DVD Review: 12 Angry Men (50th Anniversary Edition)

You take 12 men from different walks of life, give them a tough decision to make and put them in a hot, stuffy room. This is a fairly simple recipe for fireworks.

And that is exactly what you get with 12 Angry Men. Henry Fonda leads a very talented cast in this legal thriller. Thriller might not be an accurate description; legal character drama is a little more accurate.

12 Angry Men tells the story of 12 jurors deliberating a first-degree murder case. A teenager has been accused of killing his father. If found guilty, the penalty would be death.

Simplicity is the key to this film. One set, little more than 12 actors and a very strong script.
This was Sidney Lumet’s directorial debut, but you would never guess it. He does a masterful job, giving us a tight, gripping character-driven drama that will hold your attention until the very end.

Aspiring directors should be made to watch this film so they can see that sometimes, simple is good.

For extras, we get a commentary track with USC professor Drew Casper. The track is fairly interesting, though from a scholarly perspective. Casual fans will likely not sit through it, but film buffs should enjoy it quite a bit.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: Making of 12 Angry Men clocks in at around 23 minutes. It gives us your basic look behind the making of the film. Included are comments from Lumet as well as actor Jack Klugman (Juror #5).

Inside the Jury Room is 15 minutes long and talks about the battle between accuracy and drama.

12 Angry Men is a great film. It is nice to see it get a decent release and this is certainly worth owning.

Order 12 Angry Men from Amazon.

Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.