“We may be trying to let a guilty man go free, I don’t know. Nobody really can. But we have a reasonable doubt, and that’s something that’s very valuable in our system. No jury can declare a man guilty unless it’s sure.”
There are some movies that nearly everyone would enjoy, and there are some movies that nearly everyone needs to see at some point in their lives. 12 Angry Men is universally loved (it’s one of the few films to achieve a 100% rating on movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes), but it’s also one I think everyone needs to see. The movie is not only an excellent drama; it’s also an excellent primer on the American judicial system, and a great parable for justice and prejudice in the modern world. Directed by Sidney Lumet (Dog Day Afternoon, Network), this relatively simple movie is absolutely flawless and earns its place as one of the best films ever made.
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“Only by interrogating the other passengers could I hope to see the light. But when I began to question them, the light, as Macbeth would have said, thickened.”
A good mystery is not obvious, but neither is it impenetrable: it will give you all of the pieces of the puzzle in a jumbled mess, and then one of the characters will put them together. Most mystery movies fail on some level—they are either too obvious or, to get around this, will withhold key pieces of information until the end. Murder on the Orient Express (1974) is a true mystery, and it’s a good one. Directed by Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon) and starring Albert Finney and an all-star cast, this is a movie that won’t necessarily thrill you, but it will delight you as the pieces come together and the complex picture is revealed.
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