12 Angry Men (1957) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: 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. Runtime: 96 mins Release Date: 31 Mar 1957
An excellent courtroom drama with a unique twist. Instead of following the trial itself, the viewer has a unique chance to observe the events behind the closed doors of a jury room. The film begins with the end of the trial. The jurors retire to deliberate the case. A preliminary vote is taken and the result is 11:1 in favour of the guilty verdict. Eleven jurors have raised their hands to convict a young man of killing his father. Only Juror #8 has doubts. At first even he does not truly believe the young man to be innocent but notes rightfully that the case for the defence might have been <more>
presented in a more convincing manner and that the boy might be given the benefit of a doubt. Since the boy is to be executed if found guilty his life is now in the hands of the jury and juror #8 reasons that the least they could do is talk about the case a bit. As time goes on some of the jurors change their minds and find that there is perhaps enough reasonable doubt not to convict the young man after all. But not everyone is easy to convince.Although the plot of the film is excellent and it is fascinating to see what little things can influence which way a verdict goes, where this film really succeeds is in presenting the characters of the 12 jurors. The character of each of the jurors emerges through a wonderful mix of perfect casting, excellent dialogue and near-flawless acting.Juror #1 - a simple man who clearly does not understand the full complexity of the task that lies before him but is trying to do everything not to let anyone else find this out. He appears at ease only once during the film - when he talks about football. He has the misfortune to be selected foreman of the jury - a task he clearly does not relish.Juror #2 - a small, quite man, clearly unaccustomed to giving his own opinion much less to expecting his views to be of any importance. Apparently he finds solace in his job - he is an accountant.Juror #3 - probably the most complex personality in the film. Starts off like a pleasant self-made successful businessman, he analyses the case impartially, explains his arguments well and is reasonably self assured. As time goes on he becomes more and more passionate and seems to be somehow personally involved with the case. He also starts to show some signs of slight mental instability. Wonderfully played by Lee J. Cobb - this is the character you remember after the film is over.Juror #4 - self assured, slightly arrogant stockbroker. Obviously considers himself more intelligent than anyone else in the room, he approaches the case with cool heartless logic but as one of the jurors says - "this is not an exact science" he does not take into account the feelings, the passions, the characters of the people involved in the case. He is conspicuous by the fact that he is the only juror that does not take his jacket off it is a very hot day .Juror #5 - here is a man under great emotional stress. He comes from the same social background as the accused boy - with who he almost unwillingly seems to identify with. Paradoxically this appears one of the main reasons for him voting guilty - he does not want compassion to influence him - so ironically it does.Juror #6 - a simple man, quite readily admitting that everyone in the room is better qualified than he is to make decisions and offer explanations. But he really wants to see justice done and it worries him that he might make a mistake.Juror #7 - the only one that really has no opinion on this case. Literally throughout the film his thoughts are never on the case - he talks of baseball, of the heat, of fixing the fan but the only reason he has for voting this way or that is to speed things up a bit so he might be out of the jury room as soon as possible. Not an evil man he just has no sense of morality whatsoever - he can tell right from wrong but does not seem to think it's worth the bother.Juror #8- a caring man, has put more thought into the case than any of the other jurors. He tries to do his best even in the face of seemingly impossible odds.Juror #9 - a wise old man with his great life experience has quite a unique way of looking at the case.Juror #10 - the most horrifying character in the film. Votes guilty and does not even try to hide the fact that he does so only because of the boy's social background. The tragedy comes from the fact that his own social position is only a cut above the boy's - which makes him all the more eager to accentuate the difference.Juror #11 - an immigrant watchmaker, careful methodical man, well mannered and soft spoken. respects the right of people to have different opinion to his - and is willing to look at both sides of the problem. Loses his temper only once - horrified by the complete indifference of juror #7.Juror #12 - a young business type - perhaps he has his own opinions - but is careful to hide them. What he has learnt out of life seems to be that intelligence is equal with agreeing with what the majority of people think.The film succeeds in doing something very rare today - developing an intelligent plot while also developing 12 believable, memorable and distinct characters.
