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12 Angry Men [DVD] [1957]


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Product details

  • Actors: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, E.G. Marshall
  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Writers: Reginald Rose
  • Producers: Henry Fonda, George Justin, Reginald Rose
  • Format: PAL, Black & White, Mono
  • Language: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English, German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 19 Mar. 2001
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059L83
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,587 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Adapted from Reginald Rose's television play, this film marked the directing debut of Sidney Lumet. At the end of a murder trial in New York City, the twelve jurors retire to consider the verdict. The man in the dock is a young Puerto Rican accused of killing his father, and eleven of the twelve jurors do not hesitate in finding him guilty. However, one of the jurors (Henry Fonda), reluctant to send the youngster to his death without any debate, returns a vote of not guilty. From this single event, the jurors begin to re-evaluate the case, as they look at the murder - and themselves - in a fresh light.

From Amazon.co.uk

Sidney Lumet's directorial debut Twelve Angry Men remains a tense, atmospheric (though slightly manipulative and stagey) courtroom thriller, in which the viewer never sees a trial and the only action is verbal. As he does in his later corruption commentaries such as Serpico or Q & A, Lumet focuses on the lonely one-man battles of a protagonist whose ethics alienate him from the rest of jaded society. As the film opens, the seemingly open-and-shut trial of a young Puerto Rican accused of murdering his father with a knife has just concluded and the 12-man jury retires to their microscopic, sweltering quarters to decide the verdict. When the votes are counted, 11 men rule guilty, while one--played by Henry Fonda, again typecast as another liberal, truth-seeking hero--doubts the obvious. Stressing the idea of "reasonable doubt", Fonda slowly chips away at the jury, who represent a microcosm of white, male society--exposing the prejudices and preconceptions that directly influence the other jurors' snap judgments. The tight script by Reginald Rose (based on his own teleplay) presents each juror vividly using detailed soliloquies, all which are expertly performed by the film's flawless cast. Still, it's Lumet's claustrophobic direction--all sweaty close-ups and cramped compositions within a one-room setting--that really transforms this contrived story into an explosive and compelling nail-biter. --Dave McCoy, Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Reg Superman on 17 Aug. 2006
Format: VHS Tape
Produced by Henry Fonda and Reginald Rose (screenwriter and the author of the original play) and directed by the great Sidney Lumet (in this his cinematic debut) this mainly jury room centred film, is quite simply the greatest film ever made. Lumet, who cut his teeth in television, brought a lot of unknown television acting talent with him to this unique piece of work. Seasoned film actors, Fonda, Lee J Cobb, Ed Begley, Robert Preston and E G Marshall dovetail seamlessly with the other players, among them Martin Balsam, Jack Warden, Jack Klugman and Edward Binns.

The plot is ridiculously simple. A young Hispanic man is on trial for murdering his father, and in what appears to the majority of the jury, an open and shut case of guilty.

One man, Henry Fonda, as juror number 8, stands alone as the dissenting voice against the prejudice and preconceived ideas of the other 11. Though bit by bit, the evidence is broken down and what initially appeared so certain becomes a reasonable doubt in enough of the jurors minds as to expose the bigoted notions of a couple of them.

The essence of this film is in it's refreshing simplicity in terms of staging, dialogue and delivery. The actors are all on top of their game, working with first class material. Other films rely on epic sets and or clever camera techniques to hold the audiences attention. (I discount Citizen Kane from that as it was a true landmark achievement) This film, above all others, proves that that is not necessary. Twelve Angry Men rewards the viewer even after the 30th watch (certainly in my case! I could play the parts myself, although not quite as good!). Simply the best!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By DAZIAN on 13 Jun. 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Blu Ray picture has a fine layer of grain, but is still better than my DVD version12 Angry Men [DVD] [1957].Also the picture fills the whole screen(DVD doesn't).Audio on BLU is better than the DVD version(using normal TV speakers). There are no extras or a menu.
Worth upgrading if you want the best picture/sound available for region/zone B players.
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. E. Hall on 2 Aug. 2006
Format: DVD
12 Angry Men is a forgotten classic. When talking about the greatest films of all time, it rarely comes up. Yet EVERY single person I have met who has seen the film has adored it.

In a movie world where big celebrities and expensive special effects seem to be what brings the money in, this film is so refreshing. In this film, there is only one star name - Henry Fonda. He plays one of only 14 speaking parts in movie. There are four sets: The courtroom (2 minutes at the start), outside the courthouse (30 seconds at the end), and then the bathroom and the jury room. No fancy effects, just 12 characters with nothing but a script in their heads to give to keep you entertained. This is how films can be done!

The plot is simple; a young boy is accused of murder. The case seems open and shut to 11 of the jurors who vote guilty. Only one (Fonda) is even unsure. When he wants to discuss further he is greeted by two bigots, desperate to put 'one of them' to the chair, a man who is only interested in going to watch his beloved Yankees and cares little for the outcome and a host of weary men, who are sick of the whole situation; very few are even prepared to listen. For the next two hours, every fact of the case is ironed out until what was black and white becomes very grey.

12 Angry Men is one of the finest films I have ever seen. Sidney Lumet's directing captures the stuffy, intense and claustrophobic atmosphere of the room while all the actors make their characters memorable. This film is a dream.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mark S. Hargrave on 4 July 2000
Format: VHS Tape
One of the best films I've ever seen. It captures the mood of both the time and the situation brilliantly. Fonda is superb but each of the actors deserves credit, including a young Jack Klugman (Quincy). Having seen the film many times with my wife, we know exactly what's coming next, but this never detracts from our viewing, indeed it suits to enhance it. Altogether, a joy to watch and an excellent example of people maintaining their values at all costs. If only all youngsters from today could look - they would only learn from it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 11 Feb. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
We are all used to courtroom dramas, but one aspect that never seems to get dramatised is the Jury deliberations. I think one of the reasons for this lack is that this excellent film did it so well that no other Jury drama will ever stand up to it.

We are never shown the court case the jury are deliberating. The film starts with the summing up of the Judge, and the jury filing into their room. What follows is an adsorbing ninety minutes as the jurors discuss the case and a verdict is reached. At first all but one (Henry Fonda) believes the defendant to be guilty, but Fonda has reasonable doubt, and a belief that as a man's life is at stake then the least they can do is talk it through properly.

Having served in a jury myself (though in a British court and where the possible penalty for the defendant was a lot less severe than death) I recognised a lot of what was shown in this film. People willing to convict out of blind prejudice, people wishing to weigh every item of evidence before reaching a verdict, people wanting to just get it over with as quickly as possible. It is a tale that really struck a chord with me.

For dramatic purposes some of the prejudices and arguments are a bit over the top, and as we have not seen the trial then the writer is free to introduce evidence and arguments out of thin air (the point about the glasses in the discussion of one witnesses testimony) in order to make a neat narrative. I can forgive these points. What I cannot, however, forgive is the lack of attention to legal detail. There are one or two instances, especially in the first discussion of the murder weapon, that are just plain illegal and would cause a juror to be dismissed. I have had to knock a star of for that.
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