12 Angry Men: Characterization Plays a Major Part in Most Movies

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Characterization plays a major part in most movies, this is what gives the audience insights into a characters personality. The film 12 Angry Men relies more heavily on the use of characterization than any other movie I can think of. Due to the lack of special effects and because the film takes place almost entirely in a small jury room the development of characters was key. This star studded cast of actors included such names as: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, and Ed Begley, even the guy from The Odd Couple was in the movie. An important part of characterization deals with how characters are revealed. There are four major methods of revealing characterization: actions, appearance, dialogue, and thoughts. The film 12 Angry Men makes strong use of all of these methods, but the use of appearance seems to be the primary method used in revealing characterization. As we are introduced to the characters we can make fairly accurate assumptions of their personality based on the court room scene at the beginning of the film. For instance, juror number two looks like the prototypical nerd; wearing glasses, looking very awkward and small in stature. Also, juror number six looks very rough and presumably unintelligent; very large in stature with a strong jaw line and wearing his shirt unbuttoned at the top without a tie. We can also make assumptions about Henry Fonda’s character(juror #8) based on his appearance. He looks very intelligent and almost angelic in his all white suit and with his tall and slender build. Later in the movie these ideas are reinforced by the other three methods of characterization. However, there is one character whose appearance is misleading. Juror number five appears to be the average middle class citizen, but in fact he hails from the slums. Once again, since the film takes place in the small, suffocating jury room we get to know quite a lot about characters. For example, we learn that juror number ten...
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