Sidney Arthur Lumet (/luːˈmɛt/ loo-MET; June 25, 1924 – April 9, 2011) was an American director, producer, and screenwriter with over 50 films to his credit. He was nominated five times for the Academy Award: four for Best Director for 12 Angry Men (1957), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Network (1976), and The Verdict (1982) and one for Best Adapted Screenplay for Prince of the City (1981). He did not win an individual Academy Award, but did receive an Academy Honorary Award, and 14 of his films were nominated for Oscars, including Network, which was nominated for ten and won four.
According to The Encyclopedia of Hollywood Lumet was one of the most prolific filmmakers of the modern era, directing more than one movie a year on average since his directorial debut in 1957. Turner Classic Movies notes his "strong direction of actors", "vigorous storytelling" and the "social realism" in his best work. Film critic Roger Ebert described him as "one of the finest craftsmen and warmest humanitarians among all film directors." Lumet was also known as an "actor's director," having worked with the best of them during his career, probably more than "any other director." Sean Connery, who acted in five of his films, considered him one of his favorite directors, and one who had that "vision thing."
A member of the maiden cohort of New York's Actors Studio, Lumet began his directorial career in Off-Broadway productions, then became a highly efficient TV director. His first movie, 12 Angry Men (1957), was a courtroom drama centered on a tense jury deliberation. Lumet subsequently divided his energies among political and social drama films, as well as adaptations of literary plays and novels, big stylish stories, New York-based black comedies, and realistic crime dramas, including Serpico and Prince of the City. As a result of directing 12 Angry Men, he was also responsible for leading the first wave of directors who made a successful transition from TV to movies.
In 2005 Lumet received an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement for his "brilliant services to screenwriters, performers, and the art of the motion picture." Two years later he concluded his career with the acclaimed drama Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007). A few months after Lumet's death in April 2011, a retrospective celebration of his work was held at New York's Lincoln Center with numerous speakers and film stars. In 2015 Nancy Buirski directed By Sidney Lumet, a documentary about his career, and in January 2017 PBS devoted its American Masters series to Lumet's life as a director.
Lumet at 2007 Toronto International Film Festival
Sidney Arthur Lumet
June 25, 1924
|Died||April 9, 2011 (aged 86)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Resting place||Beth David Cemetery|
Elmont, New York, U.S.
|Education||Professional Children's School|
|Alma mater||Columbia University|
|Occupation||Director, producer, screenwriter, actor|
|Dog Day Afternoon|
12 Angry Men
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Murder on the Orient Express
(m. 1949; div. 1955)
(m. 1956; div. 1963)
(m. 1963; div. 1978)
|Children||2, including Jenny Lumet|
|Relatives||Jake Cannavale (grandson)|
Lumet was born in Philadelphia and grew up in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. He studied theater acting at the Professional Children's School of New York and Columbia University.
Lumet's parents, Baruch and Eugenia (née Wermus) Lumet, were both veterans of the Yiddish theatre, and were Polish Jewish emigrants to the United States. His father, an actor, director, producer and writer, was born in Warsaw. Lumet's mother, who was a dancer, died when he was a child. He made his professional debut on radio at age four and stage debut at the Yiddish Art Theatre at age five. As a child he also appeared in many Broadway productions, including 1935's Dead End and Kurt Weill's The Eternal Road.
In 1935, aged 11, he appeared in a Henry Lynn short film, Papirossen (meaning "Cigarettes" in Yiddish), co-produced by radio star Herman Yablokoff. The film was shown in a theatrical play with the same title, based on a hit song, "Papirosn". The play and short film appeared in the Bronx McKinley Square Theatre. In 1939, he made his only feature-length film appearance, at age 15, in ...One Third of a Nation....
World War II interrupted his early acting career and he spent three years with the U.S. Army. After returning from service as a radar repairman stationed in India and Burma (1942–1946), he became involved with the Actors Studio, and then formed his own theater workshop. He organized an Off-Broadway group and became its director, and continued directing in summer stock theatre, while teaching acting at the High School of Performing Arts. He was the senior drama coach at the new 46th St. building of "Performing Arts". The 25-year-old Lumet directed the drama department in a production of The Young and Fair.
Lumet began his career as a director with Off-Broadway productions and then evolved into a highly respected TV director. After working off-Broadway and in summer stock, he began directing television in 1950, after working as an assistant to friend and then-director Yul Brynner. He soon developed a "lightning quick" method for shooting. due to the high turnover required by television. As a result, while working for CBS he directed hundreds of episodes of Danger (1950–55), Mama (1949–57), and You Are There (1953–57), a weekly series which co-starred Walter Cronkite in one of his earliest leading roles. Lumet chose Cronkite for the role of anchorman "because the premise of the show was so silly, was so outrageous, that we needed somebody with the most American, homespun, warm ease about him," Lumet said.
