12 Angry Men

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12 Angry Men is a 1957 film about a dissenting juror in a murder trial who slowly manages to convince the others that the case is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court.

Directed by Sidney Lumet. Written by Reginald Rose.
Life Is In Their Hands -- Death Is On Their Minds! (taglines)


Juror #9 / McCardle[edit]

  • [Juror #7 has been throwing bits of paper at the fan. One of them bounces off it and hits #9 in the head.] That's a damn stupid thing to do.
  • [Revealing that he was the first to join #8 in voting not guilty] This man has been standing alone against us. It's not easy to stand alone against the ridicule of others. So he gambled for support - and I gave it to him.

Juror #10[edit]

  • It's pretty tough to figure, isn't it? A kid kills his father. Bing! Just like that... It's the element... I'm telling ya, they let those kids run wild up there. Well, maybe it serves 'em right.

Others[edit]

  • Judge: If there's 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 guilty. If however, there is no reasonable doubt, then you must in good conscience find the accused guilty. However you decide, your verdict must be unanimous. In the event that you find the accused guilty, the bench will not entertain a recommendation for mercy. The death sentence is mandatory in this case. You are faced with a grave responsibility. Thank you, gentlemen.
  • Juror #11: I don't believe I have to be loyal to one side or the other. I'm simply asking questions.
  • Juror #6: Well, I'm not used to supposin'. I'm just a workin' man. My boss does all the supposin'-- but I'll try one. Supposin' you talk us all out of this and, uh, the kid really did knife his father? hi

Dialogue[edit]

#8: Look, this kid's been kicked around all of his life. You know, born in a slum. Mother dead since he was nine. He lived for a year and a half in an orphanage when his father was serving a jail term for forgery. That's not a very happy beginning. He's a wild, angry kid, and that's all he's ever been. And you know why, because he's been hit on the head by somebody once a day, every day. He's had a pretty miserable eighteen years. I just think we owe him a few words, that's all.
#10: I don't mind telling you this, mister. We don't owe him a thing. He got a fair trial, didn't he? What do you think that trial cost? He's lucky he got it. You know what I mean? Now look, we're all grown-ups in here. We heard the facts, didn't we? You're not gonna tell me that we're supposed to believe this kid, knowing what he is. Listen, I've lived among them all my life. You can't believe a word they say. You know that. I mean, they're born liars.
#9: Only an ignorant man can believe that... Do you think you were born with a monopoly on the truth?

#10: Bright? He's a common ignorant slob. He don't even speak good English.
#11: Doesn't even speak good English.

#10: I don't understand you people! I mean all these picky little points you keep bringing up. They don't mean nothin'. You saw this kid just like I did. You're not gonna tell me you believe that phony story about losing the knife, and that business about being at the movies. Look, you know how these people lie! It's born in them! I mean what the heck? I don't even have to tell you. They don't know what the truth is! And, lemme tell you, they don't need any real big reason to kill someone, either! No sir!
[#5 gets up from his seat]
#10: You know, they get drunk... oh, they're very big drinkers, all of 'em, and bang: someone's lyin' in the gutter. Oh, nobody's blaming them for it. That's how they are! By nature! You know what I mean? VIOLENT!
[#9 rises and crosses to the window]
#10: Human life don't mean as much to them as it does to us!
[#11 gets up and walks to the other window]
#10: Hey! Where are you going? [Beginning to sound desperate] Look, these people're lushing it up and fighting all the time and if somebody gets killed, so somebody gets killed! They don't care! Oh, sure, there are some good things about 'em, too. Look, I'm the first one to say that.
[#8 gets up and walks to the nearest wall]
#10: I've known a couple who were OK, but that's the exception, y'know what I mean?
[#2 and #6 get up from the table. Everybody's back is to #10]
#10: Most of 'em, it's like they have no feelings! They can do anything! What's goin' on here? I'm trying to tell you we're makin' a big mistake, you people! This kid's a liar! I know it. I know all about them! I mean, what's happenin' here? I'm speaking my piece, and you...
[the Foreman gets up and walks away. So does #12]
#10: Listen to me! They're no good! There's not a one of 'em who's any good!
[#7 turns away]
#10: Boy, are you smart! Well, I'm tellin' 'ya we better watch out! This kid on trial here, his type... Well, don't you know about them?
[#3 turns his back]
#10: What are you doin'? Listen to me! I'm tryin' to tell you somethin'! There's a danger here! These people are wild! Don't you know about it? LISTEN TO ME! LISTEN!
#4: I have. Now sit down and don't open your mouth again.

#8: There's another thing I'd like to talk about for a minute. I think we've proven that the old man couldn't have heard the boy say "I'm going to kill you," but supposing—
#10: You didn't prove it at all. What're you talking about?
#8: But supposing he really did hear it. This phrase, how many times has each of us used it? Probably hundreds. "I could kill you for that, darling." "If you do that once more, junior, I'm going to kill you." "Come on, Rocky, get in there and kill him!" We say it every day. It doesn't mean we're going to kill someone.
#3: Wait a minute. What are you trying to give us here? The phrase was "I'm going to kill you," and he screamed it out at the top of his lungs! Don't tell me he didn't mean it. Anybody says a thing like that the way he said it, they mean it.

#2: It's hard to put into words. I just think he's guilty. I thought it was obvious from the word, 'Go'. Nobody proved otherwise.
#8: Nobody has to prove otherwise. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. The defendant doesn't even have to open his mouth. That's in the Constitution.

