Fun 12 ANGRY MEN: The Wrong Verdict?

Was the Right Verdict Reached at the End of the Film?

  • Yes

    Votes: 6 85.7%
  • No

    Votes: 1 14.3%
  • I don't know

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters

Janine The Barefoot

Wacky Norwegian Woman
I do find that, once I start watching this movie, I feel compelled to watch all of it. A tribute to the master-craftsmanship of the acting, writing and directing.
I agree wholeheartedly and will also say that, in this particular case, even the TV remake was extraordinary and compelling. It is a fabulous story and a wonderful script. It's a film that transcends time and consistently has something new to teach an attentive viewer!


Member: Rank 2
Another theory I have read, which I think is beautiful in it's dramatic irony, is that Henry Fonda's character is destined to be the next victim of the same young man.
Most patricidal or matricidal cases tend to be situational: in other words, there has to be a severely dysfunctional relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. Add to that, a specifically heated moment where emotions prevail over rationality.

For the aftermath about Fonda's character eventually being murdered to work, the boy would have to have developed serial killer-type tendencies, which are much rarer than "ordinary" murderers. I guess it can be easier to commit a murder if you've done it before without any legal repercussions, because a desensitization process takes place and numbs your conscience.

However, there still has to be a plausible motive: Assuming that the two of them never get into contact and build a friendship/become acquaintances, the only reason I can think of is financial gain. If he is desperate enough to make ends meet, then I can certainly see him killing Fonda at some point.

But other than that, the complexity of the human mind means that murders can be isolated events which the perpetrators never repeat for the rest of their lives.
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Member: Rank 5
I do find that, once I start watching this movie, I feel compelled to watch all of it. A tribute to the master-craftsmanship of the acting, writing and directing.
Yes - and in addition: my local am-dram company once produced a stage version. Excellent show, because it's a gripping story with a very effective group of characters. Watching it live, though, in a pros arch theatre, is a default masterclass of film-making: camera angles, close-ups and other effects that make a one-room, 12 characters scenario very fluid, dynamic and suspenseful. A story that benefits from being filmed rather than live- so maybe a rarity


Member: Rank 2
The sad truth of this movie and our judicial system is that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. I had this point proven outright by a speech Prof. of mine who had a guy come into our class and talk to her for about 5 minutes or so and then turn around and leave. A bit of time afterwards, she asked the class to describe him and everyone gave a different description of his appearance. Not to toot my own horn but I have always been a person with almost perfect recall for things that are out of the ordinary (as was his appearance in our class) and so was able to describe any number of characteristics of his such as height, approx. weight, clothing and the color and type of briefcase he was carrying and set at his feet while they conversed. But even she said that this almost never happens and yet still convicts more people than hard data such as DNA, fingerprints and bloody clothing. Anais Nin once said that: "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." making the point that everything we view gets filtered by the lens of our own experiences. Which is ultimately what makes "reasonable doubt" so imperative.

As to the man who saw the kid fleeing the apt. after the argument and after the father screamed, I regularly leave the room after or even during a loud and angry shouting match with my husband and fleeing an argument does not make you guilty of anything more than not wanting to stay in a high tension situation where you feel both hostility and fear... it's called "fight or flight" and most people choose "flight". Since the old man wasn't in the apartment he had no way of knowing if "dad" was still alive when the boy left.

Furthermore, the kid and his father lived in a part of town where switchblades are common purchases and the fact that he bought one himself doesn't prove that he used it on his father. Neither does the "I'm going to kill you" comment as, really, how many teenagers haven't said that to a parent at one time or another? The only thing the loss of the knife proves is the kid might be guilty of carelessness and/or stupidity. People lose things all the time. Hell, haven't you ever locked yourself out of your own car because you forgot the keys were in it?

Also, honestly... I couldn't tell you what I watched last night on TV much less what I was wearing because the brain often discards information it deems irrelevant for long-term storage and this happens regularly to people of all ages in all kinds of circumstances. I too have forgotten a movie (any number of them in fact) I walked out of several hours later either because it wasn't any good or because something else of much greater importance presented itself to me and ended up leaving me unable to remember most of what happened before that life-changing information slapped me upside the head, turning my brain to mush.

