- Adaptation Displacement: Originally a 1954 teleplay for CBS' Studio One anthology series, it is now best known for its later adaptations as a stage play and film.
- Alternative Character Interpretation:
- The defendant - innocent man or murderer? For all of the doubt the jury casts on the prosecution's case, there's still plenty of reason for the audience to conclude that he's guilty. This was done deliberately, of course; even Juror #8 admits that he isn't sure that they aren't about to set a murderer free. Then there's the question of, if the defendant did in fact commit the murder, was he really in the wrong?
- There have been productions that portray Juror #8 not as a noble crusader but rather as a Manipulative Bastard who's trying to get a murderer set free basically just to see if he can.
- When Juror #3 refuses to change his vote near the end, does he honestly still think the defendant is guilty? Or is he merely doing it so that the process of proper deliberation, which Juror #8 started, is properly finished?
- Or has he already changed his mind about the guilty vote but is just unwilling to admit that due to his own issues?
- Did Juror #7 actually believe in the verdicts that he gave? Did he truly think that the boy was guilty/innocent?
- Award Snub: The 1957 version, largely overshadowed by The Bridge on the River Kwai, failed to win anything at the Oscars. Additionally, none of the actors received nominations for their work. Though Henry Fonda did end up winning a BAFTA for his performance, and both he and Lee J. Cobb earned Golden Globe nods.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: When #3, talking about his son, tells how he told him "I'll make a man out of you."
- Jerkass Woobie: Juror #3, at least by the end.
- Retroactive Recognition: Juror #5 will be instantly familiar to anyone who's seen an episode of Quincy, M.E.. Jack Klugman even gets to do a Quincy-style deduction years before the series was conceived, by pointing out the inconsistent nature of the knife wound. The Odd Couple also did a flashback episode to Oscar and Felix meeting on a jury where Felix was a Rogue Juror in reference to this role.
- You'll recognize Juror #2 by voice. John Fiedler is the original voice of Piglet.
- Tear Jerker:
- When Juror #3 finally realizes what he's doing; he tears up the picture of him and his son and just breaks down crying. The DVD release of the film manages to make it even worse with the chapter titles. The title of the chapter containing Juror #3's Villainous Breakdown? "One Angry Man".Juror #3: No...not guilty...not guilty...!
- Minor one, but in the 1997 version, Juror 7 finally breaking his snarky demeanor when Juror 11 delivers his speech to him. In the end, we still don't know what his actual opinion in the trial was.
- When Juror #3 finally realizes what he's doing; he tears up the picture of him and his son and just breaks down crying. The DVD release of the film manages to make it even worse with the chapter titles. The title of the chapter containing Juror #3's Villainous Breakdown? "One Angry Man".
- Values Dissonance:
- At the time this was written in the '50s, women and non-whites were excluded from jury service in some parts of the country. These days, the script is often produced as 12 Angry Jurors with a more diverse cast.
- Physical abuse is treated more lightly in this movie than it would be today. While most of the jurors seem to disapprove that the boy's father beat him regularly, they don't seem too fased when Juror #3 defends it against "a kid like that".
- Vindicated by History: The critics in 1957 were rooting for Lumet's movie version, but the public wasn't interested and the movie failed at the box office. 12 Angry Men has since earned a place in pop culture rivalled (aside from To Kill a Mockingbird) by no other courtroom drama—plus the 88th spot on AFI's 100 Years. . .100 Thrills list. No mean feat for a film that isn't an action-adventure film.note .
YMMV / 12 Angry Men