Saturday, May 11, 2013

Random Movie Review: 12 Angry Men

12 Angry Men (1957)
Starring: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley

Every once in a while I come across a 'classic' (or at least highly regarded) movie that I don't know much about. This one is top ten in the 'Imdb top 250' and on several other must-see lists that I came across.

The movie starts off in a courtroom during the closing remarks of the trial of a young man on trial for murder. The jury then goes in to the deliberation room to make a decision on his fate, which it is pointed out will be execution if the decision is guilty. The 12 men of the jury sit at a table and hold a vote to see where they sit. After 11 guilty votes, one man (Henry Fonda) says he isn't sure and thinks they should at least talk it over before ending the man's life. He presents his doubts about the case to the other men and the numbers slowly begin to swing. The more they question about the evidence and testimony of the witnesses, the more votes begin to turn from guilty to not guilty, until eventually there are just a few stubborn men left. At that point, you start to see the various why the stubborn men feel the way they do.

The movie takes a great look at prejudice of different kinds. The men of the jury are so quick to believe the young man is guilty because of his race, the part of town he lives in and events from his past. They are unwilling to allow for the chance he might not have done it and some take a good deal of convincing. The term 'reasonable doubt' is well addressed, as Ford's character explains how some things might not be so certain when you take a closer look at it.

I thought this was an excellent film and I am glad I stumbled across it. I am making a concerted effort to visit more old films, especially ones of this ilk. I give this an 8.75/10.

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