He also directed original plays for Playhouse 90, Kraft Television Theatre and Studio One, directing around 200 episodes, which established him as "one of the most prolific and respected directors in the business," according to Turner Classic Movies. His ability to work quickly while shooting carried over to his film career. Because the quality of many of the television dramas was so impressive, several of them were later adapted as motion pictures.
His first movie, 12 Angry Men, originally a CBS live play, was an auspicious beginning for Lumet. It was a critical success and established him as a director skilled at adapting theatrical properties to motion pictures. Fully half of Lumet's complement of films originated in the theater.
A controversial TV show he directed in 1960 gained him notoriety: The Sacco-Vanzetti Story on NBC. According to The New York Times, the drama drew flack from the state of Massachusetts (where Sacco and Vanzetti were tried and executed) because it was thought to postulate that the condemned murderers were, in fact, wholly innocent. However, the resulting controversy actually did Lumet more good than harm, sending several prestigious film assignments his way.
He began adapting classic plays for both film and television. In 1959, he directed Marlon Brando, Joanne Woodward and Anna Magnani in the feature film The Fugitive Kind, based on the Tennessee Williams play Orpheus Descending. He later directed a live television version of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, which was followed by his 1962 film, A View from the Bridge, another psychological drama from a play written by Arthur Miller. This was followed by another Eugene O'Neill play turned to cinema, Long Day's Journey into Night, in 1962, with Katharine Hepburn gaining an Oscar nomination for her performance as a drug-addicted housewife; the four principal actors swept the acting awards at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival. It was also voted one of the year's "Ten Best Films" by The New York Times.
Film critic Owen Gleiberman has observed that Lumet was a "hardboiled straight-shooter," who, because he was trained during the golden Age of television in the 1950s, became noted for his energetic style of directing. The words "Sidney Lumet" and "energy," he adds, became synonymous: "The energy was there in the quietest moments. It was an inner energy, a hum of existence that Lumet observed in people and brought out in them. . . [when he] went into the New York streets . . . he made them electric:
It was a working class outer-borough energy. Lumet's streets were just as mean as Scorsese's, but Lumet's seemed plain rather than poetic. He channeled that New York skeezy vitality with such natural force that it was easy to overlook what was truly involved in the achievement. He captured that New York vibe like no one else because he saw it, lived it, breathed it – but then he had to go out and stage it, or re-create it, almost as if he were staging a documentary, letting his actors square off like random predators, insisting on the most natural light possible, making offices look as ugly and bureaucratic as they were because he knew, beneath that, that they weren't just offices but lairs, and that there was a deeper intensity, almost a kind of beauty, to catching the coarseness of reality as it truly looked.
Lumet generally insisted on the collaborative nature of film, sometimes ridiculing the dominance of the "personal" director, writes film historian Frank P. Cunningham. As a result, Lumet became renowned among both actors and cinematographers for his openness to sharing creative ideas with the writer, actor, and other artists. Lumet "has no equal in the distinguished direction of superior actors," adds Cunningham, with many coming from the theater. He was able to draw powerful performances from acting luminaries such as Ralph Richardson, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Katharine Hepburn, James Mason, Sophia Loren, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Blythe Danner, Rod Steiger, Vanessa Redgrave, Paul Newman, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda, Dustin Hoffman, Albert Finney, Simone Signoret, and Anne Bancroft. "Give him a good actor, and he just might find the great actor lurking within", wrote film critic Mick LaSalle.
When necessary, Lumet would choose untrained actors, but stated, "over ninety percent of the time I want the best tools I can get: actors, writers, lighting men, cameramen, propmen." Nonetheless, when he did use less experienced actors, he could still bring out superior and memorable acting performances. He did so with Nick Nolte, Anthony Perkins, Armand Assante, Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway, Timothy Hutton and Ali MacGraw, who herself referred to him as "every actor's dream." In Fonda's opinion, "he was a master. Such control of his craft. He had strong, progressive values and never betrayed them."
Lumet believed that movies are an art, and "the amount of attention paid to movies is directly related to pictures of quality." Because he started his career as an actor, he became known as an "actor's director," and worked with the best of them over the years, a roster probably unequaled by any other director. Acting scholar Frank P. Tomasulo agrees, and points out that many directors who are able to understand acting from an actor's perspective, were all "great communicators."
According to film historians Gerald Mast and Bruce Kawin, Lumet's "sensitivity to actors and to the rhythms of the city have made him America's longest-lived descendant of the 1950s Neorealist tradition and its urgent commitment to ethical responsibility." They cite his early film The Hill (1965) as "one of the most politically and morally radical films of the 1960s." They add that beneath the social conflicts of Lumet's films lies the "conviction that love and reason will eventually prevail in human affairs," and that "law and justice will eventually be served – or not." His debut film, Twelve Angry Men, was an acclaimed picture in its day, representing a model for liberal reason and fellowship during the 1950s. The film and Lumet were nominated for Academy Awards, and he was nominated for the Director's Guild Award, with the film widely praised by critics.
