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12 Angry Men Review

Essay by review  •  January 19, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,133 Words (5 Pages)  •  866 Views

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The 12 Dos and Don’ts you learn from watching the

12 Angry Men

In reviewing this excellent 1957 classic directed by Sidney Lumet about essentially 12 jurors with “life in their hands and death on their minds,” one can draw parallels to the daily choices we make in our lives. I would refer to them as the 12 Dos and Don’ts of our daily walk.

The 6 Dos:

1. Have faith in the judicial system. This movie gives a positive and beneficial spin on our judicial system. Citizens should be considered innocent until proven guilty. Juror #8, exceptionally will portrayed by Henry Fonda, was adamant throughout the film that as individual should not be automatically considered guilty until all the facts were reviewed. He stressed the fact that a jury must examine the evidence completely and without prejudice. Juror #8 was persistent during one scene, so much so that was referred to as “a golden hearted preacher” and a “self-appointed public avenger” by two separate jurors.

2. How to use sound arguments to convince and persuade people without intimidation.

Henry Fonda’s character, Mr. Davis and the shrewd older gentleman, Mr. McGoggle, portrayed by Joseph Sweeney, juror #9 both used logical, sound arguments to eventually convince their remaining peers to change their minds. The observation by juror #9 about “the pinched mark on the nose” of a witness was a one of the key turning points in the movie that allowed the rest of the jurors to further review more evidence. The method of employed by juror #9, was non-threatening and subtle.

3. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

We should not be too quick to pass judgment on any person, thing or situation because of our prejudices. Get to know more about the circumstance, do due diligence and don’t let as juror #8 said, “prejudice always obscures the truth”, happen to you.

4. Have compassion and empathy on your fellow human beings.

Toward the end of the final scene inside the jury room after the character brilliantly played by Lee J. Cobb, juror #3, was brought to tears, compassion was on display. Juror #3 was the self made man and resident bully of the group who was estranged from his son, finally came to the realization that he has some unresolved issues. He was left alone by the departing jurors and in his moment of weakness and sorrow, Mr. Davis, went and took up juror #3’s jacket and placed it on him and led him out of the room in a fatherly, caring and non-judgmental manner.

5. Focus on the obvious at all times.

In the daily grind of our lives, we tend to get wrapped up in “stuff” and get sidetracked. Staying focused on the obvious is a method to keep stay sane in this fast moving society. In the movie, if one of the jurors had thought of turning on the light switch on the wall which activated the fan, then they would not have been in such claustrophobic and sweltering hot box. Such an obvious fact could have caused the testosterone levels to be a bit lower. The presentation of another switchblade that looked similar to the murder weapon was an obvious fact that was overlooked. No one thought that there other switchblades that had similar markings.

5. Thinking independently.

This skill can be both a gift and a curse. Juror #8, an architect by trade, was ridiculed for his initial assessment of the case by his peers. In the closing minutes of the movie he was perceived as brilliant in the way in which he subtly wore down the rest of the jurors with his logic without being obnoxious. Sticking to one’s beliefs and not changing to suit a person or occasion is an admirable trait.

The 6 Don’ts

1. Don’t think too highly of yourself.

The old adage, “pride comes before a fall” was evident in this film. The viewer saw instances of grown men full of pride and arrogance (jurors #3, 4, and 12), brought to remorse, tears and apologies towards the waning minutes of the film. As each confronts their respective shortcomings while the facts of the case are

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