Cautions: some situational intensity, brief mild language, and potential ethical confusion
12 Angry Men is the American justice system in a box. A box containing a table and twelve chairs, sweltering heat, flippancy, impatience, ethnic prejudice, an ad man, an assistant coach, a stock broker, one switchblade, eleven guilty votes, and one reasonable doubt. The confined intensity of 12 Angry Men, fighting with all their strengths and weaknesses to send a possibly innocent man to the electric chair, is a complex, at times even riveting picture, not of corrupt men, but of good men’s corrupt instincts.
1957 | Sidney Lumet | 96 min Watch Trailer
Some Situational Intensity
12 Angry Men is about a murder trial with a potential death sentence. The murder (a knifing) is referenced and acted out by the jurors.
An abusive father is referenced. A man tells of his teenage son hitting him.
Jurors almost fight. There is quite a bit of yelling.
Brief Mild Language
There is some mild name calling.
Potential Ethical Confusion
At one point, the main character, still unconvinced of the defendant’s guilt, says that he will vote guilty if a secret ballot reveals that all of the other jurors are still convinced. This comes across more like a humble recognition of his own limitations and fallibility, but could be taken as a form of moral compromise.
The young defendant’s youth and hard life up to that point are referenced as added reasons why the jurors should take more time to deliberate about their verdict, though not to change it. The defendant also has a prison record for violent behavior.
A juror broke a law against buying switchblades in order to demonstrate the possibility of the defendant’s innocence.
Some of the jurors display ethnic prejudice. This is entirely negatively portrayed.
Cigarettes and a pipe are smoked.