The jurors in a murder trial take their seats in a small, drab room to decide the defendant's fate. At first, all the men vote guilty bar one, who still has many questions not answered in ... See full summary »

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(as Franklin Schaffner)

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(written especially for Studio One by)
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
...
Juror #8
...
Juror #3
...
Juror #10
Paul Hartman ...
Juror #7
John Beal ...
Juror #2
...
Juror #4
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Juror #11
Joseph Sweeney ...
Juror #9
Bart Burns ...
Juror #6
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Juror #1 / Foreman (as Norman Feld)
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Juror #5 (as Lee Phillips)
Larkin Ford ...
Juror #12 (as Will West)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Herself / Commercial Spokeswoman
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Storyline

The jurors in a murder trial take their seats in a small, drab room to decide the defendant's fate. At first, all the men vote guilty bar one, who still has many questions not answered in court. Through theories and re-enactments, others change their minds, but one man is adamant that he'll never change his vote and won't listen to reason. Written by WesternOne

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Drama

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Release Date:

20 September 1954 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For many years this episode was thought to have been lost. The Museum of Television and Radio (now the Paley Center) had only the first 30 minutes of the hour-long program on a kinescope provided by CBS - the only version CBS had. After nearly 30 years of searching, a copy of the complete program was found in 2003 by filmmaker Joseph Consentino, who was working on a documentary about noted defense attorney Robert Leibowitz (Leibowitz reported on the Charles A. Lindbergh baby kidnapping for the NY radio station WHN) and found a copy of the show in the archives maintained by the children of Leibowitz, Robert Leibowitz and Marjorie Leibowitz Finch. Samuel Leibowitz requested and received a commercial-free kinescope copy of "Twelve Angry Men" from CBS shortly after it aired because of his interest in legal issues. The Leibowitz children donated the kinescope to the museum and it had a re-premiere in May 2003. See more »

Goofs

Right after the "you're a very smart young fellow" line, when the frame changes, watch the far right side of the screen. A large camera with the CBS "eye" logo is visible in plain sight. See more »

Connections

Version of 12 (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Introduction from "Le Coq d' Or"
Music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
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User Reviews

 
Taut and Compelling Premiere of the Classic Play
23 March 2016 | by (London) – See all my reviews

There's a great temptation to make comparisons between Reginald Rose's first version of the classic play, premiered in CBS's STUDIO ONE anthology series and Sidney Lumet's film released three years later. Other reviewers have made detailed studies of the two films, so it would be repetitive of me to do so here.

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, a veteran of STUDIO ONE who would subsequently carve out a film career, this TWELVE ANGRY MEN brings out the claustrophobic surroundings of the jury-room. All twelve jurors are cooped up in a confined space on a hot evening, unable to escape until they have made a decision. They do not know one another, but they are expected to work as a team to reach a unanimous verdict. The sheer strain of reaching consensus proves too much for them; through an intelligent use of closeups focusing on the jurors' expressions, Schaffner makes us aware of just how stressed they actually are. Hence it comes as no surprise to find them continually moving around the confined space - sitting down, standing up, walking around in circles, moving towards and away from the camera, and finding a brief refuge at the back of the room near the door. Schaffner's camera tracks them; it's clear that he will never give the actors any respite from its penetrating lens.

The play as a whole has distinct religious echoes, with the twelve disciples of justice sitting round a long wooden table pronouncing judgment. For juror #3, excellently played by Franchot Tone, anyone voting against the decision is a Judas, as they have willfully ignored what would appear to be clear evidence to the contrary. However Juror #8, played in low-key fashion by Robert Cummings, refuses to accept the majority's will; he does not appear entirely sure of himself on occasions, but he is prepared to weigh up the evidence in a careful manner that contrasts starkly with Tone's impetuosity. The religious echoes are here used to remind us about the importance of considering all people good until they are proved guilty "beyond reasonable doubt." To do otherwise is simply unchristian.

The drama unfolds as a series of movements, each punctuated by a commercial break, and rises to a climax as Juror #3 is finally left isolated. Tone's performance is a memorable one, as he clasps and unclasps his hands, hangs on to the back of a chair and pretends to draw the switchblade knife on Juror #8 before leaving the room. It's clear he shares the same pathological tendencies as the boy he sought to commit to the electric chair.

When first broadcast, TWELVE ANGRY MEN had such a powerful effect that it resulted in a rethinking of the American justice system. Over six decades later it still has the power to command our attention as a brilliantly staged piece of drama.


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