12 Angry Men (1957)

A film set almost exclusively in one room, with a group of older men talking is one of the most entertaining, enduring, and popular classic films of any era. 12 Angry Men is a great film. I honestly don’t know anyone who doesn’t respond to it, and I’m including a large number of people who have a self-diagnosed aversion to black-and-white films. When one juror (played by Henry Fonda) faces down and slowly wins over his eleven peers who start off dead set against him, we see the effects of mob mentality as courage, honor, and bigotry play out over a hot New York day. In this, my favorite scene, character actor, Ed Begley, playing juror number 10. One of the few remaining stalwarts opposing Henry Fonda and a verdict of not guilty, juror number 10 finally reveals his character by going on a long, hateful rant about kids from the slums. The other eleven jurors respond in what becomes a powerful scene. Stagey, yes, but poignant.

-Walter Howard-

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