The Encyclopedia of World Biography states that his films often featured actors who studied "Method acting", noted for portraying an earthy, introspective style. A leading example of such "Method" actors would be Al Pacino, who, early in his career, studied under Method acting guru Lee Strasberg. Lumet also preferred the appearance of spontaneity in both his actors and settings, which gave his films an improvisational look by shooting much of his work on location.
Lumet was a strong believer in rehearsal, and felt that if you rehearse correctly the actor will not lose spontaneity. According to acting author Ian Bernard, he felt that it gives actors the "entire arc of the role," which gives them the freedom to find that "magical accident." Director Peter Bogdanovich asked him whether he rehearsed extensively before shooting, and Lumet said he liked to rehearse a minimum of two weeks before filming. During those weeks, recalls Faye Dunaway, who starred in Network, he also blocked the scenes with his cameraman. As a result, she adds, "not a minute is wasted while he's shooting, and that shows not only on the studio's budget, but it shows on the impetus of performance." She praises his style of directing in Network, in which she won her only Academy Award:
Sidney, let me say, is one of, if not, the most talented and professional men in the world...and acting in Network was one of the happiest experiences I have ever had...He's a really gifted man who contributed a good deal to my performance.
Partly because his actors were well rehearsed, he could execute a production in rapid order, which kept his productions within their modest budget. When filming Prince of the City, for example, although there were over 130 speaking roles and 135 different locations, he was able to coordinate the entire shoot in 52 days. As a result, write historians Charles Harpole and Thomas Schatz, performers were eager to work with him as they considered him to be an "outstanding director of actors." The film's star, Treat Williams, said that Lumet was known for being "energetic"
He was just a ball of fire. He had passion for what he did and he "came to work" with all barrels burning. He's probably the most prepared director I've ever worked with emotionally. His films always came in under schedule and under budget. And everybody got home for dinner.
Harpole adds that "whereas many directors disliked rehearsals or advising actors on how to build their character, Lumet excelled at both." He could thereby more easily give his performers a cinematic showcase for their abilities and help them deepen their acting contribution. Actor Christopher Reeve, who co-starred in Deathtrap, also pointed out that Lumet knew how to talk technical language: "If you want to work that way – he knows how to talk Method, he knows how to improvise, and he does it all equally well."
Joanna Rapf, writing about the filming of The Verdict, states that Lumet gave a lot of personal attention to his actors, whether listening to them or touching them. She describes how Lumet and star Paul Newman sat on a bench secluded from the main set, where Newman had taken his shoes off, in order to privately discuss an important scene about to be shot ... The actors walk through their scenes before the camera rolls. This preparation was done because Lumet likes to shoot a scene in one take, two at the most. Newman liked to call him "Speedy Gonzales," adding that Lumet did not shoot more than he had to. "He doesn't give himself any protection. I know I would," Newman said.
Film critic Betsey Sharkey agrees, adding that "he was a maestro of one or two takes years before Clint Eastwood would turn it into a respected specialty." Sharkey recalls, "[Faye] Dunaway once told me that Lumet worked so fast it was as if he were on roller skates. A racing pulse generated by a big heart."
Biographer Joanna Rapf observes that Lumet had always been an independent director, and liked to make films about "men who summon courage to challenge the system, about the little guy against the system.":Intro This also includes the women characters, as in Garbo Talks. Its star, Anne Bancroft embodied the kind of character portrayal that attracted him: "a committed activist for all kinds of causes, who stands up for the rights of the oppressed, who is lively, outspoken, courageous, who refuses to conform for the sake of convenience, and whose understanding of life allows her to die with dignity ... Garbo Talks in many ways is a valentine to New York."
In interview in 2006, he said that he had always been "fascinated by the human cost involved in following passions and commitments, and the cost those passions and commitments inflict on others." This theme is at the core of most of his movies, notes Rapf, such as his true-life films about of corruption in the New York City Police Department or in family dramas such as in Daniel.
Film historian Stephen Bowles notes that Lumet was most comfortable and effective as a director of serious psychodramas, as opposed to light entertainments. His Academy Award nominations, for example, were all for character studies of men in crisis, from his first film, Twelve Angry Men, to The Verdict. Lumet excelled at putting drama on the screen. Most of his characters are driven by obsessions or passions, such as the pursuit of justice, honesty, and truth, or jealousy, memory, or guilt. Lumet was intrigued by obsessive conditions, writes Bowles.
Lumet's protagonists tended to be antiheroes, isolated and unexceptional men who rebel against a group or institution. The most important criterion for Lumet was not simply whether the actions of the people are right or wrong, but whether they were genuine and justified by the individual's conscience. Whistleblower Frank Serpico, for example, is the quintessential Lumet hero, whom he described as a "rebel with a cause."