As to the woman and her view through a passing train... it was dark, trains move quickly and she was across the street! Given the circumstances, she probably saw what she expected to see, accurate or not. TV and newspaper stories regularly cause people to form opinions based on what they are told, creating a picture in the mind that may not actually be true to what they saw or heard.

Finally, as a jury member in an assault and battery case I can say quite certainly that the police who testified against the defendant after arriving on the scene ended up inadvertently admitting that the one of them who was inside the house was still not in a position to see everything that took place while they were there. The other was outside during part of the incident and neither could testify to what actually happened before they arrived at the house. So, since both parties involved were obviously injured enough to warrant a 911 call, it came down to a case of "he said, she said" without any real physical evidence to support either claim and no witnesses who could state with complete authority that they saw. Certainly not enough to prove what actually took place. Since the prosecutor didn't ask the single cop who was in the house where he was and what his line of sight included we came to the conclusion that there wasn't enough evidence of any kind to prove who started what or why. When we asked the judge for a point of clarification, we were told that the only information we were allowed to use was what was presented during the trial. Information that was questionable enough that none of us felt comfortable turning in a guilty verdict.

And I'm not saying the kid was innocent. What I'm saying is the burden of proof is on the prosecution and reasonable doubt exists for exactly that reason. Because in the end, if you don't have enough hard evidence to convict then you are required to return a verdict of "not guilty". Which is in no way the same as saying "innocent". The institution of DNA evidence has cleared any number of men on death row who were put there based on eyewitness testimony that, while compelling, should never be enough to risk the life of any member of our society all by itself.... people see what they want to see and/or what they expected to have seen based on the circumstances of any given situation. It's one of the reasons that many police forces have mounted cameras on the dashboards of police cars. Hell, even football games occasionally rely on the "instant replay" because referees regularly make mistakes in their calls.

"Probably guilty" should never be the standard by which anyone is judged.
Very well stated. Kudos.

Doctor Omega

Just looking at the above poll votes for whether the right verdict was reached....

5 votes say it was the correct verdict....

1 vote says it was the wrong verdict!

To quote the movie....

Boy oh boy! There's always one!


Doctor Omega

Blimey! Look what I just found! :emoji_confused:

This is the original version of Twelve Angry Men, broadcast live on September 20, 1954, as part of the CBS-TV anthology series Studio One.

The first production of this now iconic drama, it was believed lost for half a century. Miraculously, a kinesecope was discovered in 2003.

Written by Reginald Rose, directed by Franklin Schaffner, and starring Robert Cummings. All three would win Emmy awards for their work here.

The cast:

Norman Fell -- Foreman
John Beal -- Juror #2
Franchot Tone -- Juror #3
Walter Abel -- Juror #4
Lee Philips -- Juror #5
Bart Burns -- Juror #6
Paul Hartman -- Juror #7
Robert Cummings -- Juror #8
Joseph Sweeney -- Juror #9
Edward Arnold -- Juror #10
George Voskovec -- Juror #11
Will West aka Larkin Ford -- Juror #12
Vincent Gardenia -- Bailiff

Sweeney and Voskovec would go on to reprise their roles in the 1957 film.

Before it was on the stage or a 1957 movie, "Twelve Angry Men" was a live teleplay on CBS Studio One. The film kinescope copy, thought to be lost until found a few years ago, is cleaned and restored to the original frame rate of live television, so you may see what it looked like when originally broadcast live.

This project was one of the more difficult of projects, due to the dirty film and poor sound quality on the soundtrack. Commercials are inserted from a show of the same season, as the originals are not on the film. This production was obviously one of "close quarters." See if you can notice various cameras moving in and out of the edge of the picture from time to time.

For Best results watch in 60p by selecting it from the YouTube video settings.


Doctor Omega

Am about due for my yearly watch of this classic, but am tempted to give the original tv version a whirl. Have yet to see that one properly.