12 Angry Men

10 April 195797 min

Life is in their hands. Death is on their minds.


The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young Spanish-American is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open and shut case soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors' prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other.

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Cast & Crew


George Justin

Associate Producer


Faith Hubley

Script Supervisor



Boris Kaufman

Director of Photography

Saul Midwall

Camera Operator



Robert Markel

Art Direction

Costume & Make-Up

Herman Buchman

Makeup Artist

Fun Facts of Movie

  • Director Sidney Lumet had the actors all stay in the same room for several hours on end and do their lines over and over without filming them. This was to give them a real taste of what it would be like to be cooped up in a room with the same people.
  • At the beginning of the film, the cameras are all positioned above eye level and mounted with wide-angle lenses to give the appearance of greater distance between the subjects. As the film progresses the cameras slip down to eye level. By the end of the film, nearly all of it is shot below eye level, in close-up and with telephoto lenses to increase the encroaching sense of claustrophobia.
  • The ethnic background of the teenaged suspect was deliberately left unstated. For the purposes of the film, the important facts were that he was not of Northern European ancestry, and that prejudice (or lack of it) from some jurors would be a major part of the deliberation process.
  • Henry Fonda disliked watching himself on film, so he did not watch the whole film in the screening room. However, before he walked out, he said quietly to director Sidney Lumet, “Sidney, it’s magnificent.”
  • All but three minutes of the film was shot inside the bare and confining, 16’x24′ (35 square meters) “jury room”.
  • This film is commonly used in business schools and workshops to illustrate team dynamics and conflict resolution techniques.
  • Because the film failed to make a profit, Henry Fonda never received his deferred salary. Despite this setback, he always regarded this film as one of the three best he ever made. The others being The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and The Ox-Bow Incident (1942).
  • In June 2008 this film was ranked #2 on the American Film Institute’s list of the ten greatest films in the genre “Courtroom Drama”.
  • Because of the demands of the film’s low budget, if the lighting was set up for a shot that took place from one particular angle, all the shots from that same angle had to be filmed then and there. This meant that different sides of the same conversation were sometimes shot several weeks apart.
    Many of the shots of the actors were filmed on their own, and then edited together. This required the sound of the rain to be recorded separately for each actor.
  • Because the painstaking rehearsals for the film lasted an exhausting two weeks, filming had to be completed in an unprecedented 21 days. The film was shot in a total of 365 separate takes.
  • The jurors’ entrance into the jury room is filmed in an overhead establishing shot, and the shots become progressively lower and tighter throughout the film, until the verdict is reached. For the closing shot of the jurors leaving the courthouse, they are again filmed from a wide, overhead angle. Sidney Lumet claimed that the final shot was filmed through with the widest lens used in the picture, emphasizing the sense of release from the jury room.
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