The film of 12 Angry Men shows the story of twelve men in a panel of judges who are supposed to give a verdict on a murder trial against a young man. The men formed the group where they agreed to seat all through the trial. Everyone was given time to accept the assignment and also accept to have a role in the group. The panel of judges starts with socializing and introducing themselves to each other in the deliberation room. At this point they are seen to act more as a group rather than individually. At the beginning there were no disagreements in the group and everyone seemed to agree with the proceedings. The duty is seen to be harder when eleven vote in support of guilt judgment and one in favor of not guilty. The conversation of the panel of judges initially comprises of disagreement, intolerance, anxiety, uncertainty and stress. The eleven men are confident of their guilt judgment and they are anxious to give the decision and disband the group. The eleven members are seen to team up against the one person who is requesting for more dialogue before making the judgment. The conflicting conversations continues all through the movie although each individuals view changes with time . (Tonic, 2007)
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Each individual played a role in the group before the final judgment of not guilty was given. Henry Fonda played his role when he acted as a catalyst to assist in changing the perspective of the other members of the jury towards the case. At the beginning Henry was seen not to interact with the group as he thought whether he was totally convinced of the man’s guiltiness. He was the only one who voted in favor of not guilty and everyone felt that he was not correct and therefore insisted on correcting him. As the movie continued he was seen acting as the leader of the group. Throughout the movie he was seen coming up with ideas to show that the man could be innocent. He consistently questioned the facts and proofs given by others. His characters and ideas enabled the group to reflect the case. His leadership traits were also reflected when he continuously told the group their reason of working on that trial. Henry’s role was essential to the jury’s process which resulted in not guilty verdict. (Dianna Carion, 2011)
Lee J. Cobb role was that of a protagonist. It was realized later that his intense annoyance was not actually towards the defendant but to his son who he thought was a coward. He was sad for the distance he had with his son. He claimed that he had a lot of respect for his father and therefore expected the same from his son. Cobb’s characters brought up factors that were not relevant to the trial. His character made him to act as if he was not part of the group.
Ed Begley played the role of an activist from the beginning. This was because he did not want to work and had claimed to be sick. He had also made his decision regarding the case that the man was guilty. He constantly destructed the proceedings by arguments which were based on his personal thoughts, attitude and prejudges. He kept on insisting his points and expected full support from the others. E. G. Marshall on the other hand a role of an attention getter though he did not force people to support him. He made his points while quoting books and other major cases to show his expertise. He acted as an enforcer at the end where he ordered Begley to be quiet. Jack Warden’s role was that of a follower and a persuader. At the start he voted in favor of guilt but later changed his vote with an intention of balancing the votes. His role of a persuader was seen when he tried to convince Fonda that he was wrong. He had no interest on the trial since he wanted it end so that he can attend a baseball match. (Dianna Carion, 2011)
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Martin Balsam role at the beginning was that of a leader but it was affected when he was questioned on his capacity to lead the jury. After this he adopted the character of a facilitator where he took votes and maintained the jury on the track. Finally he became a follower and listened to the arguments where he was convinced to change his stand. John Fielder role was more of a follower from the start though as the process continued he evaluated the case. Jack Klugman was also a follower at the start but assisted in demonstrating the different ways in which a knife could be used. This gave the jury a better understanding on the case. Edward Binns was not involved in the trial process and was very cool throughout the trial. He portrayed the character of an enforcer when he tried to convince Henry to reconsider his stand. Joseph Sweeney was very observant and he was very tight with Henry. They acted together to convince the other jurors to change their views on the case. He also mediated in many disagreements that arose in the group during the process. George Voskovec role was that of a peacemaker where he consistently reminded the other jurors of their civic accountability when conducting a trial. Finally Robert Webber was a follower throughout the process and he changed his vote to support the majority but not because of his personal opinion. (Dianna Carion, 2011)
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