#7: You a Yankee fan?
#5: No, Baltimore.
#7: Baltimore? That's like being hit in the head with a crow bar once a day.

[In the original play, it is Milwaukee instead of Baltimore.]


#8: There were two witnesses to the murder. What if they're wrong?
#12: What do you mean, what if they're wrong? What's the point of having witnesses at all?
#8: Could they be wrong?
#12: Well no, I don't think so.
#8: Do you 'know' so?
#12: Come on. Nobody can know something like that. This isn't an exact science.
#8: That's right, it isn't.

#3: You're talking about a matter of seconds. Nobody can be that accurate.
#8: Well I think that testimony that can put a boy into the electric chair should be that accurate.

#11: I beg pardon—
#10: "I beg pardon?" What are you so polite about?
#11: For the same reason you are not: it's the way I was brought up.

#3: What do you mean you want to try it? Why didn't his lawyer bring it up if it's so important?
#5: Well, maybe he just didn't think of it huh?
#10: What do you mean didn't think of it? Do you think the man's an idiot or something? It's an obvious thing.
#5: Did you think of it?
#10: Listen smart guy, it don't matter whether I thought of it. He didn't bring it up because he knew it would hurt his case. What do you think of that?
#8: Maybe he didn't bring it up because it would of meant bullying and badgering a helpless old man. You know that doesn't sit well with a jury, most lawyers avoid it if they can.
#6: So what kind of a bum is he then?
#8: That's what I've been asking, buddy.

#8: I think this is what happened: the old man had heard the fight between the boy and his father a few hours earlier. Then, while lying in bed, he heard a body hit the floor in the boy's apartment, and he heard the woman scream from across the street. He got up, he tried to get to the door, heard someone racing down the stairs and *assumed* it was the boy.
#3: Assumed? Brother, I've seen all kinds of dishonesty in my day, but this little display takes the cake. Y'all come in here with your hearts bleedin' all over the floor about slum kids and injustice, you listen to some fairy tales, suddenly you start gettin' through to some of these old ladies... well, you're not getting through to me, I've had enough! WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU GUYS? You all know he's guilty. He's got to burn! You're letting him slip through our fingers.
#8: Slip through our fingers? Are you his executioner?
#3: I'm one of 'em!
#8: Maybe you'd like to pull the switch?
#3: For this kid? You bet I would!
#8: I feel sorry for you—
#3: Don't start with me—!
#8: What it must feel like to want to pull the switch!
#3: Listen, you shut up!
#8: Ever since we walked into this room, you've been behaving like a self-appointed public avenger!
#3: I'm tellin' you now! Shut up!
#8: You want to see this boy die because you personally want it, not because of the facts!
#3: Shut up!
#8: You're a sadist!
#3: SHUT UP!
[#3 lunges wildly at #8, who holds his ground. Several jurors hold #3 back]
#3: Let me go! I'll kill him! I'LL KILL HIM!
#8: You don't really mean you'll kill me, do you?

#3: That business before when that tall guy, what's-his-name, was trying to bait me? That doesn't prove anything. I'm a pretty excitable person. I mean, where does he come off calling me a public avenger, sadist and everything? Anyone in his right mind would blow his stack. He was just trying to bait me.
#4: He did an excellent job.



#10: Oh, listen, I don't see what all this stuff about the knife has got to do with anything. Somebody saw the kid stab his Father, what more do we need? You guys can talk the ears right off my head you know what I mean? I got three garages of mine going to pot while you're talking! So let's get down and get out of here!

#9: It's eleven to one.
#7: So, what do we do now?
#8: You're alone.
#3: I don't care if I'm alone or not! It's my right.
#8: It's your right.
#3: Well, what do you want from me?
#8: We want your arguments.
#3: I gave ya my arguments!
#8: We're not convinced! We want to hear them again. We have as much time as it takes.
#3: Everything... every single thing that came out in that courtroom, but I mean everything... says he's guilty. What d'ya think? I'm an idiot or somethin'? Why don't cha take that stuff about the old man; the old man who lived there and heard everything? Or the business about the knife! What, just because he found one exactly like it? The old man saw him. Right there on the stairs. What's the difference how many seconds it was? Every single thing. The knife falling through a hole in his pocket... you can't prove that he didn't get to the door! Sure, you can hobble around the room and take all the time you want, but you can't prove it! And that stuff with the El! And the movies! Now there's a phony deal if I ever saw one. I'd betcha five thousand dollars I'd remember the names of the movies I saw! I'm tellin' ya: every single thing that has went on has been twisted... and turned. This business with the glasses. How do you know she didn't have 'em on? This woman testified in open court! And that thing about hearin' the kid yell... huh? Listen, I've got all the facts here... [He struggles with his notebook, throws it on the table] Ah! Well, there it is! That's the whole case! [He turns towards the window as the other jurors stare at him] Well, say something! You lousy bunch of bleedin' hearts. You're not goin' to intimidate me! I'm entitled to my own opinion! [Sees the picture of his son on the table] Rotten kids... you work your life out! [He lunges at the picture and tears it to pieces. He suddenly realizes what he's doing, stops, then breaks down] No. Not guilty. Not guilty!

[Last lines]
#9: Hey, what's your name?
#8: Davis.
#9: Mine's McCardle. [pause] Well, so long.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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