Twelve Angry Men

Sidney Lumet's feature debut is a brilliant courtroom drama about one man (Henry Fonda in top form), who tries to convince eleven other jurors that their hasty conviction of a boy on trial should be reconsidered. The formidable cast includes many character-stars to be: Jack Warden, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, and Martin Balsam.

The first motion picture directed by Lumet (United Artists, l957), an adaptation of Reginald Rose's play that Lumet had first directed on TV. It is the story of a murder-trial jury that is balked in its rush to condemnation by a lone dissenter, a thoughtful man of conscience (played by Henry Fonda), who wins the other eleven jurors over, one by one, to a judgment of not guilty.

Critics noted that Lumet successfully flouted some sacred cinematic rules in the film, notably the one demanding constant and varied camera movement. By keeping his cameras focused on and around the jury table, he conveyed not monotony but the authentic atmosphere of the jury room. Critics were unanimous in their praise of the film.