Sidney Lumet – This Week’s Profile in Jewish American Heritage

When Sidney Lumet died in 2011, he had directed 14 films that were nominated for Academy Awards. Born in 1924, his parents were both veterans of the Yiddish language theater. Lumet himself would take to the stage of the Yiddish Art Theater at the age of five.

His films, which include such classics as ‘Network’, ‘Dog Day Afternoon’, ‘Fail Safe’ and ‘Serpico’, were often filmed in New York City and dealt with themes of social justice. Professor Joanna Rapf, of the University of Oklahoma wrote, “As a child of the Depression, growing up poor in New York City with poverty and corruption all around him, Lumet became concerned with the importance of justice to a democracy.”

Lumet himself said,

While the goal of all movies is to entertain, the kind of film is which I believe goes one step further. It compels the spectator to examine one facet or another of his own conscience.