Sunday, 7 August 2011

Scene of the Week - 12 Angry Men

This is a scene from 12 Angry Men, a masterclass in character acting and something modern Hollywood could learn a great deal from. This particular scene deals with the issue of prejudice and how society should behave towards those who exhibit prejudiced tendencies. 

In the heat of discussion this juror's true colours show and everybody else becomes aware that his judgment is tainted with reckless hatred. It's an incredibly poignant and symbolic moment when everybody puts their differences aside and are united in their general disgust with this man's views. They turn their back on him and meet his barbed words with a wall of silence, not even dignifying him with a retort. The late, great Henry Fonda is spectacular as the juror defending a man from the electric chair and more importantly the notion that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Absolute cinema royalty. 


  1. Your little piece here makes me want to rewatch this great film! Such powerful dialogue, remember loving it. Granted the guy's hatred was wrong, but even so their opinions are not "better" than his, that's how I see it. They all have opinions, the smart guys base it on factual evidence, the unprofessional ones get carried away with their emotions . I guess you could question, who is worse, the supposed criminal, or the one judging the criminal based on prejudice/hatred

  2. Rewatch it! You can't see movies like 12 Angry Men enough lol. Dialogue, for me, is THE most powerful tool in cinema's arsenal and when crafted carefully even subtle differences can create a movie with a completely different tone and atmosphere.

    A very good question! I guess with the criminal he hasn't done anything wrong until he has been proven to have done so, whereas allowing yourself to be guided by hatred alone is never right.

    Thank you for commenting!

  3. I am quite naive and am reluctant to watch a lot of black and white movies, but after much coercion Pete managed to get me to watch this, and I am truly grateful he made me watch it, because it was an amazing movie.
    The fact that its a stunning movie made purely on dialogue is brilliant! You're perfectly right in saying that modern movies could learn from it!
    But there were so many moments in this movie when my mouth just fell open at how Henry Fonda managed to weasel out and display the dark and twisty sides of some of those people.

  4. I'm so glad you liked it Ushi! Yeah the dialogue is amazing and so is the legendary Henry Fonda. I'm also glad that your opinion of black and white films has changed, some of the greatest movies ever made are in black and white and it would be a shame to exclude yourself from them. Hope you're well, see you in Leicester soon! x