7.8/10
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90 user 19 critic

12 Angry Men (1997)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama | TV Movie 17 August 1997
Twelve men must decide the fate of one when one juror objects to the jury's decision.

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »

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Storyline

Made for cable television remake of the 1957 classic about twelve jurors quick to condemn a Latino youth on trial for murdering his father before reviewing the evidence. Juror #8 holds out with a verdict of not guilty, thus setting the stage for arguments and reasons why or why not the boy may be guilty. Written by Humberto Amador

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jury | trial | remake | guilty | not guilty | See All (69) »

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Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language | See all certifications »

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17 August 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Douze hommes en colère  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In this updated version, the line referring to the electric chair and pulling the switch was changed to "give him the needle" referring to lethal injection since the electric chair is no longer used in capital punishment cases. See more »

Goofs

Several scenes in the jury room have Juror #12 (William Petersen) with a pair of sunglasses on his head, off his head, and back on his head again. See more »

Quotes

Juror #8: Suppose we're wrong.
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Connections

Referenced in Behind the Rules of Engagement (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

A fairly good remake featuring multitalented performers that are not optimally used
2 October 2004 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

The hardest part of reviewing a remake is avoiding comparing it to the original. The same holds true here.

The story behind "12 Angry Men" is one of the greatest of our time and is a must-see for all, whether it is on stage, on TV, or in the movie theater. I personally think the 1957 original is the best made, but the fact that that was the first version I saw and that that is the "classic" version has probably made me a tad bit biased.

That all being said, this made-for-TV version of the story is done well. Unfortunately, it does, in every way, feel like a made-for-TV movie, which is unfortunate considering the immense talent pool of the cast (made up of everyone from old legends like George C. Scott, Ossie Davis, and Jack Lemmon to newer stars like Tony Danza, Courtney B. Vance, Mykelti Williamson, James Gandolfini, and Edward James Olmos). Each of these men is capable of doing a great deal more than they show in this movie. It feels almost like they are forcing themselves to act and so the performances are not believable. In short, nobody ever really gets "into character."

Part of the reason might be because so many of the actors do not personally reflect their characters. For example, Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott both look significantly older than "the old man" (Juror #9). Edward James Olmos is supposed to play "the foreigner," but Armin Mueller-Stahl, the man playing the wealthy and dignified Juror #4, speaks with a very noticeable German accent.

Even though I wanted to avoid it, I think I will do a point-by-point critique of the actors' performances based on how their characters were designed and based, somewhat, on the nearly flawless performances in the 1957 classic: Juror #1 - Courtney B. Vance does a fairly good job, but his delivery is not very natural at all. Juror #2 - Ossie Davis is a very talented actor and plays his role well. The only possible bone I have to pick is that his character is supposed to be a meek young man, whereas Ossie Davis plays as a meek, older man. Juror #3 - George C. Scott is an acting legend and plays the character as well, though he plays the role very angrily and, I think, not sarcastically enough. In some places, he overdoes it. But still, I can see Lee J. Cobb's performance in him. Juror #4 - Well done performance by Armin Mueller-Stahl; just the accent issue. Juror #5 - Dorian Harewood, another good actor. Problem: his character is supposed to start off shy and slowly gain some aggression. Harewood's character is aggressive from the get-go. Juror #6 - James Gandolfini plays his part well. Not much to criticize. Juror #7 - Not bad, Tony Danza. Jack Warden, we must admit, is much better at playing a loud-mouth like Juror #7 than Tony Danza, partly because Warden speaks so loudly anyway. Juror #8 - Jack Lemmon is another acting legend, but his acting here seems tired and forced. It's not as natural as Henry Fonda's performance in the classic version. Juror #9 - The "old man" is not old enough, plain and simple. (Actually, his age is fine. It's just that everyone else is too old and it makes him look young.) Juror #10 - Okay, Mykelti Williamson simply does not cut it when it comes to Ed Begley's original, hateful bigot. Williamson plays more of a I'm-mad-at-the-whole-world-just-because character than a bigot. Juror #11 - Awesome job by Edward James Olmos, comparable to the original. Juror #12 - Also a fairly good job by William Petersen (of "CSI" fame). Again, not as good as Robert Webber's original, but still good.

Okay, I didn't want to have to do that, but I did. So sue me. :)

Now that I've shown that this version does not compare with the original, I will compliment it enough to say that it is still worth watching. It features a class of good albeit under-used actors and the story is the most important part. The exploration of humanity and the jury process and our biases and human nature and so much more can all be seen in the story of "12 Angry Men."


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