Write descriptive essay about 12 Angry Men movie 1957, write an essay of at least 500 words on 12 Angry Men, 5 paragraph essay on 12 Angry Men, definition essay, descriptive essay, dichotomy essay.
12 Angry Men
Year:
1957
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Mystery
IMDB rating:
8.9
Director:
Sidney Lumet
Martin Balsam as Juror #12
John Fiedler as Juror #12
Lee J. Cobb as Juror #12
E.G. Marshall as Juror #12
Jack Klugman as Juror #12
Edward Binns as Juror #12
Jack Warden as Juror #12
Henry Fonda as Juror #12
Joseph Sweeney as Juror #12
Ed Begley as Juror #12
George Voskovec as Juror #12
Robert Webber as Juror #12
Storyline: The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young man is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open-and-shut case of murder soon becomes a detective story that presents a succession of clues creating doubt, and 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.
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Reviews
true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good
Overall I loved this movie. It shows the group-dynamics of 12 people, the jury, trying to decide if there is "reasonable doubt" concerning whether a young boy killed his father. The discussions are tense and little by little we learn from these what supposedly happened on that night the kids father died. We are therefore also drawn into the question of whether the boy did it or not ourselves and what at first seems like a clear cut case along the way becomes all of a sudden much more complicated. It is a film that dares to handle nuances and ambiguities (we are never certain of whether the boy did it or not) in a way we rarely see. Its also a movie that lets us watch these 12 angry men discuss in the same room for a full 96 minutes without it ever getting boring, which I have to respect; you really have to thrust your material to let a whole movie consist of a discussion.

The movie also tries to show how personal issues can cloud the judgments of the jurors. I am thinking about one specific juror, and although the idea, of showing us how his own personal story interferes with sound judgment, is splendid, I frankly didn't like the way it unfolded in the movie. That's why I only give this movie 8/10.

If this movie in any way is supposed to represent how the legal system work I pray to god that I will never be put in a situation where a jury have to decide my guilt in any matter.

Regards Simon
2008-01-02
A Classic not to be Missed
The plot of12 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.
2003-03-17
I find this movie guilty of being a masterpiece.
Shot in real time, this story of a jury trying to decide whether a young man is innocent or guilty never lets the viewer's attention go. Henry Fonda plays Juror #8, who is convinced the entire time that the defendant is innocent, while everyone else has already called him guilty. Throughout the movie, we not only get to hear everyone's opinions on the matter, but also every possibility of the verdict. With "12 Angry Men", Sidney Lumet brought to the screen the same kind of "closing in" feeling that he brought to movies like "Network". In the end, the issue is not whether the defendant is innocent or guilty; the important point is the process by which the jurors reached their decision. This may be THE perfect movie.
2005-08-06
How can one film be so good and so bad
This is an excellent film. This is an awful film, It is both things at the same time. I watched this movie recently with the knowledge that its considered one of the all time greats but just found myself getting annoyed. While the acting was without doubt superb and the atmosphere was so well crafted you could almost smell the sweat coming off the 12 men and feel the heat and pressure of the approaching storm. I was Stunned with the stupidity of the plot, Anybody who has watch any courtroom drama will understand my point when I say everything that Henry Ford ask the other jury members to consider should have and would have been raised in the courtroom by even the most incompetent of legal teams, The old lady and her glasses, and the slow walking old man being the two most obvious but not the only point in question. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Therefore only a 5 out of 10 rating from me, but a fair rating I think you will agree.
2008-11-03
A Tale of Justice and Truth
One of the best known courtroom dramas since "To Kill a Mockingbird" starring the great Henry Fonda in a tale of justice and the search for truth. A young boy has been accused of murder of his abusive father and now it's up to 12 men to decide if the boy will live or be sent to the electric chair. 11 men believe the defendant is guilty, but one lone juror (played stoically by Fonda) is convinced that the boy is innocent of the murder. Also starring Lee J. Cobb as the antagonistic and angry Juror #3 who harbors personal hatreds, John Fiedler as the meek Juror #2. Jack Klugman as Juror #5 who was raised in the slums, Martin Balsam as the Foreman of the jury and many more make up this panel of unique personalities. The film is packed with tension, anger and mostly importantly a tale of morals and its importance on human judgment. A truly wonderful film by famed director Sidney Lumet with a memorable cast.
2012-11-10
One of the great theatrical examples of what makes for superb drama.
Theater at its best is practically impossible to get down on film correctly. When Hollywood gets it right, they create a work of art. In this case, they did it simply, without frills, casting actors who looked real and fell into their individual parts like kids into a swimming pool on a hot summers day. It's the hottest day of the year, and these twelve men must decide the fate of an accused killer. But twelve men means twelve personalities, twelve temperaments, twelve political views, twelve religious opinions and twelve preconceived notions. As the temperature swells, so does the temperament.

