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Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday's Top 5... Films From Sidney Lumet

A great American director, RIP

#5: The Verdict

A tight and intense drama about an alcoholic lawyer with a case he absolutely needs to win. The film was nominated for multiple Oscars (including Best Director) and features one of Paul Newman's very best performances.

#4: Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

This turned out to be Lumet's last film, but it showed that he was still at the very top of his game. Little seen when it came out in 2007, it's a great film that's worth tracking down on DVD.

#3: Dog Day Afternoon

In his best films Lumet brings a sense of timelessness to his subject matter. Here the story centers on how the drama created by media attention allows a bank robbery/hostage situation to swell out of control as it morphs from a life or death situation into a general entertainment.

#2: 12 Angry Men

It's the simplicity of this film that makes it so powerful. It's just twelve men in a room discussing the evidence in a murder trial. It is, without question, one of the best legal dramas ever committed to film.

#1: Network

A flawless film that seems more true with each year that passes. If this was the only film he ever made, Lumet still would have assured himself a place in the American film cannon.


The Taxi Driver said...

You've done a brave thing in limiting yourself to just 5 although it's hard to disagree with any of the 5 you picked.

BRENT said...

I've always liked Dog Day Afternoon. It is certainly one of the best film's to come out of the 70's. It is a film that is so palpable. You can feel the tension and I can never forget almost being able to smell the sweat on Pacino as things spiral out of control. Very engaging and a film you 'feel' rather than watch.

Norma Desmond said...

@Mike Lippert: Yeah, this could easily have been a top 10, even a top 15. He was a truly magnificent artist.

@Brent: Dog Day Afternoon is, indeed, one of the best films of the 1970s. I think Pacino's performance in this one is his best after the first two Godfather films.

Anonymous said...

I adore Paul Newman in The Verdict. I think it's one his best roles actually! The epitome of courtroom drama.