12 Angry Men (1957) is an American courtroom drama film directed by Sidney Lumet. It tells the story of a jury of 12 men as they deliberate the conviction or acquittal of a defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt, forcing the jurors to question their morals and values. In the United States, a verdict in most criminal trials by jury must be unanimous. The defendant is an 18-year-old male, and the witnesses are a lady across the street and an old man.
Peter Bogdanovic: How would you now describe picture making?
Sidney Lumet: I think it’s like making a mosaic. You take each little tile and polish and color it, and you just do the best you can on each little individual tile and it’s not until you’ve literally glued them all together that you know whether or not you’ve got something. Those of us who have had good work can admit the truth, which is: good work is an accident. That’s not being falsely modest, there’s a reason that the accidents are going to happen to some of us and will never happen to other people: we’ve got some sort of knowledge, or instinct, of how to prepare the ground for the accident to happen. Because some people work in a way that they shortcut any chance of the accident happening.1
- 1Peter Bogdanovich, Who the Devil Made It (New York: Ballantine, 1997.