The Plot of 12 Angry Men

Topics: Jury, Verdict, Not proven Pages: 8 (2687 words) Published: October 12, 2009
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. 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...
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