The Movie Twelve Angry Men Essay Sample
- Word count: 3847
- Category: film
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The Movie Twelve Angry Men Essay Sample
The Movie “Twelve Angry Men” is the ultimate example of a group of people forced to interact in order to reach a single, defined goal. The jury, which consists of 12 men, must deliberate until a unanimous decision is reached. In this specific example, which takes place in a New York courthouse, the decision holds the life of an 18 year old in the balance.
The movie is presented in a manner that allows the viewer to be the invisible jury member and sit in as they deliberate the fate of the defendant. The first vote is 11 to 1, finding the defendant guilty. The 12 men ride a rollercoaster of emotions as it finally ends in a unanimous decision.
Throughout the paper I will analyze and elaborate on relationships and personalities that arise throughout the groups interactions. The report will follow the group as each person is forced to deal with one another. Ultimately I will explain how and why they arrived at the surprising verdict that they do.
The case is one in which an 18 year old is charged with murder in the first degree for the death of his father, by way of stabbing him. The viewer is privy to no direct testimony of any kind. We are educated through the deliberations of the jurors as they discuss the case. The judge is quick to point out just how severe the punishment will be for such a charge and reminds the jurors that the decision of guilty must be found so that there is not a single bit of doubt. Once informed as to what their duties are, the two alternate jurors are dismissed and the remaining twelve men are shown into a small conference room.
The room is so that there is a single table in the center surrounded by chairs along with a few chairs randomly placed against the wall. The room is filled with a drab sense of emptiness with three windows opening to the view of the city. The jury is dressed in noticeably similar attire, with all but two wearing a tie and the majority wearing a sports coat as well.
Once in the room many of the members light up a cigarette, noticeably affecting nobody. Made very clear by the manner of most of the jurors, the temperature in the room is uncomfortably hot. Some men immediately head towards the closed windows and open them, while others quickly find a seat.
I will refer to the twelve jurors by their assigned number throughout the paper. A brief and simplistic description of each is given below in the order that they are seated and a chart showing the seating chart is attached and should be utilized throughout.
1. The Foreman – Assistant Coach
2. Bank Teller – Wears Glasses
3. Owner of Messenger Service
4. Stock-Broker – Wears Glasses, Never Sweats
5. Man from Slums
6. House Painter – No tie
7. Salesman – Baseball fan
9. The old man
10. Garage Owner – sick
11. Watchmaker – mustache
12. Advertising Man – glasses
Each member will be discussed and the characteristics that each posses will be addressed. Frameworks will be applied to different situations and individuals throughout. The report will be presented in a manner that correlates with the votes that are had and the discussions that take place before and after the vote.
The discussions begin with the Foreman of the group instructing everyone to sit according to their juror number. After quiet, the suggestion is brought forward that they do a vote to see where everyone stands. The preliminary vote is 11 to 1 in the favor of a guilty verdict. Juror number 8 is the lone individual that votes, not guilty. He is instantaneously shown aggression by Jurors 3,4, 7, and 10.
The first interaction that the four of them have is in such a manner that tension is easily noticed. Jurors 3, 7, and 10 refer to the defendant with names such as “the guilty” and “murderer”, they have already as made evident by their votes decided that the defendant is guilty of the accused murder.
The three jurors take turns readdressing the “facts” that they were presented and reaffirming that these are the facts and prove nothing, but the boys guilt. They are not receptive to any ideas opposing their own or the “facts” that they have accepted, meaning Juror number 8’s position that he has doubt as the defendant’s guilt. Juror 8 has stated that he is simply not sure of the defendant’s guilt. He says and is able to convince the others that he simply wants to talk about it for an hour.
8 begins his explanation of why he thinks the way he does by telling of the defendant’s childhood, in which he frequented foster homes and was the known victim of abuse. All this, while his father was serving time in jail for forgery. Juror 8 is appealing to the others human compassion side in describing the child’s rough childhood and upbringing.
He pleads to the other jurors to simply give the boy a chance, for the first time in his life. This attempt at touching the others has gotten 3 to get out of his seat and move closer to 8 holding a picture. 3 continues talk of his son and his raising of him and how their relationship has been affected.
