasonable doubt, premeditated homicide, and hung jury. Although the film is in black and white, and some of the lines and characters have been slightly changed, this is a great adaptation of Reginald Rose's masterpiece. ...more info
  • not quite as good as I once thought it was
    Too bad the Henry Fonda character doesn't do a one-eighty at the end. Now, that might have made us sit up and take real notice....more info
  • Communication 101
    What a simple, but effective, message this movie communicates. That is, "stop, think, listen, then decide".....more info
  • Great Thrill without any Action
    Twelve Angry Men is the basic formula for thrills which happen in one single room.Twelve Guys are thrown together to find the guilt of a young boy in a murder trial.All Actors deliver performances that will live forever.The duel (acting) between Henry Fonda and Lee J.Cobb is acting first rate.The film itself is more accurate to problems of our time than all the new movies would like to sell.The new tranfer is astounding with a very informative commentary and the specials tell more about this classic and its role today.Highly Recommended.
    ...more info
  • Not to be Repeated
    As I find myself now going for years without going to the movies, at times I have asked myself whether I've just lost enthusiasm for them, or perhaps it's just middle age.

    No! We don't have this quality of film come to screen often anymore, being too worried about someone's virginity or frat-boy antics, or cheap horror.

    As a prior reviewer so aptly stated, there isn't much required in the way of complication to make a great, classic movie. However, one must start with a great screenplay; this is sorely lacking now. Twelve Angry Men is a great example of how little is required when the right ingredients are there. I think there were maybe 4 sets, one of which was outside steps. The main set, the jury room, hosted almost all the movie, along with a small bathroom. The talents of the actors, and their mating with their parts, is in perfect balance. All are appropriate, all are superb.

    Of course, time has marched on since this movie was released. The Rushes and Seans out there would condemn it with that hated word, 'liberal', but that's all right, too. Decency, which Fonda radiates in this part, always comes out on top. Yet another film shot in the twilight of black and white cinematography, and as master example at that. ...more info
  • A Truly Brilliant Film, Extras Could Be Better
    Take 12 great actors, a brilliant script, and basically 1 room. Shoot it in black and white on a $300,000 budget in 20 days, and you have one of the greatest films ever made. Half a century later, this movie stands up as good storytelling without the benefit of special effects, explosions, or a top-40 soundtrack.

    I do wish the 50th anniversary DVD had more extras. It rightly should include the trailer that was on previous DVDs. The "courtroom" bonus video is pretty fluffy and actually has very little to do with the movie. But the "making of" bonus video is quite good and features interview footage of director Sidney Lumet and actor Jack Klugman. The feature-length commentary is informative, though I think the lack of a director commentary is a missed opportunity.

    The DVD is a must-buy for classic film fans. Also a good choice for anyone interested in film in general....more info
  • If We're Going To Put a Man to Death at Least Talk About It
    Some years ago "National Review" named "12 Angry Men" as the greatest liberal film of all time and they didn't mean it as a backhanded compliment. Just recently in a mini-review in "Entertainment Weekly" this landmark film was labeled as a liberal treatise. As a self respecting Republican I don't get it. Don't we all, as citizens of America, respect the rule of law, the presumption of innocence, and guilt or innocence by reasonable doubt regardless of party or ideological affiliation? I've always respected "12 Angry Men" and after serving as a juror on an intense trial some years ago my admiration for director Sidney Lumet's directorial debut only grows. The film's structure is very basic. It's virtually entirely set in a steamy jury room where 12 thoughtful individuals are asked to mete out what they perceive as justice. There's a lone holdout for acquittal who makes it his duty not to acquiese to the other eleven but to convince them that a reasonable doubt exists. Each man brings personal experience and bias in forming their opinions instead of deliberating on the facts of the case. As the film progresses these prejudices are stripped away so that a reality may emerge. The cast here as a whole is uniformly excellent though I have a slight problem with Henry Fonda's jury room crusader as being a bit pious. But on reflection that piety may be necessary to move the drama along. "12 Angry Men" is a film that will never date because it's perception of law and morality is a civics lesson that should never be forgotten. ...more info
  • Excellent
    Very thought provoking screen play. Jack Klugman is very young, and very good. Henry Fonda plays a character whose personality is much of 'Mr. Roberts'. Except for a couple of minutes, the entire setting of the movie is in a single room. ...more info
  • Good... Not Great
    If you want to see a movie that frames social injustice, and leaves you feeling like there is still hope for humanity, then watch The Power of One, Hotel Rwanda or Driving Miss Daisy. 12 Angry men is dated and does not live up to today's standards....more info
  • Nuestra falibilidad al desnudo y la importancia de la fuerza de c¨¢r¨¢cter.
    Aunque es la versi¨®n m¨¢s antigua de este cl¨¢sico, sorprende por la claridad de su estructura, el ritmo sin respiro que se da a la historia. Es preocupante observar que tan falibles somos las personas cuando evaluamos a otros. Especialmente en situaciones como un juicio criminal. A diferencia de las especificaciones t¨¦cnicas, tiene SUBTITULOS EN ESPA?OL. Pienso usarlo en mi cursos de capacitaci¨®n de toma de decisiones para ejecutivos. Para mis objetivos es un 5 estrellas. Como pel¨ªcula, le dar¨ªa 4 pues falta algo de emoci¨®n. Quiz¨¢s porque ya conoc¨ªa la historia. ...more info
  • Exellent drama, excellent civics lesson, excellent for kids.
    Twelve Angry Men succeeds on a number of levels. First, it serves as an excellent lesson in civics. In particular, it illustrates the application of the Seventh Amendment, a component of the Bill of Rights (see below).

