12 Angry Men

The basic idea of Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men sounds simple enough.  It begins with little fanfare and the words of a judge who, it seems obvious, is not saying them for the first time:   

You’ve listened to a long and complex case of murder in the first degree.  Premeditated murder is the most serious charge tried in our criminal courts.  You’ve listened to the testimony.  You’ve had the law read to you and interpreted as it applies in this case.  It’s now your duty to sit down and separate the facts from the fancy.  One man is dead, another man’s life is at stake.  If there is a reasonable doubt in your minds as to the guilt of the accused—a reasonable doubt—then you must bring me a verdict of not guilt.  If, however, there’s no reasonable doubt, then you must, in good conscience, find the accused guilty.  However you decide, your verdict must be unanimous.  In the event you find the accused guilty, the bench will not entertain a recommendation for mercy.  The death sentence is mandatory in this case.  You’re faced with a grave responsibility.


The Courtroom

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