The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the events of Vietnam, Watergate, and other historical events unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75, whose only desire is to be reunited with his childhood sweetheart.
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.Written by
Both this film and its source material are often used in teaching mid-to-upper levels of English in overseas schools and courses, and excerpts from the play are included in some textbooks. Language courses often require exercises in which the students can practice explaining, comparing and discussing a variety of qualities on any subject, and this film presents them amply: A multitude of varying characters (polite 11, thoughtful 9, biased 10, etc) varying approaches (stubborn 3, open-minded 2, uninterested 7, methodical 4, etc) varying personalities (weak 1, meek 2, aggressive 10, annoying 12, etc) all kinds of reactions, facial expressions, etc. The language used by certain characters is also the subject of discussion points in classes about how to express oneself in certain situations, such as 4's diplomatic expression of "It's no secret that children from slum backgrounds are potential menaces to society" versus 10's very rude "The kids who crawl out of these places are real trash" while they are essentially trying to say the same thing. See more »
The film is implied to take place on the East Coast of the United States, based upon the baseball teams that the jurors mention. Also, one of the jurors (Juror 12, played by Robert Webber) asks Juror 8 (played by Henry Fonda) whether they can see Manhattan's Woolworth Building from the jury room window, which Juror 8 affirms. The opening/exterior shot of the court house is that of the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan at 60 Centre Street. See more »
Man in corridor:
You did a wonderful job, wonderful job!
To continue, you've listened to a long and complex case, murder in the first degree. Premeditated murder is the most serious charge tried in our criminal courts. You've listened to the testimony, you've had the law read to you and interpreted as it applies in this case, it's now your duty to sit down and try to separate the facts from the fancy. One man is dead, another man's life is at stake, if there's a reasonable doubt in your minds as to...
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At the end of the film, the actors are billed in order of their juror numbers; thus Henry Fonda, although the star of the film, appears 8th. See more »
Intense courtroom drama which has 12 very different people, all males, struggling with a murder case involving a young Puerto Rican boy that seems cut-and-dried. However, juror Henry Fonda does not believe it to be as sure-fire as it appears. He votes not guilty and what follows is a chain of events that will test the views, beliefs and thoughts of the other 11 members. Fonda is great, but Lee J. Cobb steals every scene (and that is not easy to do in a film like this). Ed Begley, Martin Balsam, Jack Warden, Jack Klugman, Joseph Sweeney, E.G. Marshall and John Fiedler are among the other individuals caught in a situation that is much more difficult than it appears on the surface. An excellent character-study that should be studied and embraced by all present and future film-makers. 5 stars out of 5.
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