Set of Seven

by Nuwan_Sen | created - 10 Apr 2011 | updated - 10 Apr 2011 | Public

Here are a few of my personal Sydney Lumet favourites. Another great director gone. Some of his best works came in the 70's, and he went through a low phase in the 90's, but he came back with another excellent piece of work few years ago. His last movie 'Before the Devil knows you are dead' (2007) is among my 'Set of Seven' of his. Haven't seen much of his great works from the 50's, 60's and the 80's. - Nuwan Sen

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1. Network (1976)

R | 121 min | Drama

83 Metascore

A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor's ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall

Votes: 146,775

The Greatest movie on media. Coming from a media background myself (though mine happens to be print media), I enjoyed this movie. Shows well how the (in this case the electronic media of television) media manipulates the minds of the masses by using an aged ex-anchor, who's gone senile, for their own benefit. Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Robert Duvall and Peter Finch are all superb in their respective roles.

  • Nuwan Sen

2. Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

PG | 128 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

63 Metascore

In December 1935, when his train is stopped by deep snow, detective Hercule Poirot is called on to solve a murder that occurred in his car the night before.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery

Votes: 56,766

Best adaptation of an Agatha Christie mystery ever. Being an avid fan of Christie literature since I was a teenager till date, this definitely is the best adaptation of Christie onto the big screen that I've ever seen. And one of those rare movies where he's roped in almost all the superstars of that time to play each of the roles. The beiginning has you awe struck as each celebrity pair (or alone) walks into the station and start boarding the train, as if on the red carpet to the Oscars. Another movie to do something similar was 'The Cassandra Crossing' (1976). The only difference was the costumes and the hairstyles. 'The Cassandra Crossing' was set in the 70's itself, while 'Murder on the Orient Express' was set between two world wars.

  • Nuwan Sen

3. Equus (1977)

R | 137 min | Drama, Mystery

A psychiatrist attempts to uncover a troubled stable boy's disturbing obsession with horses.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Richard Burton, Peter Firth, Colin Blakely, Joan Plowright

Votes: 7,561

Based on Peter Shaffer's play, this is another great psychological thriller. And a unique bold story about a teenager's sexual desire for horses. Richard Burton is superb in his role as the psychiatrist who actually envies the youngster lust for life.

  • Nuwan Sen

4. Serpico (1973)

R | 130 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

87 Metascore

An honest New York cop named Frank Serpico blows the whistle on rampant corruption in the force only to have his comrades turn against him.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe, Biff McGuire

Votes: 111,632 | Gross: $29.80M

Based on the real life story of Francesco Vincent Serpico who gained fame for testifying against police corruption in 1971. This is Al Pacino's fourth favourite role of mine, after 'The Godfather' trilogy (1972, 1974 & 1990), Scarface (1983) and Scent of a Woman (1992). The very 70's long haired look suits the young Pacino, the actor, just as much as the character of the good cop he plays.

  • Nuwan Sen

5. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)

R | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents' jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother's wife hurtling towards a shattering climax.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei

Votes: 97,912 | Gross: $7.08M

The last movie by Sydney Lumet, might not be as great as his works from the 70's, but definitely one great comeback into the 21st century. Some great performances by Albert Finney as the father and by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke as two useless sons who end up committing a bigger crime than expected. My only query is this, why was a fine actress like Marisa Tomei wasted in this movie? Lumet could have just used some pretty face for that role. Besides the fact Marisa Tomei used as a sex symbol, the movie was excellent.

  • Nuwan Sen

6. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

R | 125 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

86 Metascore

Three amateur bank robbers plan to hold up a bank. A nice simple robbery: Walk in, take the money, and run. Unfortunately, the supposedly uncomplicated heist suddenly becomes a bizarre nightmare as everything that could go wrong does.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen, Sully Boyar

Votes: 238,476 | Gross: $50.00M

A comical bank heist, and an unexpected revelation of the true identity of the bank robber's lover. Al Pacino at his comical best in a movie with serious twist. Pacino is almost like Dustin Hoffman back then.

  • Nuwan Sen

7. The Appointment (1969)

R | 115 min | Drama, Romance

The lawyer Federico Fendi has reasons to believe that his wife Carla in secret is Rome's highest paid prostitute.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Omar Sharif, Anouk Aimée, Didi Perego, Fausto Tozzi

Votes: 703

A tragic tale of man who wrongly suspects his wife. Omar Sharif with the beautiful French actress Anouk Aimée playing his Italian wife.

These are the Seven Cinematic wonders created by Sydney Lumet, so far as I'm concerned. Am yet to watch some his great creations such as '12 Angry Men' (1957); I have seen the 1997 Television remake with Jack Lemmon, George C. Scott and Tony Danza, which I thought was really good; 'Long Day's Journey Into Night' (1962), 'Fail-Safe' (1964), 'The Verdict' (1982), 'Running on Empty' (1988), and his controversial TV movie 'Strip Search' (2004). Being a true film buff, I have a lot of catching up to do. Heres to Sydney Lumet (1924 - 2011), whose films are forever.

  • Nuwan Sen

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