Nightly News | April 09, 2011
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>>> he was a world war ii veteran who got his first break directing tv shows in the 1950s . and over the next half century, sidney lumet would leave his mark as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, bringing out the best in the actors while sending a message of morality.
>> attica! attica!
>> reporter: he liked to embrace the rawless of his native new york city . no fan of slick imagery, sidney lumet classics like " dog day afternoon " and "superco" captured the style for which he was known. starting on stage and then television he transitioned to film in 1957 , earning an oscar nomination for his directorial debut "12 angry men."
>> like they have no feelings. they can do anything. what's going on here?
>> reporter: firmly staking his claim in hollywood. when your first film is "12 angry men," which is one of the landmarks of american filmmaking and storytelling, i'd say you're off to a good start.
>> reporter: a good start that led to more than 50 films over a 50-year directing career. many instant classics.
>> no one can interfere with --
>> reporter: 1964 's "failsafe" raised the chilling specter of how a malfunction could lead to nuclear annihilation . and in 1976 , "network" --
>> next trksd i'm going to shoot myself.
>> reporter: a satirical look at the tv news business won him a golden globe and gave americans a new phrase.
>> i'm not going to take this anymore.
>> reporter: and a new event. they weren't all hits. the wiz, his 1978 adaption of "the isward of oz" was widely panned. in his life time , lumet received five oscar nominations, including a nod for 1982 's "the verdict" with paul newman .
>> i said to hell with it. to hell with it.
>> reporter: he was awarded an honorary oscar in 2005 .
>> artistically he never seemed to age. he always had a new idea. or a new property or new project he wanted to make. that's a wonderful way to be in your 80s.
>> reporter: sidney lumet was 86 years old.