An earlier example of psychodrama was The Pawnbroker in 1964, starring Rod Steiger. In it, Steiger played a Holocaust survivor whose spirit had been broken and lives day-to-day as a pawn shop manager in Harlem. Lumet used the film to examine, with occasional flashbacks, the psychological and spiritual scars Steiger's character lives with, including his lost capacity to feel pleasure. Steiger, who has made nearly 80 films, said during a TV interview that the film was his favorite as an actor.
Serpico (1973) was the first of four "seminal" films he made in the 1970s that marked him as "one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation." It was the story of power and betrayal in the New York City police force, with an idealistic policeman battling impossible odds.
As Lumet was a child during the Depression, he grew up poor in New York City and witnessed the poverty and corruption all around him. It instilled in him at an early age the importance of justice for a democracy, a subject he tried to put in his films. He admits, however, that he does not believe that art itself has the power to change anything. "There is, as he says, a lot of 'shit' to deal with in the entertainment industry, but the secret of good work is to maintain your honesty and your passion." Film historian David Thomson writes of his films:
He has steady themes: the fragility of justice, and the police and their corruption. Lumet quickly became esteemed ... [and he] got a habit for big issues – Fail Safe, The Pawnbroker, The Hill, – and seemed torn between dullness and pathos. ... He was that rarity of the 1970s, a director happy to serve his material – yet seemingly not touched or changed by it. ... His sensitivity to actors and to the rhythms of the city have made him "America's longest-lived descendant of the 1950s Neorealist tradition and its urgent commitment to ethical responsibility.
Lumet always preferred to work in New York City and shunned the dominance of Hollywood. As a director he became strongly identified with New York City. "I always like being in Woody Allen's world," he said. He claimed that "the diversity of the City, its many ethnic neighborhoods, its art and its crime, its sophistication and its corruption, its beauty and its ugliness, all feed into what inspires him." He felt that in order to create it is important to confront reality on a daily basis. For Lumet, "New York is filled with reality; Hollywood is a fantasyland."
He used New York City time and again as the backdrop – if not the symbol – of his "preoccupation with America's decline," according to film historians Scott and Barbara Siegel. Lumet was attracted to crime-related stories with New York City urban settings where the criminals get caught in a vortex of events they can neither understand nor control, but are forced to resolve.
Like other Jewish directors from New York, such as Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and Paul Mazursky, Lumet's characters often spoke overtly about controversial issues of the times. They felt unconstrained as filmmakers and their art became "filtered through their Jewish consciousness," notes film historian David Desser. Lumet, like the others, sometimes turned to Jewish themes in order to develop ethnic sensibilities that were characteristic of contemporary American culture,:3 by dynamically highlighting its "unique tensions and cultural diversity." This was partly reflected in Lumet's preoccupation with city life.:6 His film A Stranger Among Us, for example, is the story of a woman undercover police officer and her experiences in a Hasidic community within New York City.
The subject of "guilt," explains Desser, dominates many of Lumet's films. From his first feature film, 12 Angry Men (1957), in which a jury must decide the guilt or innocence of a young man, to Q & A (1990), in which a lawyer must determine the question of guilt and responsibility on the part of a maverick policeman, guilt is a common thread which runs through many of his films. In a film like Murder on the Orient Express (1974), all of the suspects are guilty.:172
His films were also characterized by a strong emphasis on family life, often showing tensions within the family.:172 This emphasis on the family included "surrogate families," as in the police trilogy, Serpico (1973), Prince of the City (1981), and Q & A. An "untraditional family" is also portrayed in Dog Day Afternoon (1975).:172
Lumet had always preferred naturalism and/or realism, according to Joanna Rapf. He did not like the "decorator's look", where the camera could call attention to itself. He edited his films so the camera was unobtrusive. His cinematographer, Ron Fortunato, said "Sidney flips if he sees a look that's too artsy."
Partly because he was willing and able to take on so many significant social issues and problems, he achieved strong performances from lead actors with fine work from character actors. He is "one of the stalwart figures of New York moviemaking. He abides by good scripts, when he gets them," said critic David Thomson. Although critics gave varying opinions of his films, in general Lumet's body of work is held in high esteem. Most critics have described him as a sensitive and intelligent director, having good taste, the courage to experiment with his style, and a "gift for handling actors."
In a quote from his book, Lumet emphasized the logistics of directing:
Someone once asked me what making a movie was like. I said it was like making a mosaic. Each setup is like a tiny tile (a setup, the basic component of a film's production, consists of one camera position and its associated lighting). You color it, shape it, polish it as best you can. You'll do six or seven hundred of these, maybe a thousand. (There can easily be that many setups in a movie.) Then you literally paste them together and hope it's what you set out to do.
