Sidney Lumet is a name synonymous with filmmaking. His contributions to cinema are unparalleled, with a career spanning over 50 years. While he is most well-known for his directorial debut, ‘12 Angry Men,’ Lumet has extensive filmography that showcases his talent and versatility as a filmmaker. Let’s take a look at Lumet’s five best movies that prove he is more than ’12 Angry Men.’
Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)
Lumet’s final movie before his death in 2011, ‘Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,’ is a dark and twisted tale of two brothers who plan a heist that goes horribly wrong. The movie is a haunting meditation on family, greed, and the consequences of our actions. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke deliver outstanding performances as the two brothers, and Lumet’s direction is as sharp as ever. ‘Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead’ is a fitting swan song for Lumet and a testament to his talent as a filmmaker.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
‘Dog Day Afternoon’ is based on a true story and follows Sonny Wortzik, played by Al Pacino, a man who robs a bank to pay for his lover’s sex-change operation. The movie takes place over the course of a single day and is a masterclass in suspenseful filmmaking. Lumet captures the tension and desperation of the situation brilliantly, and Pacino gives one of his finest performances as the troubled Sonny. ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ is a gripping thriller that showcases Lumet’s ability to create a compelling narrative.
The Verdict (1982)
Starring Paul Newman, ‘The Verdict’ is a legal drama that follows a down-on-his-luck lawyer who takes on a medical malpractice case that could make or break his career. The movie is a slow burn, building tension and suspense as the case unfolds. Newman gives a powerhouse performance as the lawyer, and Lumet’s direction is precise and unflinching. ‘The Verdict’ is a thought-provoking movie that asks difficult questions about the nature of justice and the legal system.
Based on the true story of Frank Serpico, ‘Serpico’ stars Al Pacino as the titular character, a New York City police officer who goes undercover to expose corruption within the police department. The movie is a gritty and realistic portrayal of the life of a police officer and the challenges they face. Pacino’s performance is outstanding, and Lumet’s direction brings the story to life with authenticity and nuance. ‘Serpico’ is a must-see for fans of crime dramas and is one of Lumet’s finest works.
Lumet’s ‘Network’ is a scathing satire on the media and the corrupt world of television. The movie follows Howard Beale, played by Peter Finch, a TV news anchor who becomes unhinged after being fired from his job. He then starts ranting on air, which results in a spike in the ratings. The network capitalizes on this and creates a show around him, with disastrous consequences. ‘Network’ is a biting commentary on the state of television and the power of the media. The movie won four Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Finch, and remains a classic today.
Sidney Lumet was much more than ‘12 Angry Men.’ His filmography is a testament to his versatility as a filmmaker and his ability to tackle complex themes with nuance and sensitivity. The five movies listed above are just a few examples of Lumet’s work, and they showcase his talent and influence on modern cinema.