Sociology Sample Paper on The Movie 12 Angry Men

The Movie 12 Angry Men

The twelve angry men is a fascinating story of a young boy who was subjected to the electric chair for stabbing and killing his father (Heath, 2013). The jury that is to decide the fate of this young boy is composed of twelve men with different dispositions. The jury is locked up in a small room where they are supposed to come up with one unanimous decision; guilty or not guilty(Heath, 2013). It is amazing how the votes turned from eleven guilty and one not guilty vote. Through the movie, the audience gets to know a lot about efficient communication, conflict management and solving, and accommodating other people’s views no matter our standpoint (Chaudhuri, 2009).

Essentially, Henry Fonda is painted as an eloquent character who knows how to make use of persuasive communication skills. As much as he did not have anything to gain from the verdict, he would not understand why his colleagues were hell-bent to sentence a young man to death (Chaudhuri, 2009). Fonda was firm but non-confrontational when he gave his not guilty verdict. To advance his arguments, Fonda tore into the available evidence piece by piece while placing doubts in the minds of his fellow jurists. Even though he did not say that the boy was innocent, Fonda stated, “Nine of us now seem to feel that the defendant is innocent, but we are just gambling on probabilities – we may be wrong. We may be trying to let a guilty man go free, I do not know. Nobody really can”(Chaudhuri, 2009).This is the statement that seems to have changed the jurists mind and final vote.

The author of the film seems to have enough evidence to indict and denounce the American trial system for being ineffective and for sending the wrong people to jail or death row. The teenager is not the only one on trial in this movie. Instead, the jury and the American justice system is being tried and tested on whether it can provide a fair, infallible and just judgment. Ebert, (2002) criticizes the film for being static, stagey, and dialogue-laden. The film lacks movie components, such as flashbacks, subtitles, and narration. Furthermore, Ebert (2002) insists that the film is boring for it does not have different scenes other than 90 minutes in the closed room where the jurors are locked in (Billington, 2013). In the same vein, the movie is very short compared to any other movie that features the juror deliberating on the best cause of action (Billington, 2013). The strength and wit of each of the characters cannot be questioned. Nevertheless, the director would have made the movie more interesting by introducing other scenes.

The film also enlightens some of the core foundations of the American constitution. For instance, the belief that you are innocent until proven guilty and the principle of reasonable doubt are repeated throughout the film(Weiler, 1957). Although most Americans would wish for a quick verdict when a crime is too serious, Henry Fonda demonstrates that patience is a very important quality when dispensing a case of such magnitude (Filmsite Review, 2012). This film also demonstrates that action is not the only source of tension in movies. Instead, body language, dialogue, and personal conflict can also be sources of conflict. As much as the jury disagrees, they do not fight physically (Filmsite Review, 2012). Instead, they decide to let logic and prejudice control the field. The film is barely about solving a crime. It is all about sending a young man to die (Timeout, 2013). As stated by Fonda, “We’re talking about somebody’s life here…We can’t decide in five minutes. Supposing we’re wrong?”(Weiler, 1957).  Fonda’s statements highlight the timeliness of this movie.

Recent revelations have pointed out that capital punishment has been used to send many innocent people to the gallows(Weiler, 1957). Additionally, the evidence used to convict the innocent offenders has also been found to be contaminated. The film also proves that one’s past can affect his/her way of thinking regarding certain matters (Weiler, 1957). For instance, Lee is portrayed as a vengeful self-made man who cannot forget the hard time he went through trying to raise a son who eventually broke from his rule (Timeout, 2013). His past seem to affect his arguments as well as his decision.  Before Lee lets reason triumph over emotion and the past, he adamantly supports the execution of the young man (Weiler, 1957).

 In addition, worthy to note is the fact that the story touches on one major issue; why it is always important to question the obvious (Angelo, 2012). It is also clear that being in doubt and questioning a particular fact over and over again without prejudice results in a good decision making process. It goes without saying that the performance of the cast was phenomenal. Fonda is very good with words and his power of reasoning surpasses that of most of his colleagues (Angelo, 2012). Even so, it is Lee, his nemesis who steals the show from him(Angelo, 2012). Having watched the movie, in can confidently say that despite disliking the choice of venue for such a cool court drama, the characters in the film makes one glued to his seat.


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Weiler, H. (1957) 12 Angry Men (1957) Screen: ’12 Angry Men’; Jury Room Drama Has Debut

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