The cast includes Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, John Fiedler, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Ed Binns, Martin Balsam, Jack Klugman, George Voskovec, Robert Webber, and Joseph Sweeney.
Reginald Rose's screenplay for 12 Angry Men was initially produced for television, and was broadcast on the CBS program Studio One in 1954. A complete kinescope of that performance, which had been missing for years and feared lost, was finally discovered in 2003. At the beginning of the film, the cameras are positioned above eye level and mounted with wide-angle lenses to give the appearance of greater depth between subjects, but as the film progresses the focal length of the lenses is gradually increased. By the end of the film, nearly everyone is shown in close-up using telephoto lenses from a lower angle, which decreases or shortens depth of field.
On its first release, 12 Angry Men received critical commendation. A. H. Weiler of The New York Times wrote "It makes for taut, absorbing, and compelling drama that reaches far beyond the close confines of its jury room setting." It was not a popular success: the advent of color and widescreen productions resulted in the film receiving a disappointing box office performance. Today, the film is viewed as a classic and is highly regarded from both a critical and popular viewpoint: Roger Ebert lists it as one of his Great Movies, and it has been consistently ranked in the top 14 of the Internet Movie Database Top 250 List. It also has a 97% rating on both critics and users polls at the site Rotten Tomatoes. The American Film Institute named 12 Angry Men the 42nd most inspiring film, and recently, named it the 87th best film of the past hundred years.
The film was nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Best Director, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. In all of these categories, the film was eclipsed by The Bridge on the River Kwai, which won seven Academy Awards that year. At the Berlin International Film Festival, the film won the Golden Bear Award.
Remake and other adaptations:
Film and TV:
12 Angry Men was remade for television in 1997. It was directed by William Friedkin, the remake stars George C. Scott, James Gandolfini, Tony Danza, William Petersen, Ossie Davis, Hume Cronyn, Courtney B. Vance, and Jack Lemmon. In this production, the judge is a woman and four of the jurors are African American. Most of the action and dialogue of the film is identical to the original.
The screenplay has been published, and Rose wrote several stage adaptations of the story. In 1964 Leo Genn appeared in the play on the London stage. In other theatrical adaptations in which female actors are cast the play is re-titled 12 Angry Jurors. In 2004, the Roundabout Theatre Company presented a Broadway production of the play, starring Boyd Gaines as a more argumentative Juror No. 8, with James Rebhorn, Philip Bosco, and Robert Prosky as the voice of the judge. In 2007, 12 Angry Men ran on a national theater tour with Richard Thomas and George Wendt starring as Jurors No. 8 and No. 1, respectively.
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