The movie 12 Angry Men is a 1957 American film directed by Sidney Lumet. It is based on the courtroom drama by Reginald Rose, which in turn was based on the true story of the jury deliberations in the trial of a young Puerto Rican man accused of murdering his father. The movie stars Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, and Jack Klugman, and takes place entirely within the confines of a jury room.
The movie has been praised for its intense portrayal of human psychology and its examination of the dynamics of group decision-making. In addition, it has been cited as an influential example of the “social drama” genre. It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay, and has been cited by numerous film critics as one of the greatest movies ever made.
To reduce distractions, we don’t learn the majority of the jurors’ names. We know them by their views, backgrounds, and shortcomings. They have jury numbers, and that is enough identification for us. A bored judge in a capital murder case begins his charge to the jury with a bored expression on his face. He states that there was a reasonable doubt when he gets to the part about a legal doubt, repeating it with such force that it appears to imply any doubt they may have about the defendant’s guilt isn’t reasonable.
The jurors are not eager to serve on the hot summer day and one of them, Juror 8 (Henry Fonda), asks for a dismissal because of illness. As the judge tells him that he will have to get over it, we see a close-up of Fonda’s face and realize that his sickly look is only a ruse. When the other jurors file out, Fonda stays behind and introduces himself as Juror 8.
In private, Fonda tells the movie’s narrator – who remains unseen – about his concern that the boy on trial may be innocent. The rest of the jurors seem certain of the young man’s guilt, but Fonda is not convinced. He points out that the evidence against the boy is circumstantial and that there is a possibility that someone else committed the crime.
The movie then cuts to the scene in the courtroom where the trial is taking place. We see the young man, his mother and his sister sitting in the gallery and hear the testimony of the witnesses. One of the witnesses, an old man, swears that he saw the defendant leaving the scene of the crime. The jurors are not impressed by this testimony and Fonda notes that it’s easy for an old man to make a mistake about something he saw from a distance.
When court is adjourned for lunch, Fonda talks to some of the other jurors and tries to convince them that they should take more time to consider the case. However, they are not interested in what he has to say and some of them even seem angry with him.
When court resumes, the defense attorney calls his first witness – the defendant’s sister. She testifies that she was at home with her brother on the night of the crime and that he couldn’t have committed it because she was there with him. This testimony seems to surprise the jurors and Fonda notes that it’s strange for a sister to lie about her brother like that.
The defense attorney then calls the defendant to the stand. The young man takes the oath and tells the jury that he is innocent. He swears that he didn’t commit the crime and that he was at home with his sister on the night of the murder. The jurors are not sure what to believe and they ask to be taken back into the jury room to discuss the case further.
When they are alone, Fonda tries to get the other jurors to listen to him but they are not interested. They think that he is trying to save the boy because he feels sorry for him. Juror 3 (Lee J. Cobb) even accuses Fonda of being a communist.
Fonda decides to take a different approach and starts talking about his own experiences in order to get the other jurors to open up. He talks about his father’s death and how it affected him. He also tells them about his time in the Army during World War II.
The other jurors start to listen to him and eventually they agree to take another look at the evidence. They realize that the old man who testified against the defendant may have been mistaken and that the sister’s testimony could be true.
However, they are still not sure what to do and they decide to vote on the case. When they count the votes, it is clear that there is one juror who is undecided. Fonda asks to speak to this juror privately and he manages to convince him to vote not guilty. The rest of the jurors are surprised but happy with the verdict.
12 Angry Men is a movie about a group of jurors who must decide the fate of a young man accused of murder. The movie starts with the jurors filing into the courtroom and one of them, Henry Fonda, being noticeably sick. As the movie progresses, we learn that Fonda is only pretending to be ill in order to get on the jury.
The trial begins and Fonda immediately stands out from the rest of the jurors because he is the only one who seems willing to consider the possibility that the young man may be innocent. The evidence against him is circumstantial and Fonda is not convinced that he is guilty.
The movie then cuts to a scene where the defense attorney calls the defendant’s sister to testify. She tells the court that her brother was at home with her on the night of the crime and she can prove it because she has a receipt from the movie theater to prove it. The jurors are surprised by this and Fonda notes that it’s strange for a sister to lie about her brother like that.