Critic Justin Chang adds that Lumet's skill as a director and in developing strong stories, continued up to his last film in 2007, noting that his "nimble touch with performers, his ability to draw out great warmth and zesty humor with one hand and coax them toward ever darker, more anguished extremes of emotion with the other, was on gratifying display in his ironically titled final film, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead."
In the same interview with New York magazine, he said he expects to see more directors from different ethnic backgrounds and communities, telling their stories. "You know, I started out making films about Jews and Italians and Irish because I didn't know anything else."
Lumet was married four times; the first three marriages ended in divorce. He was married to actress Rita Gam from 1949–55; to socialite Gloria Vanderbilt from 1956–63; to Gail Jones (daughter of Lena Horne) from 1963–78, and to Mary Bailey Gimbel (ex-wife of Peter Gimbel) from 1980 until his death. He had two daughters by Jones: Amy, who was married to P. J. O'Rourke from 1990–1993, and actress/screenwriter Jenny, who had a leading role in his film Q & A. She also wrote the screenplay for the 2008 film Rachel Getting Married.
Lumet died at the age of 86 on April 9, 2011, in his residence in Manhattan from lymphoma. When asked in a 1997 interview about how he wanted to "go out," Lumet responded, "I don't think about it. I'm not religious. I do know that I don't want to take up any space. Burn me up and scatter my ashes over Katz's Delicatessen."
Following his death, numerous tributes have been paid for his enduring body of work, marked by many memorable portrayals of New York City. Fellow New York directors Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese both paid tribute to Lumet. Allen called him the "quintessential New York film-maker", while Scorsese said "our vision of the city has been enhanced and deepened by classics like Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon and, above all, the remarkable Prince of the City." Lumet also drew praise from New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who called him "one of the great chroniclers of our city".
Lumet was called "the last of the great movie moralists" in a tribute remembering a career in which he "guided many of the world's most respected actors through roles that connected with the conscience of multiple generations."
According to film historian Bowles, Lumet succeeded in becoming a leading drama filmmaker partly because "his most important criterion [when directing] is not whether the actions of his protagonists are right or wrong, but whether their actions are genuine." And where those actions are "justified by the individual's conscience, this gives his heroes uncommon strength and courage to endure the pressures, abuses, and injustices of others." His films have thereby continually given us the "quintessential hero acting in defiance of peer group authority and asserting his own code of moral values."
Lumet's published memoir about his life in film, Making Movies (1996), is "extremely lighthearted and infectious in its enthusiasm for the craft of moviemaking itself," writes Bowles, "and is in marked contrast to the tone and style of most of his films. Perhaps Lumet's signature as a director is his work with actors – and his exceptional ability to draw high-quality, sometimes extraordinary performances from even the most unexpected quarters" Jake Coyle, Associated Press writer, agrees: "While Lumet has for years gone relatively underappreciated, actors have consistently turned in some of their most memorable performances under his stewardship. From Katharine Hepburn to Faye Dunaway, Henry Fonda to Paul Newman, Lumet is known as an actor's director," and to some, like Ali MacGraw, he is considered "every actor's dream."
Noting that Lumet's "compelling stories and unforgettable performances were his strong suit," director and producer Steven Spielberg believes that Lumet was "one of the greatest directors in the long history of film." Al Pacino, upon hearing of Lumet's death, stated that with his films, "he leaves a great legacy, but more than that, to the people close to him, he will remain the most civilized of humans and the kindest man I have ever known." Boston Herald writer James Verniere observes that "at a time when the American film industry is intent on seeing how low it can go, Sidney Lumet remains a master of the morally complex American drama."
He did not win an individual Academy Award, although he did receive an Academy Honorary Award in 2005 and 14 of his films were nominated for various Oscars, such as Network, which was nominated for 10, winning 4. In 2005, Lumet received an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement for his "brilliant services to screenwriters, performers, and the art of the motion picture." Upon winning recognition from the Academy, Lumet said, "I wanted one, damn it, and I felt I deserved one." Nonetheless, director Spike Lee commented that "his great work lives on with us forever. Much more important than Oscar. Ya-dig?"
