The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young man is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open-and-shut case of murder soon becomes a detective story that presents a succession of clues creating doubt, and a mini-drama of each of the jurors' prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other. Based on the play, all of the action takes place on the stage of the jury room.Written by
Henry Fonda immediately complained to director Sidney Lumet about the cheap backdrops outside the jury room windows when he walked on-set. "They look like sh*t. Hitch [Alfred Hitchcock (I)] had great backdrops, you could walk right in them", said Fonda, referring to the previous film he made with Hitchcock, The Wrong Man (1956). Lumet assured him that Director of Photography Boris Kaufman had a plan to make them work. Even so, it is quite noticeable that the backdrop was designed from a lower perspective than the window, as one of the large buildings was clearly skewed, as if it were viewed from a point much lower down. See more »
The film is implied to take place on the East Coast of the United States, based upon the baseball teams that the jurors mention. Also, one of the jurors (Juror 12, played by Robert Webber) asks Juror 8 (played by Henry Fonda) whether they can see Manhattan's Woolworth Building from the jury room window, which Juror 8 affirms. The opening/exterior shot of the court house is that of the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan at 60 Centre Street. See more »
Man in corridor:
You did a wonderful job, wonderful job!
To continue, you've listened to a long and complex case, murder in the first degree. Premeditated murder is the most serious charge tried in our criminal courts. You've listened to the testimony, you've had the law read to you and interpreted as it applies in this case, it's now your duty to sit down and try to separate the facts from the fancy. One man is dead, another man's life is at stake, if there's a reasonable doubt in your minds as to ...
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At the end of the film, the actors are billed in order of their juror numbers; thus Henry Fonda, although the star of the film, appears 8th. See more »
No bombs, no car chases but edge of the seat stuff none the less
This film is superb, in fact as Shakespeare once said "Its the bees' knees". The film captivates the audience from the beginning. Each of the twelve jurors are introduced to us as they are introduced to themselves. The characters are well draw out and individual, each with his own personality.
The tension of the characters draws the audience in from the start. We imagine that the case is open and shut, 11 me saying guilty and 1 not. We feel the discomfort of Henry Fonda as the other characters belittle and mock how he can see any reasonable doubt in the case. But we also share his victories and the enthusiasm as he proceeds to refute or add doubt to the arguments for guilty and are captivated and draw in as other jurors begin to see doubt in the proceedings.
The audience can also see the arguments for guilty and wonder if Fonda's character is correct in saying that he doubts. Yet they also feel the shame of the characters as he disproves that a previously sound theory is iron tight, joining his side as members of the jury do.
On top of this they are wonderfully woven in human elements such as the misconceptions that influence people and the growing tension between different characters. This is brought to life even more by the amazing performances, Fonda, Lee J Cobb and Joseph Sweeney are of particular note.
I started watching this film on a bored relaxed laying about day but by the end i was on the edge of the seat with my hands on my knees feeling more tense than a politician on results day.
How a film should be made. Modern directors take note(thats ur telling off for the day) 10/10
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