🎥 12 Angry Men – 1957

The Story …

In the overheated jury room of the New York County Courthouse, a jury prepares to deliberate the case of an impoverished 18-year-old accused of stabbing his abusive father to death.

The judge instructs them that if there is any reasonable doubt, the jurors are to return a verdict of not guilty; if found guilty, the defendant will receive a mandatory death sentence via the electric chair.

The verdict must be unanimous … at first, the case seems clear.

A neighbour testified to witnessing the defendant stab his father from her window, through the windows of a passing elevated train …

Another neighbour testified that he heard the defendant threaten to kill his father, and the father’s body hitting the ground; then, as he ran to his door, he saw the defendant running down the stairs. The boy has a violent past; he had recently purchased a switchblade of the same type that was found, wiped of fingerprints, at the murder scene, but claimed he lost it.

In a preliminary vote, all jurors vote “guilty” except Juror 8, who believes that there should be some discussion before the verdict is made. He says he cannot vote “guilty” because reasonable doubt exists. With his first few arguments seemingly failing to convince any of the other jurors, Juror 8 suggests a secret ballot, from which he will abstain; if all the other jurors still vote guilty, he will acquiesce.

The ballot reveals one “not guilty” vote. Juror 9 reveals that he changed his vote; he respects Juror 8’s motives and agrees that there should be more discussion. Juror 8 argues that the noise of the passing train would have obscured everything the second witness claimed to have overheard. Juror 5 changes his vote, as does Juror 11.

Jurors 5, 6, and 8 further questions the second witness’s story. After looking at a diagram of the witness’s apartment and conducting an experiment, the jurors determine that it is impossible the disabled witness could have made it to the door in time. Juror 3, infuriated, argues with and tries to attack Juror 8. Jurors 2 and 6 change their votes; the jury is now evenly split. Juror 4 doubts the defendant’s alibi based on the boy’s inability to recall specific details.

Juror 8 tests Juror 4’s own memory to make a point. Jurors 2 and 5 point out the unlikelihood the boy made a stab wound angled downwards, as he was shorter than his father. Juror 7 changes his vote out of impatience rather than conviction, angering Juror 11.

After another vote, Jurors 12 and 1 also change sides, leaving only three “guilty” votes. Juror 10 goes on a bigoted rant, causing Juror 4 to forbid him to speak for the remainder of the deliberation. When Juror 4 is pressed as to why he still maintains a guilty vote, he declares that the woman who saw the killing from across the street stands as solid evidence.

Juror 12 reverts to a guilty vote. After watching Juror 4 remove his glasses and rub the impressions they made on his nose, Juror 9 realizes that the first witness was constantly rubbing similar impressions on her own nose, indicating that she also was a habitual glasses wearer.

He observes she is also always dressed up in clothes befitting a younger woman, hence not wearing the glasses in court. Juror 8 remarks that the witness, who was trying to sleep when she saw the killing, would not have had glasses on or the time to put them on, making her story questionable. Jurors 12, 10 and 4 all change their vote, leaving Juror 3 as the sole dissenter.

Juror 3 vehemently and desperately tries to convince the others, until he finally reveals that his strained relationship with his own son makes him wish the defendant guilty.

He breaks down in tears and changes his vote to “not guilty”.

The verdict was now … unanimous!

As they leave the juror room, Juror 8 graciously helps Juror 3 with his coat.

The defendant is acquitted off-screen, and the jurors leave the courthouse.

Jurors 8 and 9 stop to learn each other’s real names (Davis and McCardle), before parting …

Credits :

  • Directed by : Sidney Lumet
  • Screenplay by : Reginald Rose
  • Based on : Twelve Angry Men 1954 by Reginald Rose
  • Produced by : Henry Fonda and Reginald Rose
  • Cinematography : Boris Kaufman
  • Edited by : Carl Lerner
  • Music by : Kenyon Hopkins
  • Production Company : Orion-Nova
  • Productions Distributed by : United Artists
  • Release Date : April 10, 1957

Cast :

  • Martin Balsam as Juror 1
  • John Fiedler as Juror 2
  • Lee J. Cobb as Juror 3
  • E. G. Marshall as Juror 4
  • Jack Klugman as Juror 5
  • Edward Binns as Juror 6
  • Jack Warden as Juror 7
  • Henry Fonda as Juror 8
  • Joseph Sweeney as Juror 9
  • Ed Begley as Juror 10
  • George Voskovec as Juror 11
  • Robert Webber as Juror 12
  • Tom Gorman as the Stenographer
  • James Kelly as the Bailiff
  • Billy Nelson as the Court Clerk
  • John Savoca as the Defendant
  • Walter Stocker as Man waiting for the elevator

Film Information :


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