Wednesday, March 28, 2012
12 Angry Men
12 Angry Men (50th Anniversary Edition)
#87 on the 2007 AFI list of 100 Best American Films
12 Angry Men is a 1957 American drama film adapted from a teleplay of the same name by Reginald Rose. Directed by Sidney Lumet, the film tells the story of a jury made up of 12 men as they deliberate the guilt or acquittal of a defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt. In the United States (both then and now), the verdict in most criminal trials by jury must be unanimous one way or the other. The film is notable for its almost exclusive use of one set: with the exception of the film's opening, which begins outside on the steps of the courthouse and ends with the jury's final instructions before retiring, a brief final scene on the courthouse steps and two short scenes in an adjoining washroom, the entire movie takes place in the jury room. The total time spent outside of the jury room is three minutes out of the full 96 minutes of the movie.
12 Angry Men explores many techniques of consensus-building, and the difficulties encountered in the process, among a group of men whose range of personalities adds intensity and conflict. Apart from two of the jurors swapping names while leaving the courthouse, no names are used in the film: the defendant is referred to as "the boy" and the witnesses as the "old man" and "the lady across the street".
In 2007, 12 Angry Men was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Lee J. Cobb