Study Guide

12 Angry Men Director

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Producers Henry Fonda and Reginald Rose might never have gone on to produce another movie, but first-time director Sidney Lumet sure did. After getting his first crack at a feature film with 12 Angry Men, Lumet would go on to direct classic films like Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Network (1976), and The Verdict (1982). During his life, he directed over 50 movies, eventually receiving an Honorary Academy Award and getting nominations for 14 of his films.

Throughout 12 Angry Men, you might notice some really interesting decisions that Lumet decided to make in his directing debut. For starters, the movie opens with lots of wide-angle shots that show us the entire jury room. But if you look closely, you'll see that the camera slowly gets tighter and tighter on individual actors as the movie goes on. We don't even realize it consciously, but Lumet is making us feel more confined as the sweaty jurors get angrier and more desperate. This is just one of the many reasons why 12 Angry Men is considered one of the great all-time movies and Lumet one of the great all-time directors.

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