    Seventh Amendment. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

    Twelve Angry Men also can be used to illustrate an application of Right number nine, in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, the document that served as the basis for the French Revolution (see below).

    Right Number Nine. As all persons are held innocent until they shall have been declared guilty, if arrest shall be deemed indispensable, all harshness not essential to the securing of the prisoner's person shall be severely repressed by law.

    During the story, Henry Fonda repeatedly emphasizes that the correct standard of guilt, for use in a criminal trial, is the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. In fact, the main focus of Twelve Angry Men is on Henry Fonda's burden of persuading the other jurors that they should be applying this standard, and not, for example, the less stringent standard of guilt that us used during civil court cases. Again, the film provides an excellent civics lesson, for those interested in how to apply the "burden of proof."

    Furthermore, the story is good for children (ten and up) in that the plot follows a predictable path. One by one by one, each of the jurors explains why he believes that the suspect, a boy, should be found guilty of murder. And one by one by one, each of the jurors is persuaded, by a parade of evidence, that the boy is innocent. The parade of evidence includes the character of the switchblade thrust, the elevated train that drowns out the scream, the slow velocity of an elderly walking witness, and the pinched nose that demonstrated that a key witness needed glasses and couldn't see well, especially when rising from bed in the middle of the night. The plot is easy to follow for most kids who are ten or older. The story plods along with great delibration, just like the little engine that could, who cried out, "I think I can, I think I can." The story is also good for kids in that there are no bad words. Despite the fact that the story is about "anger," especially Lee J. Cobb's anger and Ed Begley's anger, the dreaded "F word" does not even make a cameo appearance.

    The story also succeeds on a dramatic level. This is an ensemble piece, similar to John Hughes' The Breakfast Club. We are introduced to twelve different personalities. Lee J. Cobb's personality is ferocious, while Jack Warden's personality is goofy. Jack Warden wears a striped hat and coat, and his mind is not much on the trial, but more on the baseball ticket that is "burning a hole in his pocket." Robert Webber, an advertising man, also provides provides goofy comic relief. Ed Begley is the archetypical bigot, shamelessly spouting stereotypic rantings typical of any bigoted fanatic. John Fiedler also provides variety, as he has a whispy high voice, similar to that of Sterling Holloway. Both John Fiedler and Sterling Holloway have served as the voices of Winnie the Pooh, in the Disney movies. The thunderstorm, which makes its appearance at the halfway point, also contributes to the drama. Viewers will also be glad to see Jack Klugman, a familiar face from several Twilight Zone episodes. Jack Klugman, a former child of the urban ghetto, provides the insight that the alleged murder weapon, a switchblade, could not have been used by the accused, because of the fact that the wound was from a downwards thrust, whereas switchblades were designed to be used mainly for upward-moving thrusts.

    The story also serves as a good illustration of theater techniques. For example, we see the technique of symbolism, where Henry Fonda is dressed in white. We also see another theatrical technique, in a scene where most of the jurors stand up in unison and turn their backs to a juror who harbors an unpopular view. Certainly, this strange mannerism would never appear in real life. It is a theatrical technique that symbolizes the fact that most of the jurors disagree with the one man.

