12 Angry Men: Why This Film is Unique

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’12 angry men’ is a 1957 movie directed by Sidney Lumet. The whole movie revolves around a room having 12 jury men who are in here to get a mutual consensus over a murder of a man.

The 12 jury men out of which 11 were in the favor of guilty that the man was killed by his 18 year old son. Henry Fonda as Davis was the only one who voted for not guilty. It was also seen that the jury that voted for guilty, many of them just voted for the sake of getting rid with this as soon as possible, a few of them didn’t have any reasonable doubts they just voted because the people being in favor of ‘guilty’ were in majority. Throughout the movie Henry Fonda was persistent towards his decision as compare to the other jury members; they didn’t even have a reasonable doubt. It was also noticed that Lee J. Cobb had some personal issues due to which he was rigid about his vote of being guilty although he knew his charges have been made erroneous. The 9th juror was an old man he respected the sense of justice of juror 9, Henry Fonda.

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Although there was so specific scene of the woman across the street but still held importance as she witnessed the murder that happened.

An 18 year old boy from a slum is on trial on the charges of killing his father to death. The judge is least interested so he instructs the jury to decide whether the boy is guilty or not. Further the judge also informs that being guilty the child will be sentenced to death. The jury goes to a room where they were supposed to decide and have a mutual consensus but it was already decided that the child was guilty without any verdict or taking out time for the discussion except Henry Fonda who was a juror. It was necessary to have all the votes in one favor but it was not the case, only one stood up for not guilty which annoyed the rest of the jury as they were least interested and wanted to get rid as soon as possible. The rest of the film focuses the jury not being able to get a unanimous verdict. Juror 8 being considerate and wanting to discuss about the murder case as the boy deserves a fair deliberation. He had some valid reasons for his vote of not being guilty but no one was sympathetic enough to listen to him. He also questions about the murder weapon which is a rare weapon of which he had an identical copy, he further argues that he cannot vote guilty when there’s a reasonable doubt that the boy is not guilty.

Having argued several point and not getting favorable response he decided to have another vote ‘a secret ballot’ excluding him and if still the other 11 jurors are in the favor of the boy being guilty he would consider it.

Further juror 8 presents a convincing point that one the witnesses , an elderly old man who claimed to have heard the boy yell ‘ I’m going to kill you’ shortly before the murder took place could not have heard the voices clearly as the elevated train passed by at the same time. Juror 5 changed his vote to not guilty. One more objective that arose was that cleaning the finger prints but leaving it at home and coming back after 3 hours, at the first place he was the murderer he wouldn’t have come back. Juror 11 changed his vote to not guilty. Davis then mentioned the 2nd claim hearing the man’s body hit the floor he had seen the defendant running out of the building from his front door in 15 seconds, limiting his ability to walk it was not possible for him to walk down in such less time. Meanwhile there was a heated argument between juror 3 and juror 8 which in the end juror 3 was so much in anger and said ‘I’m going to kill you’ although he didn’t mean it. By this juror 8 proved his point that the kid was in anger at that time and said it without those intentions. Juror 2 and juror 6 also changed their vote to not guilty. The vote was now 6-6.

Juror 4 then said that at the time of murder the boy was with his friends at the movie but when the police asked the name of the movie he was not able to answer to that juror 8 explained when one is under stress or in any emotional phase can make you forget things. And when the juror 4 was asked about the previous events of his life he was having difficulty remembering it, again Davis proved his point. Juror 3 and 8 conducted an experiment to see if it’s possible for a shorter person to stab downwards into a taller person, it was possible but then juror 5 explains that he had grown up amidst knife fights and demonstrated to them how a switchblade is used. Immediately juror 7 changed his vote to not guilty so the deliberation may end this angered two of the jurors but then admitted that he truly thinks that the boy is not guilty and he changed his vote. Now the votes were 9-3. Juror 10 goes into rage on the people from slum that they can’t be trusted on which juror 5 got offended as he had spent his childhood in slums as well. And one by one everyone turned their back to juror 10. As no one wanted to talk to him he went to corner table and sat there quietly. The jurors still remaining in the favor of guilty were again asked about their doubts on which juror 4 pointed out the woman who saw witnessed the murder from her bedroom’s window across the street to which juror 12 again changed his vote to guilty making the vote 8-4.