Having been a very reluctant jury foreman, I find myself seeing eye to eye with the shyness of the man forced to lead the proceedings. Everybody looks at you to get the ball rolling and hopefully get out of there as quickly as possible. Martin Balsam, as the foreman, tries to remain dignified and not be overly in control, losing that to one of the jurors who looks at the case in a completely different way than the others. Twelve personalities means plenty of neuroses, and in a very short time, seeing what's really going on in the minds of strangers whom you'll never see again.

This trial involves young John Sacova, accused of killing his own father, and the twelve men must decide whether he gets the chair or not. These men, only identified through their juror number, are completely different, and it's obvious from the start that some of them (John Fiedler in particular) vote guilty because they think they have to. Only one (Henry Fonda) votes not guilty, and of course, one of them says, "There's always one." There are the aggressive ones certain of guilt, empathetic ones who would like to see the charges reduced, and those who view all young people from certain areas as scum regardless of their situation. At 60 years old, this film shows the same prejudices we face today, yet shows that there is always someone not about to follow the crowd simply because something strikes them as off. It is Fonda who will pretty much control the room, although he does it in a subtle way where nobody realizes that he's pretty much taken over.

While jury's have changed in 60 years (allowing women to serve being the most obvious change), what hasn't changed in the conflict of trying to understand the truth and to agree with 11 other people about it. Fonda goes against what would be allowed today by acting on his own and visiting the neighborhood of the crime, but his passion in figuring out the truth is very admirable. He is quiet in his determination, making this typical Fonda but one that fills his soul with humility and integrity.

Under the direction of novice Sidney Lumet, the entire cast is outstanding. Familiar faces from all walks of show business each get their chance to shine. Jack Klugman, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, to name a few. I could easily write something about each of them, but it's worth checking them all out yourself. The one juror who really makes an impression in creating his character is Lee J. Cobb as the very aggressive juror who is hiding behind similarities to the case, having had a contentious relationship with his son that sparks his instant sense that the defendant is guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. He was deservedly nominated for a Golden Globe (as was Fonda), but the Oscars only acknowledged the film, director and script for nominations.

Each jury is its own story, and from city to city, nothing changes but the type of case and the date.
2017-03-20
Finely tuned
First of all, what a cast! Fonda doesn't seem like much of a New Yorker, but the rest of the cast reads like a Who's Who in New York movies. All of them except Sweeney and Voscovek went on to lengthy careers in character and support roles.

The plot comes from a TV show and is very tightly written. There's hardly a wasted word or an unnecessary gesture. This has its drawbacks because it imposes a dramatic frame on the characters and the development. There's not much sense of "real life" here. Everything fits together too neatly for that. But if events follow earlier events with a logic that is a bit obvious, it's forgivable because the screenplay is done so well. Like "Stagecoach," it may be mechanical but it's as finely tuned as a good wristwatch.

Also more or less unavoidable in a short movie dealing with a dozen often conflicting characters is the reduction in their complexity. Each is a stereotype. They practically wear sweatshirts with logos on them. "I AM A SHALLOW AD MAN." "BORED MARMALADE SALESMAN HERE." "KICK ME, I AM AN IGNORANT RACIST." They are capable of changing their opinions but they show only one side of their characters.

A third unfortunate quality in the script is that it is imbued with what Tom Wolfe referred to as "nostalgie de la bou" -- a kind of admiration for the lowbrow. Pauline Kael made the same observation back in the early 60s in an essay called "Fantasies of the Art House Audience." What it boils down to is a dislike of the middle-class. Fonda is an architect, a professional. The other good guys in the movie are members of minority groups or ordinary working stiffs with slum backgrounds.

The two most repulsive villains (Ed Begley and Lee J. Cobb) are self-made men who run their own successful businesses. The rufescent Begley has a line, something like, "I got ten factories going to pot while we're talking' here." Cobb brags about how he built up his delivery business starting out with nothing. A third dummy is a SALESMAN -- of marmalade! (Yukk.)

Okay. That gets pretty much all of the weaknesses out of the way. The pluses outweigh the minuses by exactly two short tons. The acting is almost impossible to improve upon, not surprisingly. It's unfair to single out Jack Warden and Martin Balsam for their performances but I'll do it anyway.

