12 Angry Men (1957)

Genre: Drama | Age: 8-9


Ages 4 & Under -- No
Ages 5 to 7 -- With Guidance
Ages 8 to 9 -- Yes
Ages 10 to 12 -- Yes
Ages 13 to 15 -- Yes
Ages 15 to 17 -- Yes

12 Angry Men (1957)

DRAMA: (1957, NR, B&W.) Twelve jurors must decide the fate of a young man accused of first-degree murder. A first, most of the jurors take the case lightly despite the fact they are deciding a death penalty case. They begin with eleven voting guilty and one not guilty. After inspecting the evidence and each becoming emotionally involved in the case, they slowly begin changing their minds. They ultimately conclude that the boy is not guilt – or at least there is a reasonable doubt.

VIOLENCE/SCARINESS: A young man is accused of killing his abusive father. One man threatens another with a knife. There are several emotional outbursts in the jury room.


MORALS, ISSUES & VALUES: Some of the jurors take their duties seriously while others see it as trivial. Each man makes his decision based on a combination of logic and emotions. In some jurors their backgrounds are obstacles while others lead to unique information: One man exhibits racial prejudice, another made it out of the slums, while another is prejudiced against immigrants. One juror “made a man” out of his child; as a result, the son had a fistfight with his father and left home. He now wants to execute the young man as a substitute for his son. According to the film: The boy’s criminality comes from is slum upbringing. Being on a jury involves great responsibility. The American justice system works despite flaws in the legal system, individual flaws and prejudices. Problem solving without violence.

SEXUALITY & GENDER ISSUES: The jury is all-male and all-white. The accused boy comes from a dysfunctional family.

SUBSTANCES: Many of the jurors smoke cigarettes.

COMMENTS: A cinematic poem to the American Justice system at its best – where an individual can be heard and make a difference. An outstanding film that is both inspiring and educational. It’s amazing how exciting a film of twelve people in one room talking to each other can be. A classic.

STARRING: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E. G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Jack Klugman.

ALTERNATES: Other films from the middle of the century that deal with social issues are “Gentleman’s Agreement” and “Criss-Cross.” For a different, more depressing view of the American Justice system try “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Grapes of Wrath.”


Nudity -- 0
Sexuality -- 0
Physical Violence -- 2
Emotional Stress -- 4
Blood or Gore -- 0
Language/Profanity -- 0
Immorality -- 3
Parental Guidance -- 2
Watchability for Adults -- 4
Overall (For Kids of the Appropriate Age) -- 5

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