12 Angry Sides of People

Nov 17, 2012 by

In 1957, a movie called 12 Angry Men was released.  Later in 1997, a reproduction of the movie was re-released. I have seen both versions, and have a fancy towards the second, it seeming to me to be more modern in its portrayal, but they both do something that should be noted by everyone.  In the movie, they do a good job outlining the personality types of people.  For people’s reference I will be using the 1997 version as my proof but my ideas can easily be adjusted with little to no effort to fit the 1957 movie as well.  Warning, this article will contain spoilers, though it has been out for 15 years so I don’t think it matters that much.

Now, in the movie you are presented with 12 jurors.  Juror 8 is the key juror here.  In the beginning of the movie, these 12 are being told that the case that they just witnessed needs a unanimous vote either way.  A vote of guilty will sentence the young man to death.  They are then sent to the jury room to discuss.  Immediately they take a vote, and 11 to 1 they vote guilty. Juror 8 is the only one opposed.  He claims that he is not sure if the man is innocent or guilty, but that they should have the man executed without at least going over everything.  The rest of the movie is the process by which Juror 8 turns the whole room into voting not guilty alongside him.  You are presented with facts on the case only as they arise in the court room.  Let us go through the jurors one at a time to show the 12 processes by which these men, and people in general, operate in their decision and belief making processes.

Juror 1 is heading up the jury and takes on the task of always trying to make everything as organized as possible. He tries to stay out of the way of things as much as possible, offering little to no argument for either side.  He only changes his mind when the way in which the murder was done was made improbable for someone who was as familiar with a knife as the accused.

Juror 2 is a timid man who does not want to oppose the group but also, originally, agrees with them.  He seems willing to discuss the facts of the case, realizing its severity, but does not seem confident enough to oppose the entire group, and so he votes along with the group until the tide is turned and more of the arguments of the prosecution are shown to be in question.

Juror 3 is a passionate man who is driven by personal feelings and personally relating to the case rather than actual logical arguments.  This is clear when at the end he is the only one left.  All arguments have been dis-proven or called into question.  He just goes over them again and accuses all kids of acting the same, linking the accused to his son who abandoned him.  It is only when he realizes his confusing this man with his own son that he finally changes his vote.

Juror 4 is the most logical of the guilty voters, and arguably of them all.  While he seems convinced in his convictions like Juror 3, it is not due to passion, but the logical outline of facts.  A woman saw the murder and identified the murderer.  It is only when this argument is called into question by a nearly unforeseeable circumstance that he changes his vote.  Even then, he does it on the basis of logic and not of passion.

Juror 5 is a timid person at first.  He gives no reason for his vote.  But, when the argument is called into question, he willingly changes his mind, possibly more out of sympathy rather than realization at first, to the vote of not guilty.  Later he slowly begins to find arguments of his own based on what he knows about the slums where the accused grew up.

Juror 6 seems to be a person who is not passionate, logical, or timid like the previous jurors.  Rather, he comes off as someone who is average, stands up for what he believes, but needs to persuaded by arguments and not sentiment before he changes his mind.  Likewise, he only changes his mind when several arguments are brought into question about most of the facts of the case.

Juror 7 is the joker of the bunch.  He is in a hurry to see a baseball game.  He always has a quick remark or is trying to hurry things along.  The height of his anxiousness is when he changes his vote to not guilty “to break the tie”.  Both sides chastise him until he says its not guilty because enough evidence has been brought forth in his opinion.

Juror 8 is the only one to vote not guilty from the beginning.  He argues that no one should be executed without going over the facts first.  And it is he, with the aid of others, who leads the charge of convincing the rest of the jury that the accused is innocent.  He does not seem to be on the basis of logic that Juror 4 is, but rather acting on the basis that things should be fleshed out to their fullest extent and seen independent of passion entirely from all angles before a decision is made on the life of the accused.

Juror 9 is a elderly man who appears timid at first.  When a blind vote is called after the plea of juror 8 to talk things out on the case before coming to a decision, the old man changes his vote to give credence to what juror 9 says.  He appears to have the same goal as juror 8 when the proposition to flesh things out is made, but just was convinced of the guiltiness of the accused and did not think on the importance of what juror 8 proposed.

Juror 10 is a passionate person like juror 3, but in a more prejudice way.  He is convinced that the accused did it, not because of evidence presented, but because the accused grew up in the slums.  In the newer movie, the foreigner aspect is even brought in.  This prejudice accumulates with a grand speech on the evils of “his kind” and how he doesn’t care if the man did it or not.  The only thing that matters to him is that they can get the accused before “his kind get us”.  This is met by the universal scorn at the end when everyone sees the extent to which the prejudice is made, and both sides make it known that he should be silent.  After this scorning by both sides, he sit silent and goes with what everyone else wants.

Juror 11 is a foreign man who believes in the system.  He came into the room believing the man innocent, but as facts were presented, he was persuaded that maybe the man was innocent.  He voiced the bulk of the scorn towards juror 7 for his not caring for the life of the accused but only caring that he gets out of the room as quickly as possible.

Juror 12 is someone who is thrilled by the excitement of what is going on, until the stark reality hits home of what his decision is.  At first, when he thinks that it is black and white, he makes jokes and plays games, thinking that his side will win and it is a cut and dry case.  As the arguments of the prosecution are getting knocked down one after another, he becomes unsure and switches sides several times.  His jokes end and he seems nervous, switching his vote several times.  He only settles when the last bit of evidence is laid out.

This is a very deep movie, and each character speaks to the mentality of people.  There are people who are logical like Juror 4 who are convinced by logic of their position, but also willing to hear the other side.  They are not swayed by passion pleas, and are not convinced until their argument is destroyed to its source.  These people may disagree with the truth from time to time, but unlike most, they are open to it and should be respected for that.  Some people are like Juror 3 who are passionate in their belief, not because they have a thought out argument, but because they have deeply entrenched beliefs based on personal experiences.  A good amount of people are probably like Juror 6 or 12.  Not timid in their beliefs, not unreasonable, not overbearing, but not the kind to jump out in defense of something that they are opposed to.  They are willing to hear the opposition, but not always easy to change their minds.  Many, many people are like juror 7.  We are so concerned with where it is that we are going and how fast we get it done, we ignore literally everything about the case in front of us for what we should believe.  It is not that we disagree, but that we don’t want to waste time discussing it.  And there are a few like juror 10.  These are the only people whom cannot be reasoned with no matter how much time you take.  Juror 3 may have been the last to be convinced, but he was able to see the error of his ways.  Juror 10 only changed when the opinion of the room was against him, because he was outnumbered and outcast.  He realized he would never win, so he gave up.  That is the only way to deal with bigots like him, for both sides to outcast him.  If one side does not, he will take refuge there, as he did through most of the movie.

While I cannot go over all of the details of the movie, this movie is by far the greatest I have seen for the process of convincing other people and the different types of people there are.  I highly recommend that you watch it.

Here is a link to the movie on Youtube:

12 Angry Men

Related Posts

Share This

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.