A few months after Lumet's death in April 2011, TV commentator Lawrence O'Donnell aired a tribute to Lumet, and a retrospective celebration of his work was held at New York's Lincoln Center with the appearance of numerous speakers and film stars. In October 2011, the organization Human Rights First inaugurated its "Sidney Lumet Award for Integrity in Entertainment" for the TV show, The Good Wife, along with giving awards to two Middle East activists who had worked for freedom and democracy. Lumet had worked with Human Rights First on a media project related to the depiction of torture and interrogation on television.
|1939||...One Third of a Nation...||as an actor portraying Joey Rogers|
|1957||12 Angry Men||Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, Jack Warden, Ed Begley, E. G. Marshall, Joseph Sweeney|
|1958||Stage Struck||Henry Fonda, Susan Strasberg, Christopher Plummer|
|1959||That Kind of Woman||Sophia Loren, Tab Hunter, Jack Warden, Keenan Wynn, George Sanders|
|1960||The Fugitive Kind||Marlon Brando, Joanne Woodward, Anna Magnani, Maureen Stapleton|
|1962||A View from the Bridge||Raf Vallone, Jean Sorel, Carol Lawrence|
|1962||Long Day's Journey into Night||Katharine Hepburn, Sir Ralph Richardson, Jason Robards, Dean Stockwell|
|1964||The Pawnbroker||Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald|
|1964||Fail Safe||Henry Fonda, Dan O'Herlihy, Walter Matthau, Larry Hagman|
|1965||The Hill||Sean Connery, Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen, Ossie Davis, Roy Kinnear, Sir Michael Redgrave|
|1966||The Group||Candice Bergen, Joan Hackett|
|1966||The Deadly Affair||James Mason, Harry Andrews, Simone Signoret, Maximilian Schell, Roy Kinnear|
|1968||Bye Bye Braverman||George Segal, Jack Warden|
|1968||The Sea Gull||Vanessa Redgrave, Simone Signoret, James Mason, David Warner, Denholm Elliott|
|1969||The Appointment||Omar Sharif, Anouk Aimée|
|1970||King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis||Paul Newman (narration), Joanne Woodward (narration)|
|1970||Last of the Mobile Hot Shots||Lynn Redgrave, James Coburn|
|1971||The Anderson Tapes||Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, Alan King|
|1972||Child's Play||James Mason, Robert Preston, Beau Bridges|
|1973||The Offence||Sean Connery, Ian Bannen, Trevor Howard|
|1973||Serpico||Al Pacino, Tony Roberts, John Randolph|
|1974||Lovin' Molly||Anthony Perkins, Beau Bridges, Blythe Danner, Susan Sarandon|
|1974||Murder on the Orient Express||Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Martin Balsam, Anthony Perkins, Sir John Gielgud|
|1975||Dog Day Afternoon||Al Pacino, John Cazale, Charles Durning|
|1976||Network||Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Robert Duvall, Ned Beatty|
|1977||Equus||Richard Burton, Peter Firth, Joan Plowright|
|1978||The Wiz||Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Richard Pryor, Mabel King, Lena Horne|
|1980||Just Tell Me What You Want||Alan King, Ali MacGraw, Tony Roberts, Keenan Wynn|
|1981||Prince of the City||Treat Williams, Jerry Orbach|
|1982||Deathtrap||Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon|
|1982||The Verdict||Paul Newman, Jack Warden, James Mason, Charlotte Rampling|
|1983||Daniel||Timothy Hutton, Mandy Patinkin, Ellen Barkin|
|1984||Garbo Talks||Anne Bancroft, Ron Silver, Carrie Fisher|
|1986||Power||Richard Gere, Julie Christie, Gene Hackman|
|1986||The Morning After||Jane Fonda, Jeff Bridges, Raúl Juliá|
|1988||Running on Empty||River Phoenix, Judd Hirsch|
|1989||Family Business||Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman, Matthew Broderick|
|1990||Q & A||Timothy Hutton, Nick Nolte, Armand Assante, Jenny Lumet|
|1992||A Stranger Among Us||Melanie Griffith, John Pankow|
|1993||Guilty as Sin||Don Johnson, Rebecca De Mornay, Jack Warden|
|1996||Night Falls on Manhattan||Andy García, Ian Holm, Lena Olin, Richard Dreyfuss|
|1997||Critical Care||James Spader, Kyra Sedgwick, Helen Mirren, Albert Brooks, Anne Bancroft|
|1999||Gloria||Sharon Stone, George C. Scott, Jeremy Northam|
|2001–2002||100 Centre Street (TV series)||Alan Arkin, LaTanya Richardson|
|2004||Strip Search||Glenn Close, Maggie Gyllenhaal|
|2006||Find Me Guilty||Vin Diesel, Alex Rocco, Peter Dinklage|
|2007||Before the Devil Knows You're Dead||Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei|
The following films directed by Lumet have received Academy Awards and nominations:
|1957||12 Angry Men||3|
|1962||Long Day's Journey into Night||1|
|1970||King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis||1|
|1974||Murder on the Orient Express||6||1|
|1975||Dog Day Afternoon||6||1|
|1981||Prince of the City||1|
|1986||The Morning After||1|
|1988||Running on Empty||2|
Lewis' class included Herbert Berghof, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Mildred Dunnock, Tom Ewell, John Forsythe, Anne Jackson, Sidney Lumet, Kevin McCarthy, Karl Malden, E.G. Marshall, Patricia Neal, William Redfield, Jerome Robbins, Maureen Stapleton, Beatrice Straight, Eli Wallach, and David Wayne.
