Twelve Angry Men

Twelve Angry Men is a 1957 film starring Henry Fonda.  The plot is centered around twelve members of society who are called to perform jury duty to decide whether a teenager committed murder.  When the members of the jury initially vote, all of them vote the child guilty of the crime except one man.  The man asks that everyone look at all of the evidence and the facts one more time before deciding the boy’s fate.  The jurors are all reluctant but eventually agree to give the entire case some thought.  The conversations that take place as a result of analyzing the case change the mind of some of the jurors.

The beauty of Twelve Angry Men is watching how these jurors interact with each other and learn about each other in this confined space.  In the end, I cared more about the mutual respect these people gained for each other’s opinions than I did the verdict of this child’s innocence or guilt.  Watching these jurors work through this case is brilliant.  The sheer number of ways they slowly prove the victim’s innocence is spellbinding.  This film works because of how Henry Fonda plays his particular juror.  The way he slowly cajoles everyone into reviewing the evidence is priceless.  Each juror has their own characteristic that clashes with Fonda’s style of doing jury duty.  The most captivating moment is the final person who has been stuck in his ways the entire time admitting that he might be wrong and breaking down into a heap of sadness and regret.  The scene like the actual case just stays with you.  This film is a timeless classic because it is about a man who stuck to his convictions and worked with the system to free someone who had the system working against them.

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