12 Angry Men/YMMV

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search


  • Adaptation Displacement: Originally a 1954 teleplay for CBS' Studio One anthology series, it is now best known for its later adaptations as a stage play and film.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The defendant - innocent man or murderer? For all of the doubt the jury casts on the prosecution's case, there's still plenty of reason for the audience to conclude that he's guilty. This was done deliberately, of course; even Juror #8 admits that he isn't sure that they aren't about to set a murderer free.
    • If Lawyers are to be believed, there's a good chance he really was innocent. If he really did buy the knife in order to kill someone with it, he wouldn't have gone around showing it to anyone.
      • Unless he really is that dumb, which for all we know he may very well be. Really, one of the best things about the film is its ambiguity on the guilty-innocent front. Think about it: how many screenwriters can you name who wouldn't have made the mistake of letting the audience know at the beginning or end what the reality of the situation is? Especially if it had come out nowadays, when Hollywood considers "ambiguity" a dirty word.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Ridiculous amounts, such as when Juror #4 states outright that the murder weapon, a switchblade knife, was one-of-a-kind, with a very distinctively carved handle, and finishes his rant by ramming it blade first into the juror table, Juror #8 pulls an identical switchblade from his pocket, flicks open the blade, and rams his knife into the table right next to the original. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: By the end of at least one of the movie adaptations, jurors 3 and 8 seem to be getting along. In a way, these two had a lot in common throughout the play; each pushed for the verdict they believed in, each believed in their respective verdicts more strongly than arguably everyone else on the jury, and each were willing to go against the rest of the jury to support said verdict. It would seem somewhat fitting they would eventually get along better once the deliberations were over.
  • Role Association for the 1997 TV Movie version: Felix Unger has to convince jury foreman ADA Carver, blue collar everyman Tony Soprano, foreign watchmaker Bill Adama, ad man Gil Grissom, frustrated baseball fan Tony Miceli, infuriated racist Brian Hastings, elderly Polonius, ultra-precise Efraim 'Eli' Zahavy, Martian Manhunter, (remake) Dr. Dolittle's dad, and the particularly antagonistic Gen. Patton to consider that the kid they're sentencing for murder might not be guilty. With Laura Roslin as the judge.
    • Also, in the original version, Juror 2 is....Piglet?
  • Tear Jerker: When Juror #3 finally realizes what he's doing; he tears up the picture of him and his son and just breaks down crying.
    • The DVD release of the film manages to make it even worse with the chapter titles. The title of the chapter containing Juror #3's Villainous Breakdown? "One Angry Man".
  • Vindicated by History: The critics in 1957 were rooting for Lumet's movie version, but the public wasn't interested and the movie failed at the box office. 12 Angry Men has since earned a place in pop culture rivalled (aside from To Kill a Mockingbird) by no other courtroom drama--plus a spot on AFI's 100 Years. . .100 Thrills list. No mean feat for a non-action adventure film.