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Film / 12 Angry Men (1997)

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12 Angry Men is a 1997 made-for-TV remake of the 1957 film of the same name, directed by William Friedkin and originally shown on Showtime.

It stars George C. Scott as Juror #3, James Gandolfini as Juror #6, and Jack Lemmon as Juror #8, the sole Not Guilty vote on the first jury poll (the role played by Henry Fonda in the 1957 version).

Provides examples of:

  • Hidden Depths: It looks like Juror #7 switches his vote to "Not Guilty" just to go along with the crowd and get out of there, as he did in the 1957 version. But when Juror #11 berates him for this and demands he give an honest answer for switching his vote, Juror #7 says, "I don't think he's guilty," in a quiet, matter-of-fact voice. Then he looks at the tickets to the baseball game he didn't want to miss, clearly ashamed of himself.
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  • Hollywood Law: The judge in the original mentions that in the event the accused is found guilty, that it is automatically a death sentence (as it was until 1963 in New York—the film came out in 1957), and that he would not entertain any recommendations for mercy. It wasn't up to him—he had no choice about it. The judge in the remake echoes this, stating that she will not consider pleas for leniency should the jury find the defendant guilty. However, at that time, like now, the jurors decide what sentence the defendant should get too in capital cases after considering all the various aggravating vs. mitigating factors, following US Supreme Court rulings which struck down most of the capital punishment laws in the US. Without such a recommendation for death, the judge can't sentence the defendant to it. Given that change, this is nonsensical and legally meaningless (though it could mislead jurors, which thus might get any death sentence they passed overturned).
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  • Large Ham: George C. Scott as Juror #3. He yells almost every other line.
  • Malcolm Xerox: Juror #10 is reimagined here as an Angry Black Man who is prejudiced against Latinos. When Juror #5 (also African-American) changes his verdict to Not Guilty, #10 is quick to accuse him of selling out to the white man.
  • Nice Hat: Juror #10 wears a kufi.
  • Race Lift: The original featured 12 white men. This movie diversifies the racial makeup of the jury with one Latino juror (#11) and four African Americans (#1, #2, #5, and #10). Furthermore, Juror #4, while still the same race, was American in the original but German here. Justified: In 1954, an all-white, all-male jury would be the norm, but in 1997 such a jury would be very unusual, given that having all the jurors be of the same race could be used as grounds for an appeal later.
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  • Reality Has No Soundtrack: The music plays only once during the credits.


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