The photography, by Boris Kaufman, is perceptive and adds to the tension, the feeling of claustrophobia. Especially memorable is the scene in which most of the jurors are standing together, there is a rumble of thunder, and a shadow falls gloomily over the group. It's a small touch but palpable.

Lumet manages to suggest New York City effectively in this crowded room, practically the only set. (There is a shot at the end that is done on the steps of the real Courthouse.) Lumet's direction makes the most of his actors' talents. The pauses in their arguments last just long enough for us to take a few breaths.

Rose's script avoids an easy ending. Yes, there is reasonable doubt enough for the verdict to turn out as it does, but there is no dramatic introduction of crucial evidence to demonstrate that the defendant is innocent. Did he do it? We don't know. Suppose the kid actually did it and gets away with it? Fonda is twice challenged on that point -- once at the table and once in the men's room -- and in neither instance does he have a reply.

Overall, it's a marvelous movie, a lesson in acting, directing, writing, and shooting. The recent updated version has been made politically correct but is not an improvement over this original. See it if you have the chance.
2003-11-11
"Wherever you run into it, prejudice always obscures the truth."
Take a classic film and strip it down to its bare necessities. Gone are the extravagant sets and sweeping camera-work; removed are the lavish visual effects and epic story lines. What we are left with is cinema in its purest form, where acting is the sole driving-force of the narrative, and our attention is retained through the director's thorough exploitation of a bare-bones scenario. Sidney Lumet's debut feature-length film, '12 Angry Men (1957),' is quite simply one of the most arresting motion pictures I have ever seen, a veritable melting pot of gripping performances and impassioned monologues. With the exception of its bookends, and a brief scene in an adjacent washroom, the entire film unfolds exclusively within the one stifling, increasingly-claustrophobic jury room, as a group of twelve jurors {all male, mostly middle-aged and middle-class}, with vastly differing attitudes and prejudices, debate the innocence or guilt of a young Hispanic man charged with the premeditated stabbing murder of his father.

Prior to 1957, director Sidney Lumet had already acquired some experience in television, though it wasn't until he released his first feature film, a low-budget offering shot in only 17 days, that he began to attract the attention of critics. Though '12 Angry Men' was commercially unsuccessful {in an age of lavish, technicolour adventures, David Lean's magnificent 'The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)' was more to the taste of audiences of the day}, the film received three Oscar nominations, for Best Writing, Best Director and Best Picture. Of course, it was Lean's epic that won each of these categories, among numerous others. Lumet's film, adapted by Reginald Rose from his own 1954 Studio One teleplay, explores the fairness and infallibility of the American judicial system, and the ways by which personal prejudice may affect the outcome of a criminal case. Though the film opens at the conclusion of the hearing, as the apparently-bored judge (Rudy Bond) offers his final instructions to the jury members, the events of the trial are later recreated through dialogue, without ever resorting to cumbersome flashbacks or heavy-handed narration.

What ultimately makes '12 Angry Men' such an electrifying viewing experience are the incredible performances of the twelve main actors, each player delivering a distinct, perfectly-pitched characterisation that contributes richly towards their jury's deliberations on the court-case. Central to the story, of course, is Juror #8 (Henry Fonda), the lone dissenting member, whose unwillingness to send a conceivably-innocent man to the electric chair forces the other jurors to reconsider their stance on what had initially seemed an "open-and-shut case." Fonda, who also co-produced the film, gives a sincere and righteous performance, his actions assuredly heroic, despite the very real possibility that he has helped a guilty criminal escape from justice. The remaining players (in clock-wise order around the juror's table: Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Ed Binns, Jack Warden, Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec and Robert Webber) each contribute with faultless performances, though some play a more significant role in the proceedings than do others.

It would be plain naïve to label any one of the twelve jurors a "villain," but the man who clashes most frequently with the Fonda's well-meaning dissenter is Juror #3 (Lee J. Cobb), a loud-mouthed and temperamental bully, whose failed relationship with his own adult son has given him an overwhelming prejudice towards young people. Rather than deciding the murder trial based on the evidence, Juror #3 subconsciously relies on his own tremendous bias to settle the eventual fate of the accused man. Equally bigoted is Juror #10 (Ed Begley), whose astonishing partiality is fully revealed in his final manic tirade against lower-class citizens. In one of the film's most brutally powerful sequences, the remaining jurors callously rise from their tables in response to Juror #10's deplorable outburst, his confidence shattering as he realises that he is alone in his narrow-minded views. Also interesting is Jack Warden's Juror #7, an impatient salesman, whose complete indifference to the fate of the Accused prompts him to alter his vote in favour of the majority.

