“12 Angry Men” (1957) Henry Fonda, Lee J.Cobb
A dissenting juror in a murder trial slowly manages to convince the others that the case is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court. Plot Summary for
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The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young Spanish-American is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open and shut case of murder soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors' prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other. Based on the play, all of the action takes place on the stage of the jury room. Written by pjk "12 Angry Men" focuses on a jury's deliberations in a capital murder case. A 12-man jury is sent to begin deliberations in the first-degree murder trial of an 18-year-old Latino accused in the stabbing death of his father, where a guilty verdict means an automatic death sentence. The case appears to be open-and-shut: The defendant has a weak alibi; a knife he claimed to have lost is found at the murder scene; and several witnesses either heard screaming, saw the killing or the boy fleeing the scene. Eleven of the jurors immediately vote guilty; only Juror No. 8 (Mr. Davis) casts a not guilty vote. At first Mr. Davis' bases his vote more so for the sake of discussion after all, the jurors must believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. As the deliberations unfold, the story quickly becomes a study of the jurors' complex personalities (which range from wise, bright and empathetic to arrogant, prejudiced and merciless), preconceptions, backgrounds and interactions. That provides the backdrop to Mr. Davis' attempts in convincing the other jurors that a "not guilty" verdict might be appropriate. Written by Brian Rathjen Top of Form
A teenaged Hispanic boy has just been tried for the murder of his father, and the case is now in the hands of the jury. A guilty verdict will send the boy to the electric chair.
The case looks, on the surface, cut and dried. But Juror number 8 (Henry Fonda), despite believing that the defendant is probably guilty, feels that the facts merit a cursory review before the jury hands in a guilty verdict. His insistence on a brief examination of the case seems to rub many on the jury the wrong way, as they continue to see the matter as open and shut.
Fascinatingly, as they examine the testimony and facts of the case, the experiences, personalities, limitations, and biases of the jurors weave in and out of the deliberation process, at times to its benefit and at times to its detriment.
To the benefit of the deliberation process, 1) the very elderly juror (Joseph Sweeney) is the only one who can see a possible motive explaining why an elderly witness may have misled the court in his testimony; 2) the one fellow (Jack Klugman) who grew up in a rough neighborhood, where he witnessed numerous knife fights, is the only one who sees a problem in assuming that the defendant made the stab wound found; and 3) the juror who had done contract work by the elevated subway (Edward Binns) was the only one in a position to question what one of the witnesses might or might not have heard.
To the detriment of the deliberation process, 1) one juror (Ed Begley) is so consumed by his personal prejudices that he sees value in ridding the streets of the Hispanic defendant whether or not he is guilty, and 2) another, Juror number 3 (Lee J. Cobb), is impervious to reason because he has been physically harmed by his teenage son, and, consequently, views every teenage boy, including the defendant, as capable of patricide.
The number of obstacles on the path to honest assessment of the facts is a constant threat to the deliberation process. If the jury fails to unanimously agree on a verdict of either "guilty" or "not guilty," it will become a hung jury (a jury that cannot reach a decision,...
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