12 Angry Men (1957)

12angrymen_1957_poster
12 Angry Men (1957)
  • Time: 96 min
  • Genre: Drama
  • Director: Sidney Lumet
  • Cast: Henry Fonda, Joseph Sweeney, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam

Storyline:

The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young Spanish-American is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open and shut case of murder soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors’ prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other. Based on the play, all of the action takes place on the stage of the jury room.

One review

  • The witnesses have spoken, the evidence has been shown, and the closing statements have been made. A teenage boy accused of stabbing his father is facing the electric chair, and the jury seems unanimous in its verdict: guilty. Witnesses have said that they heard an argument between the father and son, saw the boy fleeing the house, and the knife found at the scene is the type that the boy had earlier bought. The jurors put it to a written vote. 11 guilty votes, and 1 lone not guilty.
    The juror who disagrees is Juror #8, and he explains that although he thinks that the defendant is probably guilty, he doesn’t want to simply speed through the process and send a potentially innocent boy to death row. As the jurors discuss the case, they begin to ascertain the truth from the witness accounts and the situations at the time of the murder. In their gradual discernment, the case becomes less about what happened at the crime scene, and more about the jurors’ prejudices and preconceptions.

    This story is a great embodiment of how discrimination and prejudice can affect the way that we face decisions. The boy’s ethnicity, age, and tastes cause the different jurors to see him in a different way, and many of these views are not legitimate in reality. Based off of a successful stage production of the same name, Twelve Angry Men is a classic film featuring some time-honored acting talent. Nominated for three Oscars (Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and Director), this film was also recognized by the Academy.
    Pointing out the preconceptions of the characters, this plot is a great film that has a universal theme applicable to almost anyone. This is, however, a gradually paced film, and it must be given the viewers attention in order to have its message received fully.

    Slow at some moments, but on a second viewing, it may be more engaging

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