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead is a 2007 American crime drama film directed by Sidney Lumet, his last feature film before his death in 2011. The film was written by Kelly Masterson, and stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei and Albert Finney. The title comes from the Irish saying: "May you be in heaven a full half-hour before the devil knows you're dead". The film unfolds non-linearly, repeatedly going back and forth in time, with some scenes shown from various points of view.
The film appeared on 21 critics' end-of-the-year top ten lists indexed by Metacritic and was selected as one of 2007's ten most influential American films by the American Film Institute at the 2007 AFI Awards.Beyond This Place (DuPont Show of the Month)
Beyond This Place is a 1957 American television adaptation from A. J. Cronin's novel, Beyond This Place, which was originally published in 1953. It is a live television production, possibly preserved on kinescope. The show was directed by Sidney Lumet and produced by David Susskind. It was the third episode of the first season of The DuPont Show of the Month, which was broadcast on CBS. The dramatization starred Farley Granger, Peggy Ann Garner, Torin Thatcher, Max Adrian, Brian Donlevy, and Shelley Winters.Critical Care (film)
Critical Care is a 1997 film directed by Sidney Lumet. The film is a satire about American medicine. The screenplay by Steven Schwartz is based on the novel by Richard Dooling and stars James Spader, Kyra Sedgwick, Anne Bancroft, Helen Mirren, Jeffrey Wright, and Albert Brooks. Rick Baker provided special makeup effects. The film is about a doctor who finds himself involved in a fight with two half sisters over the care of their ailing father.Daniel (film)
Daniel is a 1983 British-American drama film which was adapted by E. L. Doctorow from his 1971 novel The Book of Daniel. It was directed by Sidney Lumet.Dog Day Afternoon
Dog Day Afternoon is a 1975 American crime drama film directed by Sidney Lumet, written by Frank Pierson, and produced by Martin Bregman and Martin Elfand. The film stars Al Pacino, John Cazale, Charles Durning, Chris Sarandon, Penelope Allen, James Broderick, Lance Henriksen, and Carol Kane. The title refers to the sultry "dog days" of summer.
The film was inspired by P. F. Kluge's article "The Boys in the Bank" in LIFE magazine, about a similar robbery of a Brooklyn bank by John Wojtowicz and Salvatore Naturale on August 22, 1972.
The film received critical acclaim upon its September 1975 release by Warner Bros., some of which referred to its anti-establishment tone. Dog Day Afternoon was nominated for several Academy Awards and Golden Globe awards, and won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. In 2009, the film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.Just Tell Me What You Want
Just Tell Me What You Want is a 1980 American comedy film directed by Sidney Lumet. It stars Ali MacGraw, Peter Weller and Alan King, and was also Myrna Loy's final film.
The screenplay by Jay Presson Allen, adapted from her novel, won her the David di Donatello Award for Best Screenplay of a Foreign Film.
To date, this is MacGraw's last leading role in a film.Last of the Mobile Hot Shots
Last of the Mobile Hot Shots is a 1970 American drama film. The screenplay by Gore Vidal is based on the Tennessee Williams play The Seven Descents of Myrtle, which opened on Broadway in March 1968 and ran for 29 performances.
Sidney Lumet directed Lynn Redgrave as Myrtle, James Coburn as Jeb, and Robert Hooks as Chicken. The film was made in New Orleans and St. Francisville, Louisiana. It was released as Blood Kin in Europe.Long Day's Journey into Night (1962 film)
Long Day's Journey into Night is a 1962 American drama film adaptation of the Eugene O'Neill play. It was directed by Sidney Lumet, and produced by Ely Landau, with Joseph E. Levine and Jack J. Dreyfus, Jr. as executive producers. The screenplay was not adapted, but used directly from O'Neill's play, the music score by André Previn, and the cinematography by Boris Kaufman.
It was shot at Chelsea Studios in New York City. The exteriors were shot on City Island.
The film has been restored and preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive.Network (1976 film)
Network is a 1976 American satirical film written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet, about a fictional television network, UBS, and its struggle with poor ratings. The film stars Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, and Robert Duvall and features Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, and Beatrice Straight.
The film won four Academy Awards, in the categories of Best Actor (Finch), Best Actress (Dunaway), Best Supporting Actress (Straight), and Best Original Screenplay (Chayefsky).
In 2000, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". In 2002, it was inducted into the Producers Guild of America Hall of Fame as a film that has "set an enduring standard for American entertainment". In 2005, the two Writers Guilds of America voted Chayefsky's script one of the 10 greatest screenplays in the history of cinema. In 2007, the film was 64th among the 100 greatest American films as chosen by the American Film Institute, a ranking slightly higher than the one AFI had given it ten years earlier.Power (1986 film)
Power is a 1986 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Richard Gere. The original screenplay by David Himmelstein focuses on political corruption and how power affects both those who wield it and the people they try to control.