The manner with which the man is speaking and his facial expressions make it painfully obvious that he has some great sadness when speaking of his son and even says that he has not heard from him in two years. Juror 10 is quick to point out that “we” do not owe him a thing.
He was in fact lucky to get a trial with lawyer that was paid for by the city. 4 jumps in to elaborate on the idea that nothing good comes from the slum and the slums are notorious for creating humans of no worth and utter social problems causers. This statement immediately gets backing from juror 3 and the two begin to discuss the class of people that the defendant has come from. The words “they”, “those people”, and “them” are used repeatedly in describing how this certain class/group of people act and the kind of people they are.
With this heated discussion being brought about there is one juror that is made noticeably uncomfortable. Juror number 5 appears to be holding in his tongue until he can no longer bear it. He burst out at Jurors 3 and 10 that he is too one of “them” and you may be able to “still smell the trash on him”.
He has taken personal offense to what the men have been saying about the “class” of people the defendant comes from and the type of people that “they” are. The manner with which he confronts the two gentlemen is very calm and reserved; though it is obvious he is offended. The other jurors jump in and persuade him to calm down; there was nothing personal meant by the comments. It is clear that the damage is done, but they are able to move on.
The Foreman attempts to get the get the group back on track and is ridiculed by 10. This immediately causes the Forman to confront 10 about his duties as the foreman and explains that he would be more than happy to allow someone else to take over the position. 10 quickly retracts his statement and the rest of the group assures 1 that he is doing an excellent job as the Foreman.
8 begins to speak again, this time suggesting a conspiracy theory. He suggests that the counsel working for the defendant has done an unacceptable job in their representation. He talks of the possibility that they made errors, some even intentionally in order to present a weak defense. The others are quick to refuse this viewpoint, stating that it is their job and they are dealing with the facts. Juror 12 states that he is unable to know without a doubt that the counsel did as best that they could because it is not an exact science.
With this statement he realizes that he has just confirmed 8’s suggestion that nobody can be 100% positive of anything. Talks then move back to the facts and evidence that had been presented, specifically the murder weapon. The knife is brought in for examination and talk turns to how the knife was presented as being rare and that the defendant was known for being familiar with knives.
After much discussion 8 reveals a knife of the exact same style to the group. Taken back by the unexpected revealing, the groups is shocked. Some are angry and feel betrayed, while others have looks of disbelief. 8 again and more emphatically states that he is not sure either way, but he believes that there is a possibility that the murder did not happen exactly as presented to them. Some are still a bit riled from the revelation of the other knife, but stand firm in their original verdicts.
The statement is made that “there are still eleven of us that thinks he’s guilty” by 3 followed by 10’s question “what do you think you’ll accomplish? If you want to be stubborn and hang this jury then go right ahead.” * then offers to vote again, but this time privately and he will abstain from voting. If there are still eleven votes for a guilty he will change his vote to guilty and they will be done.
Vote 1 analysis
There are many relationships and characteristics that materialize following the preliminary vote and I will address and discuss a few of the prominent characters.
Juror 1 – Juror 1 is the Foreman, which apparently along with the title, carries some responsibility. A conflict arises with 1 feeling threatened and ridiculed by 10 and 12 and makes it evident that the position of Foreman was not one that he requested. He quickly offers up the position to either man.
Nobody in the room desires to have the responsibility that comes along with the position, and this is made quite evident once he offers it to anyone. Thus far he has done a satisfactory job interacting with the group in a manner that has allowed him to voice his opinion as well as maintain some type of supervisory control over the collective group. He constantly has to refocus the group on why they are there and he is the one that has stepped in to quell conflicts when they appear to be reaching a fevered pitch.
Juror 3 – From the beginning 3 has been very talkative and has made his beliefs pertaining to the guilt of the defendant very evident. One of the most boisterous members of the jury he is constantly hovering around the room in an intimidating fashion. He has at this point gained control over 2 in the manner with which he tells 2 what to do and when to do it.
