top-rated free essay

12 Angry Men - Story

By VinnyTheGiant May 12, 2006 485 Words
The story begins after closing arguments have been presented in a homicide case, as the judge is giving his instructions to the jury. The twelve men must determine, unanimously, whether the accused is innocent or guilty of the charge of murder. These twelve then move to the jury room, where they begin to become acquainted with the personalities of their peers. Throughout their deliberation, not a single juror knows another by his name. In a preliminary vote they are startled to find that one juror has voted "not guilty." Many of the jurors are amazed and disturbed because Juror #8 (played by Fonda), the lone dissenter, does not see the "open and shut" nature of the case. Juror #8 maintains that he has a reasonable doubt, and it is morally wrong and illegal to condemn a man to death if any jury member has a reasonable doubt. Although Juror #9 (played by Joseph Sweeney) believes that the young man is probably guilty, he is nonetheless impressed by Juror #8's conviction and shares his belief that the evidence should be reviewed thoroughly, and thus changes his vote to 'not guilty' in order to continue the discussion.

The ensuing arguments and sifting of the evidence unveil the flaws of the prosecution's case, the questionable representation by the defendant's court-appointed attorney, and the true character of each of the jury members. For example, there is a scene in which the uniqueness of the murder weapon, a switchblade, is argued as proof of the boy's guilt. In reply, Juror #8 produces an exact copy of the weapon and tells the jury that it is, in reality, a cheap and easily purchased knife that he found in a local store. Although it is only inferred, it soon becomes apparent that the accused boy is a member of an ethnic minority, and that a measure of prejudice exists in the jury room. Gradually, Juror #8 and those jurors who become convinced by the soundness of his reasoning prove to every man on the jury that the defendant's guilt is not "beyond a reasonable doubt". Despite the stubborn insistence of the racist Juror #10 (played by Ed Begley) and Juror #3 (Lee J. Cobb), a father who is allowing his poor relationship with his son to influence his judgement, the eventual result is a vote of 12-0 in favor of acquittal, and the jurors leave the room to present their verdict to the court. What happens in the courtroom after that is left to the imagination of the viewers. In the final scene, as they are going down the courthouse steps toward the street, Juror #9 calls to Juror #8 and asks for his name. They introduce themselves to each other (Juror #9 is "McCardle", Juror #8 is "Davis" - the only 'named' jurors in the entire movie), say goodbye, and go their separate ways.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Twelve Angry Men (Norms, Roles, Process)

    ...jurors never find the truth? the identity of the true murderer is never discovered? but justice occurs within the institution of the court with the jury's verdict of not guilty. This just result is brought about because one juror, motivated by his respect for the law and its processes, is able to defy the peer pressure of the jury room in his q...

    Read More
  • 12 Angry Men

    ...12 ANGRY MEN Twelve Angry Men was created in 1957 and directed by Sidney Lumet. The is basically about a dissenting juror in a murder trial who slowly manages to convince the others that the case they're examining is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court. The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jur...

    Read More
  • 12 Angry Men - Analysis

    ...Introduction 12 Angry Men (1957) is one of the most acclaimed feature films of all time. It was produced at a time when the United States was just twelve years out of World War II and “Leave It To Beaver” and “Father Knows Best” broadcast across television airwaves the perfection, conformity and affluence of American life that had been ...

    Read More
  • 12 angry men paper

    ...“If there’s a reasonable doubt in your minds as to the guilt of the accused, a reasonable doubt, then you must bring me a verdict of not guilty…however you decide, your verdict must be unanimous.” The movie, The Twelve Angry Men, was a fascinating movie. Surprisingly, it was very interesting and engaging even though it was in black and w...

    Read More
  • 12 Angry Men - 7

    ...Hum115 12 Angry Men The character in this movie that was the most effective critical thinker was juror 8(Henry Fonda). The types of characteristics that Fonda, exemplify is provisionalism, creativity, and critical thinking. By doing this he is uncover new ways of interpreting evidence, turns to certainty and shortsightedness when arriving at c...

    Read More
  • Film Techniques in 12 Angry Men

    ...Film Techniques in Twelve Angry Men Summary: Reviews the film Twelve Angry Men, directed by Sidney Lumet. Discusses the director's use of cinematic techniques, including lighting, music,and set design, to reinforce the themes of the story. ________________________________________ "Twelve Angry Men", directed by Sidney Lumet, is a film which...

    Read More
  • Movie: Twelve Angry Men

    ...Movie: Twelve Angry Men The movie Twelve Angry Men begins with an eighteen year old boy from the ghetto who is on trial for the murder of his abusive father. A jury of twelve men are locked in the deliberation room to decide the fate of the young boy. All evidence is against the boy and a guilty verdict would send him to die in the el...

    Read More
  • Reflection on 12 Angry Men

    ...Reflection on 12 Angry Men When the scene is introduced, the twelve men are discussing how to sentence someone who may have committed murder in the first degree. However, we quickly realize that all of the men have different things going through their mind and even more complicated ways of expressing them. Jack Warden is a baseball enthusias...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.