    The story has a surprise ending, wherein Lee J. Cobb's motivation for cherishing his guilty finding is revealed, and when Lee J. Cobb comes to terms with his own motivation, and where he changes his mind to not guilty. FIVE STARS.

    If you truly admire TWELVE ANGRY MEN (which I do), then I might recommend seeking the corresponding episode in the television series of THE DEAD ZONE. TWELVE ANGRY MEN was re-scripted, somewhat, for this sci-fi television program. Anthony Michael Hall plays the Henry Fonda role. One might remember Anthony Michael Hall for his role of the geek, in SIXTEEN CANDLES. Before seeking the episode of DEAD ZONE, it might help first, to see the original movie, THE DEAD ZONE, starring Christopher Walken.
    ...more info
  • 12 Angry Men
    Fantastic movie. I used it in my classroom to demonstrate the import role a jury plays....more info
  • NO ACTION REQUIRED: GREAT DIALOGUE COMING OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF GREAT ACTORS MAKES THIS ONE POWERFUL FILM
    Twelve Angry Men was groundbreaking drama when it appeared on CBS's Studio One in 1954. The script, by television writer Reginald Rose (The Defenders), features an all-male ensemble cast in which the characters are nameless jury members in a murder trial. A teenage boy has been accused of knifing his father, and the evidence includes the body, the boy's knife and several witnesses.

    The film rights were bought by Henry Fonda, who co-produced the film with Rose in 1957. It was directed by Sidney Lumet and it was his first film. Previously, he had directed television dramas. He went on to direct some very famous films, including Serpico, Murder On The Orient Express, Network, Dog Day Afternoon and The Verdict.

    When the 12 Angry Men begins, the jury is filing into the jury room to consider their verdict. The camera angle is wide and high, creating a sense of space. But as the drama progresses, it tightens to a long, low lens. Lumet says he did this to create a sense of claustrophobia.

    Only one member of the jury believes the boy on trial may be innocent (Henry Fonda). The others are totally convinced of his guilt. Over the course of the film, they debate the evidence and, one-by-one, change their minds. How that happens is what makes this such a remarkable film, and one of the true gems of screenwriting.

    The cast is practically a Who's Who of character actors, including Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Lee J. Cobb, E. G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Ed Binns, Jack Warden, Henry Fonda, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec and Robert Webber. Some of the performances - like Fonda, Cobb, Marshall, Klugman and Warden - are remarkable.

    The script is masterful, as it weaves the psyches of the twelve jurors into one taut drama. Even though the entire story takes place in a single room, and there is really no "action" per se, it is spellbinding to watch each man wrestle with his own conscience in light of his ever growing doubts over the evidence. It is pretty obvious where the film is heading: but how it gets there is what makes it so fascinating.

    12 Angry Men should be required viewing for every man, woman and child in America because it shows our legal system in action better than anything I've ever seen. It is a story about how easy it is to presume someone's guilt based on prejudice, anger or circumstantial evidence. The power of questions - and a reasonable doubt - is all it takes to turn a jury dead set against a defendant totally around.

    The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay Oscars, and won the Writers Guild of America Award, among others.

    Waitsel Smith...more info
  • One Happy Man
    This is one of my favorite movies . The cast of characters is outstanding , and the acting and direction are of the finest caliber. Amazing, too, that virtually the entire movie was filmed inside of the jury room. It also serves as an instructional tool, to illustrate human nature, and what I like to call 'group think', where people tend to find comfort in 'numbers', being in the majority, and how difficult it is to stand by your principles when you believe you are right, even though you may be in the minority. For anyone interested in studying dramatic acting, this is a textbook classic. 12 Angry Men....more info
  • Classic
    This isone of the classic trial drama although there is no action in the courtroom but in the jury room.
    Rhe plot is about a case that seems to be quite simple and the jurors are ready to pronounce the guilty verdict. However there is one juror that has his doubts and the drama begins. There are twelve all male characters that are very different to each other and they try to come to a common agreement/verdict. The atmopsphere and staging is magnificent and you feel the humidity and the tension created in the jury room. All the actors contibute to the creation of this and the result is a nail biter that will entertain the viewer.
    Enjoy it. ...more info
  • A True Classic
    When I was in school, we did part of this movie in a speech class. Then I saw the movie on tv and loved it. I saw they had the movie on a DVD and had to get it for my collection. After serving on a jury trial, I can really see this movie happening....more info