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12 Angry Men (Criterion) (Blu-Ray)

4.9 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ed Begley, Henry Fonda, Jack Warden, Jack Klugman, E.G. Marshall
  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Format: Black & White, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Nov. 22 2011
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B005HK13P4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,955 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

12 Angry Men, by Sidney Lumet (Network), may be the most radical big-screen courtroom drama in cinema history. A behind-closed-doors look at the American legal system as riveting as it is spare, the iconic adaptation of Reginald Rose’s teleplay stars Henry Fonda (Young Mr. Lincoln) as the initially dissenting foreman on a jury of white men ready to pass judgment on a Puerto Rican teenager charged with murdering his father. What results is a saga of epic proportions that plays out in real time over ninety minutes in one sweltering room. Lumet’s electrifying snapshot of 1950s America on the verge of change is one of the great feature-film debuts.

• New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
• Frank Schaffner’s 1955 television version, with an introduction by Ron Simon, director of the Paley Center for Media Studies
• “12 Angry Men”: From Television to the Big Screen, a video essay by film scholar Vance Kapley comparing the Sidney Lumet and Schaffner versions
• Archival interviews with Lumet
• New interview about the director with writer Walter Bernstein
• New interview with Simon about television writer Reginald Rose
• New interview with cinematographer John Bailey in which he discusses cinematographer Boris Kaufman
• Tragedy in a Temporary Town (1956), a teleplay directed by Lumet and written by Rose
• Original theatrical trailer
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by writer and law professor Thane Rosenbaum

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Format: DVD
This is a courtroom drama with a difference. Apart from a very brief scene in the courtroom itself, the film takes place in the jury's deliberation room. The whole film revolves around the deliberations of a jury in a murder case in which a guilty verdict will lead to the death penalty for the accused. Initially it all seems very clear-cut with an all male jury having decided on a the young mans guilt before they have even sat down, all that is except for one man (Henry Fonda). Although he believes the accused may have possibly committed the murder, his values and ethics won't allow him to agree with his fellow jurors without thrashing out all of the evidence. Gradually he forces the other men to confront the evidence in front of them and to admit the situation is not as clear cut as it seemed. At the same time they are brought face to face with their own prejudices.

Filmed in black and white and shot almost entirely in one room, this film allows the viewer to concentrate entirely on the dialogue with nothing to distract from the story. It is a credit to the acting skills of the cast and to the direction of Sidney Lument (in his directorial debut) that the film remains gripping throughout. This is drama at its best and still one of the finest, if not the finest, courtroom dramas to be found.
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Format: VHS Tape
What can I possibly say about this masterpiece? It is surely one of the greatest movies, a work full of layers of meaning, of symbolism, of psychological and artistic subtleties. You can wach this movie an infinite number of times, because each time you discover something new. I would just like to bring up one often neglected point. For me, this movie shows the shift in acting styles after World War II - a shift towards more naturalistic approach close to "method" acting. Many of the younger members of the cast - such as Martin Balsam and Jack Klugman - seem to belong to this new school. Just watch such things as Klugman's slow reaction when it dawns on him that Cobb is yelling at him, or the foreman (Balsam) as he "gives up" and sulks in the corner. The movie is full of wonderful and telling details such as these. I also think that the style of this film bears some relation to Italian Neo-Realism of the 40's and 50's (eg. stark setting, realistic dialogue, and filming in "real time", including seemingly mundane actions). And has anybody noticed that this movie obeys the "unities" of classical Greek drama (of time, place, etc.)?
And to those cynics who think that this is a movie about a clever man who manages to convince eleven men that a guilty youth is innocent - think again. I have actually lain awake at night worrying that the young man probably is, after all, guilty! But for the purpose of the film it doesn't matter. This is not a whodunnit; it is about human character and human behavior, the law, how our backgrounds color our attitudes, and countless other themes. And of course it is a showcase for twelve SUPERB actors.
(But please, who wrote the text on the back of the video cover? "Eleven jurors are convinced that the defendant is guilty of murder. The twelfth has no doubt of his innocence." WHAT?!! Did this person even watch the movie?!)
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Format: DVD
It always pisses me off when people give The Matrix as a philosophical movie, when there are so many much more rich sources of artistic exploration. 12 Angry Men is one such example, a great movie about epistemology.
During an unseen trial, a young man of a negatively-seen ethnicity (which is never specified) is accused of the murder of his father. It is an "open and shut case", and all the jurors agree that he is guilty, except juror #8, played by Henry Fonda.
In 95 minutes, almost shot in real-time, we observe as the jurors' prejudices and emotions churn and crash in mighty waves, as each piece of evidence is examined and examined again, as every actor plays against the others. In the process, we witness an object-lesson in epistemology : what is doubt, what is evidence, how do we prove or disprove a proposition, and how people in groups act in group dynamics that sometimes are not conductive to the truth.
Politically speaking, 12 Angry Men is a testimony against juries and capital punishment, but that is not the point of the movie. It is a movie about how we judge events and how we filter the truth. And that's something that you won't get from any action movie.
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Format: Blu-ray
I felt the need to write my first review for this film. Every review, article and best of lists held this film in such high regard, but for some reason I kept saying to myself "how can a courtroom drama that takes place in one room hold my attention? How can it be as good as Alfred Hitchcock's Rope?" I should have been less skeptical because this is the finest courtroom film ever made in my opinion. My interest never swayed, nor did the flow of the film. I was engaged from start to finish. I'm a big fan of Akira Kurosawa's famous kidnapping film "High and Low" because of its intense acting, beautiful cinematography and perfect pacing. 12 Angry Men had that same beauty and it took place in one room (minus the bathroom... Fine one room and a half) I highly recommend this film for anyone who is even remotely interested or on the fence. Wonderful acting, great restoration and if you're a collector of old film you will love Criterion's blu-ray edition. They did an incredible job. Also, Henry Fonda kills it!
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