No bombs, no car chases but edge of the seat stuff none the less (by Andrew Devonshire)
This film is superb, in fact as Shakespeare once said "Its the bees' knees". The film captivates the audience from the beginning. Each of the twelve jurors are introduced to us as they are introduced to themselves. The characters are well draw out and individual, each with his own personality.The tension of the characters draws the audience in from the start. We imagine that the case is open and shut, 11 me saying guilty and 1 not. We feel the discomfort of Henry Fonda as the other characters belittle and mock how he can see any reasonable doubt in the case. But we also share <more>
his victories and the enthusiasm as he proceeds to refute or add doubt to the arguments for guilty and are captivated and draw in as other jurors begin to see doubt in the proceedings.The audience can also see the arguments for guilty and wonder if Fonda's character is correct in saying that he doubts. Yet they also feel the shame of the characters as he disproves that a previously sound theory is iron tight, joining his side as members of the jury do.On top of this they are wonderfully woven in human elements such as the misconceptions that influence people and the growing tension between different characters. This is brought to life even more by the amazing performances, Fonda, Lee J Cobb and Joseph Sweeney are of particular note.I started watching this film on a bored relaxed laying about day but by the end i was on the edge of the seat with my hands on my knees feeling more tense than a politician on results day.How a film should be made. Modern directors take note thats ur telling off for the day 10/10
Should be in everyone's top ten list of greatest films of ALL TIME..... (by Freddy_Levit)
........Films rarely get this uplifting and brilliant. I cannot think of the last time I was so intrigued by the flawless plot, dialogue and acting since 12 Angry Men. For such a simplistic story set in one jury room, it is surprising that Sidney Lumet can drain you of all your emotions and leave you on the edge of your seat with suspense, mystery, and some of the best acting your bound to ever see grace the silver screen!When a boy is on last day of trial for killing his father in the heat of domestic arguments, 12 jury men are forced to present a verdict in which if guilty, is the one way <more>
ticket to the electric chair for the boy. When the jury men decide to quickly end the discussion and raise their hands to find out who thinks the boy is guilty, only one jury man Henry Fonda doesn't put his hand up. Trial and Character revelations, doubts, and possibilities follow.So masterfully crafted is this film, that every time I watch it, only gets better. It includes some of the best character development I've ever seen. Sidney Lumet is an expert in this field and this is by far his greatest contribution to Hollywood history - one of the most important contributions to world cinema. However it was Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb who really made this film legendary, with their incredibly realistic performances. Casting was genius. And the dialogue was astoundingly riveting up until the brilliant finale. What really impressed me personally also was the camera angles and movements that made the film so suspenseful. Black and White made the film all the more powerful. And the music was minimal, which gave the film a more atmospheric experience, like you were their in the jury room with them - and you just feel that tension really built up as the movie proceeds.This inexpensive film, with such a simple setting had the world talking, the academy awards nominations rolling and Henry Fonda at his complete best form. I have rarely been so hypnotized by a film - 'Lawrence Of Arabia' and 'It's A Wonderful Life' are other ones that come to mind. This is a definitive viewing for anyone who loves film. It sums up everything I love about film. Everything from a technical point of view to superb acting and a simple yet complex character driven story, it's platinum and is most definitely one of the greatest cinematic achievements of all time - bar none! A statue should be erected in Sydney Lumet's honor......"Is it possible?" - Juror #8/Henry Fonda
'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 <more>
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.
Good script, great dialogs and a set of actors who would be the envy of the world (by jomipira)
This is one of those movies where everything could go wrong. The story is as simple as it can be: 12 men are jurors on a open and shut murder trial, but one man thinks that another persons life deserves at least some thought on the matter and votes not guilty. From this point on we have 12 actors and a closed room. This could be the most boring film ever made. Lumet however is a master of mise-en-scene and provides a tense movie that keeps you locked on from the word "go". The dialogs are great and supported by incredibly talented actors. Joel Schumacher in Phone Booth needed to see <more>
this movie and draw a few ideas on how to make a character built, dialog driven movie. A must see for everyone.
A timeless film that shows the flaws in the jury system (by AlsExGal)
... the main flaw being that everybody brings their own life experiences and history into the jury room with them, no matter how hard they try to be impartial.Here you have a trial of a young boy who supposedly stabbed his father to death. When the jurors go back to deliberate on the case, ALL but one lone man played with a quiet courage by Henry Fonda states not guilty and the rest of the film is about trying to get them to his side. Quite amazing movie if you ask me. Fonda's case is not that the boy is innocent, but that the threshold of reasonable doubt has not been reached. The trick <more>
in this film is that it never leaves the jury room. You have no idea of what the defendant, the prosecuting attorney, or the defense attorney were like other than retroactively through the words of the jurors.Writing this good just can't be ignored. Reginald Rose's screenplay is absolutely brilliant. Not only are the characters of twelve individuals indelibly implanted in your brain within the limited time span of about 100 minutes, but Rose accomplishes this feat without undue speechifying or pontificating about injustice or the failures of the jury system or expositional dialogue. The characters personalities come out in the course of the film and are not "set up" in the first half hour, as in having the jurors explain to each other what their occupations and backgrounds are as is the case with mediocre screenplays. As for the acting it is true ensemble greatness. All twelve cast members are excellent, although if you put a gun to my head and forced me to say who was best I'd express a partiality for Lee J Cobb as the toughest nut to crack for acquittal and E.G. Marshall as a juror who is all logic and no emotion other than arrogance. And Sidney Lumet's first film just may be his most fast paced. The hundred minutes whiz by! Not a dull stretch to be seen anywhere.And yes, these are twelve white men judging a Puerto Rican boy, and yes Henry Fonda violated many classic rules of jury behavior when he introduced items into the discussion that were not official evidence, but this was 60 years ago and it IS a movie. So just suspend your beliefs and try to enjoy the art of the thing -the riveting dialogue, the character studies that don't choke each other out, and the brilliant camera-work that manages to make the room seem increasingly smaller so that you can appreciate the claustrophobia that must be setting in with the jurors as deliberations wear on and get more heated.
