12 Angry Men (MGM)
Sidney Lumet cut his teeth on TV dramas, the form in which 12 Angry Men first appeared, with a teleplay by Reginald Rose. The feature film version accumulates its power from the claustrophobia of the jury room where a dozen men argue about the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Lumet has at his disposal "Mr. All-American" in the person of Henry Fonda; as the soft-spoken juror on whom the entire case pivots, Fonda demonstrates his unerring instinct for genuine humility. The powerhouse cast includes Martin Balsam, Ed Begley, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, and Jack Warden.
EXTRAS: Historian commentary; retrospective featurettes.