He has made his feelings that the defendant is clearly guilty, public knowledge numerous times, as well as making it quite apparent that there is no hope in him changing his mind. 3 is constantly dealing with the facts and accepts them in only a manner that backs his verdict of guilty up. 8’s revealing of the other knife was taken as an insult by 3. 3 also joined up with 10 and 4 in the classifying of “those” people that come from the slums. This has created an obvious rift between 5 and himself.
The softer more compassionate side of 3 is revealed when he is speaking of his son and the broken relationship that has had with him throughout his life. Even once the topic is passed he can be seen admiring the picture of his boy for some time.
Juror 4 – The stockbroker is made out to be very calm and unbreakable in the beginning with the mention of his lack of perspiration. He is constantly brining up the “facts” that were discussed in court and accepts them to be unquestionable facts. He is not open to any other way to look at them, especially one that would go against his vote of guilty. He along with jurors 3 and 10 have made it very apparent as to what they think of people that are from areas of poverty and the burden that they have on society. This notion has set him at odds with 5.
Juror 5 – This juror has been for the most part quiet throughout the early discussions. That was until the discussion began to affect him personally. Early in the deliberation he passed on an opportunity to state why he believed that the defendant was guilty, as he had voted so.
The voice of 5 was finally heard when jurors 10, 3, and 4 began attacking “those” people that were from the slums and the fact that “they” brought no good to society. 5 took these comments personally as he was from those areas of poverty, as he shared with the group. The group was quick to calm him down by saying that there was nothing personally meant by the insensitive statements. He was visibly infuriated with the men, but was able to calm himself quickly.
Juror 7 – The baseball fan has been caught many times looking at his watch and then rolling his eyes. He provides the group with some entertainment at times, but his clear focus to get out in time to go to the baseball quick game. He made sure that everyone new of the tickets at he very start of the process. He immediately confronts 8, challenging him on his vote of not guilty. He again, goes over the facts that were presented to them in the courtroom. His main focus was the child’s youth in which he had already been convicted of a few minor crimes and his stays in foster homes. He makes it very apparent that by 8 voting against the others that the process will be held up and is an inconvenience to him.
Juror 8 – The lone person to vote not guilty in the preliminary vote is from the start set apart from the group. He seems to be in a daydream looking out of the window before the discussions even begin. He has tried to work on the compassionate sides of the others as he pleads for them to give the boy a chance, a chance that he has never been given in his life before.
He refrains from stating that the boy is not guilty, he simply says that there is some doubt as to whether he did and as to whether the crime was even carried out as described in the case. He has been able to keep calm, even when being attacked by the others in the room. He seems to have a knack of going after one juror at a time. He is able to determine what angle to go with for each person when trying to put some form of doubt in his minds about a certain aspect of the case. Prior to the second vote he offers to essentially forfeit his vote if all eleven of the other jurors can agree to still vote guilty. At this point one is not sure if he is caving or if he is up to up to something.
Juror 9 – The obvious elder in the group has remained quiet for the majority of the deliberation. The few times that he has spoken up have been to stick up for another jury member’s rights. He hasn’t yet chosen a hard line to stand on.
Juror 10 – 10 is obviously suffering from a cold, which is clearly stated in this first section. The coughing seems to be quite a nuisance to the others in the room, though not a single person seems to be bothered by the incessant smoking. From the beginning he leaves no doubt that he stands firm in his belief that the defendant is guilty. The leader in the discussion referring to the people in slums as “those people”, “them”, and “they” he quickly lets his preconceived notions out. He is very boisterous and outspoken causing confrontations to occur with jurors 1, 5, 8, and 9.
Vote 2 Analysis
The second vote is carried out with the idea that if everyone except for juror 8 votes guilty he will change his vote to agree with everyone others. The vote ends up to be 10 to 1, making the total 10 for guilty and 2 for non-guilty. The result means that 8 has gotten his way and the group will be forced to continue deliberations. There are many that voice their displeasure with the unknown person that has changed their vote. 3 accuses 5 of changing his voice and directly challenges his character. 5 rightfully so gets upset with the personal attack, stating that 3 has no right to talk to him in such a manner.