Despite working in an extremely confined space, Lumet certainly makes the most of his minimalist setting, and cinematographer Boris Kaufman {who also worked on 'On the Waterfront (1954)'} employed lenses with gradually-increasing focal lengths to make it seem as though the walls were closing in on the characters, heightening the ever-present sense of claustrophobia. Lumet is a master of creating mood, as he also demonstrated in his finest film, 'Fail-Safe (1964),' and there's a certain, illogical urgency in the jurors' proceedings, as though Fonda's character is continually fighting a losing battle. Though some of events of the jury room would technically not be allowed {Juror #8's extra investigations – purchasing the knife, pacing the old witness' journey to the door – would undoubtedly have resulted in a mistrial}, the discussions in the film work merely to prove a single, all-too-significant moral: according to the Constitution, the Accused can only be convicted if there exists no reasonable doubt of his guilt. Ultimately, whether he actually committed the murder or not is almost beside the point, particularly when the life of a potentially-innocent man is hanging in the balance.
2008-01-01
Simple but great.
'12 Angry Men' is an outstanding film. It is proof that, for a film to be great, it does not need extensive scenery, elaborate costumes or expensive special effects - just superlative acting.

The twelve angry men are the twelve jurors of a murder case. An eighteen-year-old boy from a slum background is accused of stabbing his father to death and faces the electric chair if convicted. Eleven of the men believe the boy to be guilty; only one (Henry Fonda) has doubts. Can he manage to convince the others?

The court case provides only a framework, however. The film's greatness lies in its bringing-together of twelve different men who have never met each other before and the interaction of their characters as each man brings his own background and life experiences into the case. Thus, we have the hesitant football coach (Martin Balsam), the shy, uncertain bank clerk (John Fiedler), the aggressive call company director (Lee J. Cobb), the authoritative broker (E.G. Marshall), the self-conscious slum dweller (Jack Klugman), the solid, dependable painter (Edward Binns), the selfish salesman (Jack Warden), the calm, collected architect (Fonda), the thoughtful, observant older man (Joseph Sweeney), the racially bigoted garage owner (Ed Begley), the East European watchmaker (George Voskovec) and the beefcake advertising agent (Robert Webber) who has plenty of chat and little else.

Almost the entire film takes place in just one room, the jury room, where the men have retired to consider their verdict. The viewer finds him or herself sweating it out with the jury as the heat rises, literally and metaphorically, among the men as they make their way towards their final verdict. Interestingly, the jurors (apart from two at the end) are never named. They do not need to be. Their characters speak for them.

Henry Fonda is eminently suitable and excellently believable as the dissenter who brings home the importance of a jury's duty to examine evidence thoroughly and without prejudice. Joseph Sweeney is delightful as Juror No. 9, the quiet but shrewd old man who misses nothing, whilst E.G. Marshall brings his usual firmness and authority to the role of Juror No. 4. All the actors shine but perhaps the best performance is that of Lee J. Cobb as Juror No. 3, the hard, stubborn, aggressive, vindictive avenger who is reduced to breaking down when forced to confront the failure of his relationship with his own son.

Several of the stars of '12 Angry Men' became household names. Henry Fonda continued his distinguished career until his death in 1982, as well as fathering Jane and Peter. Lee J. Cobb landed the major role of Judge Henry Garth in 'The Virginian'. E.G. Marshall enjoyed a long, reputable career on film and t.v., including playing Joseph P. Kennedy in the 'Kennedy' mini-series. Jack Klugman was 'Quincy' whilst John Fiedler voiced Piglet in the 'Winnie The Pooh' films and cartoons.

Of the twelve, only John Fiedler, Jack Klugman and Jack Warden* are still alive. Although around the eighty mark, they are all still acting. The film was still available on video last year and it is shown on t.v. fairly frequently. I cannot recommend it too highly!

(*John Fiedler died June 2005. Jack Warden died July 2006.)
2004-10-23
Wonderful character portrayals, but too preachy
Henry Fonda is the star here, but the other roles are filled by legendary character actors. To see Lee Cobb, Jack Klugman, Jack Warden, and Ed Begley all doing there thing at the same time is a joy. My main problem with the movie is that it is soooo preachy. The scene is painted in black and white, there are few shades of gray. Most of the character are stereotypes-- ie, the bigot, the bully, the nerd, the immigrant, the glad-handing but uncaring salesman, etc. It is a tribute to the fine actors that they bring such one-dimensional characters to life. And shining through it all is the oh so good man who has right, justice, and the American way on his side. The self-righteousness is a bit cloying, and I almost expect Fonda to have a halo over his head. That being said, it is enjoyable for the acting and a must see for those who have missed it so far.
2008-02-23
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