Juror 4 was the one wearing glasses. When juror 9 noticed that juror 4 was rubbing his nose which was being irritated by the glasses he soon realizes the woman who allegedly saw the murder had those impression on her nose which made it clear that she wore glasses and while but did not wear them to the court. And while the other two jurors were talking they came to a conclusion that no one in sleep where’s glasses. Hence, it was clear that when the woman saw the murder happening she wasn’t wearing her glasses as she was in sleep and there could be a possibility that the incident that happened wasn’t clearly seen by her. After this juror 10, 12 and 4 changed their vote to not guilty. At this point the only juror left with the vote guilty was juror 3. Juror 3 gives long and strings of tortured arguments and it is shown that he himself did not have good relations with his son, having this frustration in him made him be so rigid about his decision of the child being guilty of the crime. In the end he even losses his temper and tears up a photo of himself and his son. He also changes his vote to not guilty. In the end everyone was convinced that the child was innocent and he was saved from being punished.

Every movie or a story has some kind of learning at the end but this movie is so unique in every way that although the movie revolved around a room with only one camera focusing on everyone and also their every minor action or reaction given by the jurors. Further in the movie it was also shown that only one juror was persistent about his vote and also had some major reasons to support his decision also. Juror 8 was considerate enough that he could feel that punishing an innocent to death would be something not acceptable though everyone in the room were sweating and were not interested but because of the one juror they all had to sit and have a discussion over the murder situation. Although there were difference in opinions, they had arguments, at one point some of the jurors were so done that to just get rid of the situation they changed their vote, which also angered the jurors but still juror 8 was patient enough to held back his anger and be relaxed. He knew he was right and in the end was successful enough to convince the other 11 jurors that the boy not guilty although it took a lot of time many of them changed their votes twice as they did not have any specific reason to stay determined to their vote of guilty. This also shows us that juror 8 was a man of word and feelings. Two incidents that were noticed in the movie were; the boy who was said to be guilty though he was not and Davis stood with him saying he was not guilty, if he wanted to get rid with this discussion it was really easy for him but he didn’t. Another incident that was noticed was in the last scene when juror 4 tore the picture of himself and his son, and tears started to of his eyes. He, juror 8 got him up from the floor and handed his coat though it was the first time the jurors have met. On such a beautiful gesture the movie ended.

After watching ’12 Angry Men’ it was really difficult for me to point out even a single mistake in the movie. Everything was so on point that even the minor actions were brought into notice. In my point of view it’s one of the movies which I think have no mistakes or any incomplete scene. The movie had no left outs, it was in a flow and I really enjoyed it.

The movie ’12 Angry Men’ is one the finest movies I have seen so far. I am one of those people who are not interested in black and white movies but honestly speaking after watching this movie I have developed my interest in such movies more. As we know this movie is based on a murder and the jurors were not interested but Davis took his interest in this case and stood up till the end. For our daily life it’s a lesson for us that we should never support wrong because at the end somewhere in life we would have the guilt in ourselves of promoting bad and influencing others to lead us. Davis who was the juror 8 wasn’t sure about his vote but whatever reasons he had were defending the kid that he’s innocent although he was the only one in the support of the kid but just for the sake of getting done with the decision he could not make someone punish who’s not even guilty. This is also a lesson for us that no matter how many hardships you face in life or the hurdles you have to go through, if you know what you’re doing is right just don’t think about others, have confidence in yourself and just keep going. You will definitely achieve your goal. This movie is the biggest example as Davis didn’t quit till the end and he was proven right. The jury members were convinced at the end that the child was innocent and they changed their vote to not guilty. Sometimes we also mix up our personal things on a professional level. As in the movie it was seen that juror 4 did not have good relations with his son and that’s why he was blaming the kid as the murderer of his father. Juror 4 wasn’t ready to look at the other picture of the story just because of his personal issues not even realizing his vote of guilty could ruin that little kid’s life. So in life we should always be fair with others and should not mix up our personal issues with theirs. Also at the end a sweet gesture by juror 8 was done, in the movie it was also told that the jurors met with each other for the first time even after that when juror broke down Davis stood up with him. This portrayed the character of juror 8 that he was someone with a good heart. 

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