Surprisingly 9 stands up and states that it was not 5 who changed his vote, but rather himself. He is quick to give his reasoning, in it being that he simply believes that the defendant and juror 8 for that matter, deserves to have their story heard. He does at this time also admit that he is not so sure if all that they were told in the courtroom is true.
From here the discussion again reverts to the “facts” that they were presented, this time pertaining especially to the witness accounts. After elaborating on each witnesses account and re-enacting the scenario, 8 is again able to place some doubt in more jurors. He may not be proving anything to be absolutely wrong, but he is proving that there is definite other options and nothing is certain. At this time juror 5 changes his vote to not guilty, making the tally 9 to 3 in favor of a guilty verdict.
The rest of the jurors begin to go over the facts and the fine points of each one of them. By 8 being willing ask questions he has encouraged others to question what they have been told and more importantly question how they view what they have been told. With each and every member becoming involved in the recapping of stories it is becoming very evident that they are beginning to look harder into what they thought they knew.
The faces on the men are beginning to change even with those that at one point were so firm in their stance it seemed impossible to sway them. A theme is beginning to reveal itself the deeper that the deliberations go. The word “maybe” is becoming prevalent every single time a fact is addressed in the group. 3 again gets very disruptive in his manner of speaking. 8, who is calling for another vote, interrupts him.
The third vote of the deliberations is completed with the vote ending in an 8 to 4 count in favor of a guilty verdict. Immediately those standing strong in their guilty verdict return to the facts. This time the focus is on the witness’s reports of how the incident was seen and reported. After a re-enactment proved that the story told as a fact was most likely not completely true.
This being apparent to everyone it causes some people to be infuriated. The incongruence with themselves is getting to the boiling point. 3’s anger is obvious and he acknowledges that he would like to pull the switch on the kid himself. He has taken the case to a personal level. 8 is quick to point this out to the entire group causing 3 to get infuriated and go after 8 claiming that he would “kill him”. As mentioned before, people use this term quite often; it doesn’t mean that they would actually kill a person. The obvious situation that has been created is now apparent to every person in the room and silence takes over for the first time. At this time 6 hesitantly calls for another vote.
The vote is carried out in an open matter and results in a 6 to 6 tally, leaving the jury split evenly. Once again, those that stand in their belief that the defendant is without a question guilty voice their disgust for those that have changed their votes. At this time the room has become noticeably darker and it begins to rain. The setting is very telling of the mood in the room.
They have been discussing this case for hours already and are now split on the verdict. People are evidently beginning to lose hope and peoples facades are beginning to vanish as their real being shows through the frustration. At this point there are now personal sentiments being shared between groups of people showing how they have become comfortable with each other. The motion is again made to re-vote.
Vote five sees the first notable sway in votes with the vote resulting in a 3 to 9 count with the majority standing for an acquittal. The three jurors that now stand-alone are 3, 4, and 10. Juror 3 now goes off on a tangent again referring to the class of people that he defendant was raised from.
As he is preaching again that the fact of his childhood environment alone is enough to find him guilty all but 1 member of the jury gets up from the seat and turns from him. Everyone has noticeably singled him out, but one in the room, even those that once stood on his side. Once he has calmed down he finds himself sitting alone at a desk while everyone else has again seated themselves at the table. Once again 4 begins to go over the facts again stating them for his simple reason that his vote will not be changed.
During his talking 9 notices marks on his nose from the eyeglasses and recalls that the woman had the same distinct marks. Once this has been brought to the attention of the group every single person acknowledges that he woman must have worn glasses. The point is driven further by 9 and 8 that those that wear glasses do not wear them to bed; this point is confirmed by 4. From here his vote is changed along with 10’s vote leaving 3 as the lone person voting for the defendant’s guilt.
After a bit more questioning from the group and him realizing that the majority was now against him and had very valid points he was emotionally broken. A picture of his son has the ultimate affect on the man and he breaks down in tears stating that he now votes not guilty.
The human relationships that were literally forced on the twelve members of the jury are extraordinary to study. In a matter of hours the group goes from one extreme to another with relationships being built, both positive and negative. In the end you were able to truly see who each juror was and throughout the story you became extremely familiar with him or her and their personal life.