Things are gonna get explosive.
No one plays nice in this crackling film noir, which pits a pack of desperate men against each other as they plot a bank robbery.
Adding a twist to the already-shady happenings is a racial angle, as lip-curling punk Robert Ryan clashes with Harry Belafonte’s debt-riddled gambler.
The former hates the latter merely for being Black, which brings an extra edge to their often bitter verbal exchanges.
Directed by Robert Wise, who immediately followed this up with West Side Story, this one, complete with a fiery finale, hits like a fist to the face.
It’s not the kind of job you leave half-finished.
But the dumb cowpokes who string up Clint Eastwood fail to dot their I’s and cross their T’s — or at least properly tighten the rope — and come to regret it.
Mistakenly marked as a cattle rustler, he returns the favor, all guns blazing, in this American answer to the success of spaghetti westerns.
Eastwood’s dead man walking snaps on a badge, but, even as a card-carrying member of the law, is prone to delivering frontier-style justice in the form of a swiftly-propelled bullet or two.
Would we expect any less?
One man against the world.
It sure feels that way for Henry Fonda, as the lone juror holding out for innocence as a young man is railroaded for murder in Sidney Lumet’s crackling verbal thriller.
The action goes down in the jury room, as a band of middle-aged dudes decide the fate of an (unseen) 18-year-old, accused of knifing his father.
The cast is jam-packed with name actors, and all get their moment to shine.
None more so than Lee J. Cobb and Ed Begley, Sr. as the “villains,” and Fonda, one righteous man standing firm for truth and justice.