"12 Angry Men" -- did a guilty man go free?

I have a Mad Magazine book where that is pretty much what happens (except they have it as a mugger, and the mugger mugs the lone juror who had shadow of the doubt, and the mugger was clearly guilty.)

Would you remember your own age if asked?

I couldn’t one time. I had visited a friend’s house for a while one day and then had gone home. I got a call to return to the house. Turns out that a family member had an accident (in the garage, where he was working) and had died. I was asked to come back and the police asked me some questions. Their first question was about my age. I couldn’t remember. I gave them the wrong age.

It’s pretty alarming to be questioned by the police like that, after a death has occurred. And in my case I knew there was no suspicion on my head and the dead person was not a loved one or relative. And still I was so freaked out I couldn’t remember my own age by mistake.

This guy in the movie—he had just learned that his dad had been killed, and the police were grilling him. That has got to be pretty stressful. You’d be surprised at what you might forget during such a time.

As for the rest of it, I don’t know. But I never found the kid forgetting the title of the movie to be such an incredible or unbelievable thing.

Heh – just the other day somebody asked how old I was, and I had to do a little arithmetic in my head to figure it out. (At least I knew what year it was!)

Bill Door’s comments did make me think about going to the movies in my own teenage years, which was back in the mid-80’s, and sure enough, I remember often going there just as a place to “hang out”, no matter what films were playing. There were a number of films that I barely remember, and even back then I probably couldn’t have told you what they were called. One of them had boobs in it. Of course I’ve grown into sort of a film buff, but that’s something that came along in my old age…or is it middle age? I forget. :slight_smile:

watsonwil and Shodan have much the same objection as I do, though – a lot of Fonda’s speculations and “new evidence” seemed unsuited for the jury room. I don’t think I could pass judgment one way or the other, considering how shoddy and incomplete some of the evidence was. Plus, if the kid didn’t kill his dad…then who did? What was the motive? Was the house robbed? That was never mentioned. And the dad being abusive certainly did NOT play in the kid’s favor (Menendez Brothers, anyone?) I’m willing to pull out Occam’s Razor and cut to the most likely scenario, which is murder.

Not only one of my favorite movies, but look at the power. Half a century later and we’re still debating it. If you haven’t seen it, please do. There are no special effects, explosions, nudity. It’s basically 12 actors (all Great) telling a story. This is as close as you can get to reading a book, without reading.

IIRC, it all takes place in one room, and was shot in one very long take - like the play.

I think though, that the actual fact of guilt or innocence is really just a MacGuffin.

Another vote for the power of the film. If you rent it, make sure to get the original B&W with Fonda, et.al.-not the color remake with Jack Lemmon in the role of dissenting juror. The original was superior, IMHO.

Years ago, I had a buddy who was in law school. I raved about this film, and he’d never seen it. One night, he showed up at my house with a case of beer. “Guess what we watched in one of my classes today?” Much film yakking and beer consumption ensued. :smiley:

Only part of the equation. Jeopardy can attach without a full acquittal.

Bricker’s post is the answer to my question. I remembered later in the day that the answer, like most legal questions, was “it depends”! In fact, I followed up with a prosecutor buddy that said the mistrial can even be the fault of the prosecutor and if it wasn’t purposeful or malicious, retrial can occur.

(And Otto is correct. A hung jury is a type of mistrial. I meant to indicate that I knew a hung jury was a form of mistrial, but at the same time ask about non-hung jury mistrials.)

The whole movie was one take? Wouldn’t that prevent multiple camera angles?

How is that possible? Didn’t they have people on both sides of the table? If it were on one shot (without cut), wouldn’t that mean we only saw the backs of the heads of half the jurors wouldn’t it?

IMDb says it took 21 days to film, and there’s a scene at the end outside the courthouse. There was an earlier television version that could have been live.

It’s been a while since I saw it, but I seemed to recall he did have a court-appointed guy who didn’t try very hard? Hence the kid having a sucky alibi, etc.

It was not one take. There were a normal number of cuts.

There were three settings, the courtroom, the courthouse steps and the jury room. (Four if you count the bathroom.)

Lumet use longer and longer lenses as the film progressed to give a sense of claustrophobia.

I don’t believe there was a TV version of “12 Angry Men” before the first film. There was a remake for Showtime that was updated.

It seems like something that should have been televised first like “Marty” or “Requiem for a Heavyweight”, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t.

But I don’t know if either of those were live presentations.

It’s not jury nullification. That’s when the jurors disregard the law as explained to them by the judge, and reach a conclusion based on their own view of what the law should be. Jury nullification is highly contentious - do a search in GD if you’re interested in seeing it thrashed out exhaustively.

That didn’t happen here. Instead, it was a case of reasonable doubt: every member of the jury eventually concluded that he had at least a reasonable doubt that the accused had committed the murder. Therefore, they were bound by their oaths to acquit the accused. That’s exactly how the system is supposed to work: unless 12 good persons and true agree that the prosecution has proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt, they’re required to acquit.

First, if you think the evidence was shoddy and incomplete, you should vote to acquit - because the Crown hasn’t done its job, which is convince you beyond a reasonable doubt. Second, it’s not the jury’s job to try and figure out if someone else did it. Their job is to determine if the accused did it. A jury that says “well, no-one else is likely to have done, so we’d better convict this guy” is not doing its job. And third, Occam’s razor has no part in a criminal trial. You’re essentially saying “it’s more likely than not that he did it.” That’s not the standard of proof used in criminal trials - all of the jurors must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, not “more likely than not.”

It’s been a while since I saw it, but isn’t there a fair bit of discussion between Fonda and one of the jurors about how the kid belongs “that kind of people” , with the other juror going on about “I know how that kind of people behave” etc.? However, even there it’s ambiguous - I suppose in the original 50s context it would be easy to assume the juror was talking in a prejudiced way about black people, or the immigrant groups of the time, but there’s nothing that ever explains exactly what ethnic or racial group he’s talking about. Because of the ambiguity, that part still plays well today.

Correcting myself, 12 Angry Men was on TV before it was a film. It was done on TV in 1954 with only two of the jurors from the film in it.

In the film they showed the kid at the beginning, and he was white. Juror Ten (or was it Nine) was going off about people from the slums, although it could easily be tweaked to be talking about an ethnicity. Juror Five said he grew up in that kind of place, and he was white too, IIRC.

Wasn’t he Jack Klugman?

Neither th kid nor Klugman was “white.” They were some sort of vague ethnicity, most likely hispanic. They had “olive” skin.

IIRC, the woman testified that she was tossing and turning, trying to sleep. There was also a line about her saying she had the lights out, which let her see through the el carriages into the room opposite, which is how she saw the killing.

I stand corrected. I shouldn’t have made a judgment; I’m no good guessing ethnicities, much less in black-and-white film.