Denzel Washington's performance in the film as public relations expert Arnold Billings earned him the 1987 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. Beatrice Straight's performance as Claire Hastings earned her a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress.Prince of the City
Prince of the City is a 1981 American crime drama film about an NYPD officer who chooses to expose police corruption for idealistic reasons. The character of Daniel Ciello, played by Treat Williams, was based on real-life NYPD Narcotics Detective Robert Leuci. The script was based on Robert Daley's 1978 book of the same name. Sidney Lumet was the director and co-screenwriter; the large supporting cast also featured actors Jerry Orbach, Bob Balaban, and Lindsay Crouse.
Prince of the City was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, but lost to On Golden Pond.Serpico
Serpico is a 1973 American neo-noir biographical crime film directed by Sidney Lumet, and starring Al Pacino. Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler wrote the screenplay, adapting Peter Maas's biography of NYPD officer Frank Serpico, who went undercover to expose corruption in the police force. Both Maas's book and the film cover 12 years, 1960 to 1972.The film and principals were nominated for numerous awards, earning recognition for its score, direction, screenplay, and Pacino's performance. The film was also a commercial success.Stage Struck (1958 film)
Stage Struck is a 1958 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Henry Fonda, Susan Strasberg and Christopher Plummer in his film debut. The screenplay, by Augustus and Ruth Goetz, is based on the stage play Morning Glory by Zoë Akins, which also served as the basis for the 1933 film Morning Glory which starred Katharine Hepburn, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Adolphe Menjou in corresponding roles.The Appointment
The Appointment is a 1969 psychological drama film from director Sidney Lumet and writer James Salter, based on the story by Antonio Leonviola.The Deadly Affair
The Deadly Affair is a 1966 British espionage–thriller film, based on John le Carré's first novel Call for the Dead. The film stars James Mason, Harry Andrews, Simone Signoret and Maximilian Schell. It was directed by Sidney Lumet from a script by Paul Dehn.
In the movie, a Columbia Pictures production, the central character is renamed Charles Dobbs since Paramount owned the film rights to the name George Smiley, the central character of the novel and many other le Carré books. Paramount acquired the film rights to the character name when filming The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. The soundtrack was composed by Quincy Jones, and the bossa nova theme song, "Who Needs Forever", was performed by Astrud Gilberto.The Fugitive Kind
For the 1937 Tennessee Williams play, see Fugitive Kind.The Fugitive Kind is a 1960 American drama film starring Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani, and directed by Sidney Lumet. The screenplay by Meade Roberts and Tennessee Williams was based on the latter's 1957 play Orpheus Descending, itself a revision of his unproduced 1940 work Battle of Angels.
Despite being set in the Deep South, the United Artists release was filmed in Milton, New York. At the 1960 San Sebastián International Film Festival, it won the Silver Seashell for Sidney Lumet and the Zulueta Prize for Best Actress for Joanne Woodward.
The film is available on videotape and DVD. A two-disc DVD edition by The Criterion Collection was released in April 2010.
A stage production also took place in 2010 at the Arclight Theatre starring Michael Brando, grandson of Marlon Brando, in the lead role. This particular production used the edited film version of the text as opposed to the original play.The Group (film)
The Group is a 1966 ensemble film directed by Sidney Lumet based on the novel of the same name by Mary McCarthy about the lives a group of eight female graduates from a Vassar-like college South Tower from 1933 to 1940.
The cast of this social satire includes Candice Bergen, Joan Hackett, Elizabeth Hartman, Shirley Knight, Jessica Walter, Kathleen Widdoes, and Joanna Pettet. The film also features small roles for Hal Holbrook, Carrie Nye, James Broderick, Larry Hagman and Richard Mulligan. For its time, the film touched on controversial topics, such as free love, contraception, abortion, lesbianism, and mental illness.The Sea Gull
The Sea Gull is a 1968 British-American-Greek drama film directed by Sidney Lumet. The screenplay by Moura Budberg is adapted and translated from Anton Chekhov's classic 1896 play The Seagull.
The Warner Bros.-Seven Arts release was filmed at the Europa Studios in Sundbyberg, Stockholms län, just outside central Stockholm.The Verdict
The Verdict is a 1982 American legal drama film directed by Sidney Lumet and written by David Mamet from Barry Reed's novel of the same name. It stars Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Milo O'Shea, and Lindsay Crouse. In the story, a down-on-his-luck alcoholic lawyer accepts a medical malpractice case to improve his own situation, but discovers along the way that he is doing the right thing.
The Verdict garnered critical acclaim and box office success. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Actor in a Leading Role (Paul Newman), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (James Mason), Best Director (Sidney Lumet), Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay (David Mamet).
Films directed by Sidney Lumet
Awards for Sidney Lumet