The Plot of 12 Angry Men

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12 Angry Men The plot of 12 Angry Men revolves around the murder trail of a Latino boy who is accused of killing his father. The conviction of the boy would mean a death sentence and the destiny of the boy’s life is in the hands of twelve male jurors of ranging personalities. The case seems open and shut with a murder weapon and several witnesses to place the boy at the scene of the crime. For eleven of the jurors the decision is apparent that the boy is guilty but for one juror, Mr. Davis (Henry Fonda), the boy’s life should entail some discussion to eliminate any reasonable doubt the jurors may have.

As the film progresses the personalities of the jurors become apparent and many underlying issues influence the guilty decision chosen by the majority of the jurors.?? The underlying issues are the complexity of the personalities of the jurors and the reasons why they have the motivation to feel and act the way they do. As the case unfolds further, more is learned about each juror individually. The personalities range from being a short-tempered loud mouth to a straight- laced accountant who never breaks a sweat.

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As the movie progresses much more is learned of the characters that exposes the intricacy of human nature and people’s different personality traits.?? This film is an excellent example of movie making that does not require elaborate sets to entertain the viewer. The majority of the film takes place in a jury room with the men never leaving the room from their deliberation responsibilities. The cast and dialogue make this film memorable and the film has some clear moral issues that are addressed. The main issue is that not everything is as it seems.

With further analysis the understanding of a situation becomes more concrete enabling the men to make a solid decision that affects a young man’s life. 12 Angry Men is a classic film that should not be missed. The story begins after closing arguments have been presented in a murder case, as the judge is giving his instructions to the jury. According to American law in most states (both then and now), the verdict (whether guilty or not guilty) must be unanimous. A non-unanimous verdict results in a hung jury, which in turn forces a retrial.

The question they are deciding is whether the defendant, a young teenage boy from a city slum, murdered his father. The jury is further instructed that a guilty verdict will be accompanied by a mandatory death sentence—the electric chair. The jury of twelve move to the jury room, where they begin to become acquainted with each other’s personalities and discuss the case. The plot of the film revolves around their difficulty in reaching a unanimous verdict, mainly due to the jurors’ personal prejudices. An initial vote is taken and eleven of the jurors vote “guilty”.

Juror 8 is the lone dissenter, stating that the evidence presented is circumstantial and the boy deserves a fair deliberation, upon which he starts questioning the accuracy and reliability of the only two witnesses to the murder, the fact that the knife used in the murder is not as unusual as testimony promotes (he produces an identical one from his pocket), and the overall shady circumstances. Having argued several points, and producing a knife identical to the murder weapon, Juror 8 requests another vote.

He proposed that he would abstain from voting, and if the other eleven jurors voted guilty unanimously, then he would acquiesce to their decision. However, if at least one juror voted “not guilty” then they would continue deliberating. In a secret ballot, Juror 9 is the first to support Juror 8, and not necessarily believing the accused is not guilty, but feeling that Juror 8’s points deserve further discussion. After listening to the complaints of Jurors 7 and 10, Jurors 5 and 11 change their votes. After Jurors 2 and 6 also decide on “not guilty”, 7 becomes tired and also votes “not guilty” just so that the deliberation may end.

When pressed by Juror 11, however, 7 says that he believes the defendant is not guilty. Juror 12 changes his mind after voting “not guilty”, but switches back moments after; the foreman, #1, also votes “not guilty”. Juror 10 loses all favor or respect after indulging in a bigoted rant, after which he is told to “sit down and don’t open [his] mouth again” by Juror 4, who soon becomes convinced by Juror 9 that the witness’ testimony may be inaccurate because she may not have been wearing her glasses at the time of the alleged murder.

Last of all to agree is the adamant Juror 3, who, after a long confrontation with Juror 8, breaks down after glancing at and furiously tearing up a picture of him and his son. It is revealed that Juror 3 has not seen his son in two years, and his rage may be the result of a falling out with the boy. When his son was young, the father tried to teach the son to “be a man” after seeing him lose a fight. The son ended up punching his father in the mouth. The final vote is unanimous for acquittal.

All jurors leave and the defendant is found not-guilty off-screen, while juror number 8 helps the angry juror number 3 with his coat in a show of compassion. In an epilogue, the friendly Jurors 8 (Davis) and 9 (McArdle) exchange surnames (all jurors having remained nameless throughout the movie) and the movie ends. 12 Angry Men Juror #8 is the Most Important Juror #8. He was the most important juror in the play Twelve Angry Men for a number of reasons. The first reason is that when all the other jurors voted guilty without even thinking about their decisions, Juror #8 suggested that they talk about it before jumping to conclusions.

