Movie Review 12 Angry Men

MovieReview: 12 Angry Men


Moviereview: 12Angry Men

Differentdocumentaries and movies have been produced focusing the processesand proceedings in the courtroom, and with the focus being on theCriminal Justice System. One of such movies is the ‘12Angry Men’.This is an American drama, which was popular among people when it wasreleased. In summary, the movie is about 12 jurors, who came togetherin a trial case that entailed murder. Produced in 1957 by Reginaldrose, and on the other hand, Sidney Lumet being the movie’s maindirector, the 12AngryMenbecame a very popular movie among movie lovers, not only in Americabut also globally. The movie was directed by Sidney Lumet as the maindirector, assisted by Donald Kranze as the assistant director(YouTube, 2015).

Themovie ‘12Angry Men’was adapted from the teleplay by Rose Reginald and is aimed atunearthing some prejudices in a courtroom Workgroup in the criminaljustice system. The film tells a story of a 12 man jury whothoughtfully discuss the guiltiness or acquittal of a respondent onthe sole basis of reasonable doubt (Lumet et al, 2015). The moviefocuses on a thorough examination of a diverse group of 12 jurors whoare endorsed to thoughtful discuss on a homicide trial case.

Themovie is based on a story of an 18-year-old boy who is allegedstabbing his father to death. The prosecution and the defense presenttheir final arguments perfectly well and a bored judge asks the 12man jury to decide on the guiltiness of the boy (Lumet et al., 2015).The judge also tells the jury to vote not guilty if there isreasonable doubt that the boy did it. In addition, he further informsthem that a death sentence would follow a guilty verdict. The jurorsretire to their room to deliberate on the case. However, it becomesapparent that the jurors find the boy guilty without discussing theirverdict in detail. Eleven of them vote “guilty!”, but one holdout(juror 8) is convinced of the defendant’s innocence and votes “notguilty.” He argues that “there is a lot at stake, and in turn, hewon’t be accepting his conscience to just accept the given verdictwithout first discussing it (12 Angry Men, 1957). This exemptioninfuriates the others who are prejudiced against people from the slumbelieving that they are liars, wild, and dangerous.

Thedissenting juror then tries to convince his colleagues that, the casemay not be as obvious as they thought, or it seemed to be (Lumet etal, 2015). The rest of the movie focuses on the jury’s discussionand difficulty to reach a unanimous verdict as required by theconstitution. During the discussions, it is evident that most of thejurors have personal prejudices. Juror 8 avoids such prejudices andfocuses on the evidence which he scrutinizes keenly for reliabilityand accuracy. He further explains that he cannot vote guilty if heestablishes a reasonable doubt of the boy’s guilt. After hisargument, the jurors vote again by secret ballot and another jurorvote not guilty prompting a further discussion on the boy’sinnocence. The juror then engages his colleagues in an argument whichunearth that the prior decisions made by most of the jurors werebased on unconscious personal prejudices and biases rather thanfactual evidence. In the end, all the judges made amendments to theirvotes turning them into a unanimous “not guilty”. The film doesnot show whether the accused is guilty or not guilty, but ratherproves that there is rational doubt, the boy is acquitted.

Thefilm strongly dissects the hearts a jury that is held in high regardin the community. The film makes a compelling argument that theobvious jurors deemed as gods in the society are also prejudiced justas anyone else beyond the jury room setting. The use of the deathpenalty in case the boy is found guilty communicates the adverseeffects of personal prejudices on the victim. The age of the boycoupled with the death penalty if found guilty makes the film moresensual for the viewers. The selection of a diverse jury bench isstrength in the film as this helps to gauge the different backgroundexperiences and how they impact on personal prejudices. For example,one juror was seething with racial prejudice while another wascatching a baseball game. This two voted guilty on variousprejudices. The director selection of characters in his cast wasperfectly done to excellently communicate on the various backgroundsand prejudices in the courtroom.

Onthe other hand, the film displays one major weakness. Almost theentire film has its action taking place in the courtroom. 93 minutesout of the total 96 minutes focus on the jury room with only 3minutes being dedicated outside the courtroom and the stairs (Lumetet al, 2015). This makes the film monotonous for the audience.Incorporation of other areas outside the jury room in the film wouldhelp break the monotony of the film thus capturing all the attentionof the audience. In addition, the film does not communicate clearlyas to whether the accused was indeed guilty or innocent but insteadleaves it to the audience and the jury to decide. The film would,therefore, be improved by a flashback preferably at the end showingwhat happened exactly and whether the boy actually guilty or not. Thefilm should also demonstrate the courtroom proceedings briefly tohelp the audience to form a prejudgment on the defendant’s guilt orinnocence. This would create emotional reactions to the jury’sdecisions and discussions making the audience picture themselves inthe jury room. It would also help the audience to deliberate on thematter using their own argument.

Additionally,the movie has utilized the use different scenes to bring forth thedesired scenery to the viewer. More so, the movie has usedcharacterization towards the development of the movie. This helped inbringing out the movie’s theme one of such charters is the 8thjuror and the 9th, who, despite the rest of jurors agreeing that theaccused was guilty, he argues against this. This sets the mainsection of the movie as the jurors to sit to discuss the guiltinessof the accused, and in turn bringing out the theme of justice(YouTube, 2015).

Inconclusion, the movie is relevant in today’s criminal justicesystem workforce. The U.S criminal justice system is accused of beinga race-based institution directly targeting to punish AfricanAmericans more aggressively than the whites with overwhelming factualevidence (Quigley, 2015). The cultural transmission theory holds thatprejudice is culturally transmitted through norms, beliefs, andtraditions (Howard, 2000). This is in line with the film where someof the jurors were prejudiced against the slum people on the basis ofupbringing. Workers in the criminal justice system should, therefore,evaluate their prejudices and avoid making biased judgments.


12Angry Men.(1957). Los Angeles, California.

Howard,R. (2000). A Penchant for Prejudice: Unraveling Bias in JudicialDecision Making. JusticeSystem Journal,21(3),349-357.

Lumet,S., Rose, R., Fonda, H., Cobb, L., &amp Balsam, M. (2015). 12Angry Men (1957).IMDb.Retrieved 7 November 2015, from

Quigley,B. (2015). FourteenExamples of Racism in Criminal Justice System.TheHuffington Post.Retrieved 7 November 2015, from

YouTube,(2015).12Angry Men1957, retrieved on November 7th,2015. From