One of the grand masters of moviemaking, Sidney Lumet, died Saturday morning at his home in Manhattan at age 86. His films, marked by a gritty tension and a conscience, seared into our collective eye scenes of Al Pacino chanting about a prison riot in “Dog Day Afternoon,” the frustrated cry of a news anchor refusing to take it anymore in “Network” and the measured elegance of one man swaying 11 others with the strength of his conviction in “12 Angry Men.”
Lumet burst onto the scene in Hollywood in 1957 with the debut of “12 Angry Men,” which went on to be nominated for three Oscars. Despite Hollywood’s long love affair with Lumet, the director — and most of his films — were firmly rooted in New York City, his place of birth.
In 2006, at age 81, Lumet was still hard at work making movies. The Washington Post wrote at the time:
[T]he better films, even the great ones, are always filmed with the least amount of showing off, with classical camera positions, straightforward editing, no special effects, no computer-generated imagery. He seems to still believe in the 20th-century definition of the movie as photoplay: a filmed document acted in real time and space.
“Simplicity,” he calls it, adding, “It’s been my cri de coeur for years. You do your movie, you don’t do yourself.” And yes, he really did say cri de coeur.
Here are some of those simple, stunning scenes from Lumet’s stellar career. Let us know your favorite memories of Lumet’s work in the comments.