Even when some of the other jurors got mad and started yelling at him, he stayed calm and tried to work things out in a mature fashion. The second reason is that he convinced Juror #9 to change his vote to not guilty. This was an important step because it paved the way for the other jurors to change their minds also. The third reason is Juror #8 re-enacted scenes from the night of the murder in order to prove his points. The first reason Juror #8 was the most important juror is that when all the other jurors quickly voted guilty, without discussing it first, he suggested that they talk about it for a little bit.

When asked if he thought the boy was guilty or not guilty, he said, “I don’t know. ” This shows that he hadn’t decided one way or the other. When asked why he voted this way, he replied, “ It’s not easy for me to raise my hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it first. ” This shows that he wanted to talk things over with the other jurors before he makes a decision. Later on he said, “I just want to talk for a while. ” This is more proof that he wanted to discuss the issue.

The second reason Juror #8 was the most important juror is because he convinced Juror #9 to change his vote to not guilty. This was important because if no one changed his or her decision in the second vote, Juror #8 said he would change his vote to not guilty. However, Juror #9 did change his vote giving Juror #8 more time to talk about the case. Juror #9 said, “He gambled for support and I gave it to him. I want to hear more. ” By convincing one person to change their vote, it forced everybody to listen to more arguments, and possibly change their…

Juror #1 (The Foreman): (Martin Balsam) A high-school assistant head coach, doggedly concerned to keep the proceedings formal and maintain authority; easily frustrated and sensitive when someone objects to his control; inadequate for the job as foreman, not a natural leader and over-shadowed by Juror # 8’s natural leadership [9] Juror #2: (John Fiedler) A wimpy, balding bank clerk/teller, easily persuaded, meek, hesitant, goes along with the majority, eagerly offers cough drops to other men during tense times of argument; better memory than # 4 about film title [5]

Juror #3: (Lee J. Cobb) Runs a messenger service (the “Beck and Call” Company), a bullying, rude and husky man, extremely opinionated and biased, completely intolerant, forceful and loud-mouthed, temperamental and vengeful; estrangement from his own teenaged son causes him to be hateful and hostile toward all young people (and the defendant); arrogant, quick-angered, quick-to-convict, and defiant until the very end [12] Juror #4: (E. G.

Marshall) Well-educated, smug and conceited, well-dressed stockbroker, presumably wealthy; studious, methodical, possesses an incredible recall and grasp of the facts of the case; common-sensical, dispassionate, cool-headed and rational, yet stuffy and prim; often displays a stern glare; treats the case like a puzzle to be deductively solved rather than as a case that may send the defendant to death; claims that he never sweats [10 – tie]

Juror #5: (Jack Klugman) Naive, insecure, frightened, reserved; grew up in a poor Jewish urban neighborhood and the case resurrected in his mind that slum-dwelling upbringing; a guilty vote would distance him from his past; nicknamed “Baltimore” by Juror # 7 because of his support of the Orioles [3] Juror #6: (Edward Binns) A typical “working man,” dull-witted, experiences difficulty in making up his own mind, a follower; probably a manual laborer or painter; respectful of older juror and willing to back up his words with fists [6]

Juror #7: (Jack Warden) Clownish, impatient salesman (of marmalade the previous year), a flashy dresser, gum-chewing, obsessed baseball fan who wants to leave as soon as possible to attend evening game; throws wadded up paper balls at the fan; uses baseball metaphors and references throughout all his statements (he tells the foreman to “stay in there and pitch”); lacks complete human concern for the defendant and for the immigrant juror; extroverted; keeps up amusing banter and even impersonates James Cagney at one point; votes with the majority [7]

Juror #8: (Henry Fonda) An architect, instigates a thoughtful reconsideration of the case against the accused; symbolically clad in white; a liberal-minded, patient truth-and-justice seeker who uses soft-spoken, calm logical reasoning; balanced, decent, courageous, well-spoken and concerned; considered a do-gooder (who is just wasting others’ time) by some of the prejudiced jurors; named Davis [1]