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 <more>
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.
Spoilers I really liked the message of the movie: A lot of times things that look crystal clear at first glance, upon deeper inspection, aren't so clear. The acting was top-notch all-around, especially with Juror #9. The product ends up being not very preachy, which is a considerable achievement given that it's built entirely around a simple parable.With the benefit of hindsight, though, one can see a few things about this that I personally find really disturbing.The question that drives the movie is whether the jurors have properly awarded the defendant the benefit of any <more>
reasonable doubt, and as the climax approaches, the attention given to this reaches a fevered pitch. Left behind in the dust, is the equally critical question of whether the defendant is really guilty. There's a scene early on when Jack Warden, the juror who just wants to get the voting over with so he can watch a ball game, meets Henry Fonda in the washroom. The last two lines in that scene discuss the possibility that the boy may be acquitted, even though he is guilty. Fonda says something to the effect of "that very well may be" or some such, and to my recollection this is the last time this possibility is even considered.The jury may have released a murderer onto the streets. You can make the argument that with the presence of reasonable doubt, this was their job. I agree. But as Henry Fonda walks down the courthouse steps to resume his everyday life as an architect, would it really then be fitting to have the happy "a wrong has been righted" swelling-orchestra music, as our hero walks proudly among his fellow citizens with his head held high? Doubt or no, conviction or no, this kind of peace-of-mind is not lying in wait for you after your last day on a real jury. There are jurors who want it anyway, and because of that, will not convict anyone. They have seen this movie, and want to be Henry Fonda. I've served with them. It's a pretty serious problem.There is a short speech given by Fonda shortly after he is revealed to be the one juror who wants to acquit. Several times in the speech he makes the point that the defendant is poor, has had a rough background, and has been beaten up a lot. It is not entirely clear where he is going with this, since the movie is supposed to be about what is reasonable doubt, and how the doubt applies regardless of economic class. There is at least one other juror who wants to convict because the defendant is poor; does Fonda mean to say with a defendant who was wealthier, he himself would have voted to convict? That doesn't seem likely at all. But then why bring it up? It means something to other jurors, but it isn't supposed to mean anything to Fonda. The only way it could support any of Fonda's arguments, is if he was making decisions based on the way those decisions made him feel about himself, rather than based on the evidence. This is something jurors aren't supposed to do.Four years after this movie was made, the Supreme Court defined the Exclusionary Rule in Mapp v. Ohio. So by this time, you weren't supposed to convict anyone unless you knew they were guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, and in addition to that, if you knew too much, then you still couldn't convict. During the sixties, conviction became such an unlikely goal even when the evidence seemed compelling, that a lot of District Attorneys refused to make arrests even though they knew a suspect posed a significant danger to society.By the seventies, Americans were so fed-up with the "justice system failing us" that they began turning politicians out of office in bulk, hoping against hope they could fix what was broken before their own children were murdered or their wives were raped. Between Vietnam and Watergate, this was a third salvo against our fragile faith in government, and it was an erosion of our trust that we don't talk about too much today.What really concerns me is that a little while after this film was made, with the poorest Americans being forced to live among violent people and thus becoming increasingly interested in vigilantism, suddenly we had a huge surge in movies about "Taking the law into your own hands." Dirty Harry, Death Wish, and countless made-for-TV projects. In summary, the pendulum swung in one direction, then a few years later, the other. Hollywood got to make money both times.I have trouble getting completely behind this film because it's a concentrated effort, ultimately a successful one, to get that pendulum swinging wildly. If we spent that relatively short amount of time, just fifteen years or so, leaving "revolution" out of it and reforming our justice system in baby steps, the mistakes of the past could have been avoided. I do not know if it was possible to fix what was broken back then, by doing this -- convictions weren't always carefully considered back in the 1950's & earlier. But a lot of innocent people would be alive today if all those violent felons, in subsequent years, were arrested like they should have been.I would say, if you're going to serve on a jury, by all means rent this because it's a very meticulous and passionate reminder of your civil duty, it makes some great points, and everything in this movie is highest-quality. But also on your required-viewing list would be Primal Fear, the Richard Gere movie. Better yet, watch that one last, so the final scene really sticks in your mind.Nobody should be serving on a jury, if they can't seriously consider the consequences of releasing people who are really guilty of violent crimes.
A bit overwrought, over-directed, but compelling nonetheless... (by moonspinner55)
Twelve-man jury decides the fate of a young man on trial for murder; eleven think the kid is guilty, the twelfth isn't so sure. Director Sidney Lumet makes his directorial debut here, and he's overly fond of riled-up actors shouting at the camera, but he doesn't stray from the proved path of this celebrated play by Reginald Rose, and that's a plus the material stands quite well on its own . The claustrophobic, muggy atmosphere is rife with tension, and Henry Fonda is a tower of sanity as the only voice of reason. The film attempts to substitute the electricity of a live <more>
performance with too many tight shots of angry, sweaty faces, spitting and yelling, however this ensemble cast has a rich anti-camaraderie that puts the film across. *** from ****