Juror #9: (Joseph Sweeney) Eldest man in group, white-haired, thin, retiring and resigned to death but has a resurgence of life during deliberations; soft-spoken but perceptive, fair-minded; named McCardle [2] Juror #10: (Ed Begley) A garage owner, who simmers with anger, bitterness, racist bigotry; nasty, repellent, intolerant, reactionary and accusative; segregates the world into ‘us’ and ‘them’; needs the support of others to reinforce his manic rants [10 – tie]

Juror #11: (George Voskovec) A watchmaker, speaks with a heavy accent, of German-European descent, a recent refugee and immigrant; expresses reverence and respect for American democracy, its system of justice, and the infallibility of the Law [4] Juror #12: (Robert Webber) Well-dressed, smooth-talking business ad man with thick black glasses; doodles cereal box slogan and packaging ideas for “Rice Pops”; superficial, easily-swayed, and easy-going; vacillating, lacks deep convictions or belief system; uses advertising talk at one point: “run this idea up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes it” [8]

HOW THEY VOTED The Characters: Instead of organizing the jurors in numeric order, the characters are listed in the order they decide to vote in favor of the defendant. Juror #8: He votes “not guilty” during the jury’s first vote. Described as thoughtful and gentle, Juror #8 is usually portrayed as the most heroic member of the jury. He is devoted to justice, and is initially sympathetic toward the 19-year-old defendant. At the beginning of the play, when every other juror has voted guilty he is the only one to vote: “not guilty. Juror #8 spends the rest of the play urging the others to practice patience, and to contemplate the details of the case. A guilty verdict will result in the electric chair; therefore, Juror #8 wants to discuss the relevance of the witness testimony. He is convinced that there is reasonable doubt. Eventually he persuades the other jurors to acquit the defendant. Juror #9: Described in the stage notes as a “mild, gentle old man, defeated by life and waiting to die. ” Despite this bleak description, he is the first to agree with Juror #8, deciding that there is not enough evidence to sentence the young man to death.

Also, during Act One, Juror #9 is the first to openly recognize Juror #10’s racist attitude, stating that, “What this man says is very dangerous. ” Juror #5: This young man is nervous about expressing his opinion, especially in front of the elder members of the group. He grew up in the slums. He has witnessed knife-fights, an experience that will later help other jurors form an opinion of “not guilty. ” Juror #11: As a refugee from Europe, Juror #11 has witnessed great injustices. That is why he is intent on administering justice as a jury member.

He sometimes feels self-conscious about his foreign accent. He conveys a deep appreciation for democracy and America’s legal system. Juror #2: He is the most timid of the group. Just how timid? Well, this will give you an idea: For the 1957 adaptation of 12 Angry Men, director Sidney Lumet cast John Fielder as Juror #2. (Fielder is best known as the voice of “Piglet” from Disney’s Winnie the Pooh cartoons). Juror #2 is easily persuaded by the opinions of others, and cannot explain the roots of his opinions. Juror #6: Described as an “honest but dull-witted man,” Juror #6 is a house painter by trade.

He is slow to see the good in others, but eventually agrees with Juror #8. Juror #7: A slick and sometimes obnoxious salesman, Juror #7 admits during Act One that he would have done anything to miss jury duty. He represents the many real-life individuals who loath the idea of being on a jury. Juror #12: He is an arrogant and impatient advertising executive. He is anxious for the trail to be over so that he can get back to his career and his social life. Juror #1: Non-confrontational, Juror #1 serves as the foreman of the jury. He is serious about his authoritative role, and wants to be as fair as possible.

Juror #10: The most abhorrent member of the group, Juror #10 is openly bitter and prejudice. During Act Three he unleashes his bigotry to the others in a speech that disturbs the rest of the jury. Most of the jurors, disgusted by #10’s racism, turn their backs on him. Juror #4: A logical, well-spoken stock-broker, Juror #4 urges fellow jurors to avoid emotional arguments and engage in rational discussion. He does not change his vote until a witness’s testimony is discredited (due to the witness’s apparently poor vision). Juror #3:

In many ways, he is the antagonist to the constantly calm Juror #8. Juror #3 is immediately vocal about the supposed simplicity of the case, and the obvious guilt of the defendant. He is quick to lose his temper, and often infuriated when Juror #8 and other members disagree with his opinions. He believes that the defendant is absolutely guilty, until the very end of the play. During Act Three, Juror #3’s emotional baggage is revealed. His poor relationship with his own son may have biased his views. Only when he comes to terms with this can he finally vote “not guilty. ”

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