Twelve Angry Men

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Twelve Angry Men is an American courtroom drama written by Reginald Rose concerning the jury of a homicide trial. It was broadcast initially as a television play in 1954. The following year it was adapted for the stage. It was adapted for a film of the same name, directed by Sidney Lumet, and released in 1957. Since then it has been given numerous remakes, adaptations, and tributes.


The play explores the deliberations of a jury of a homicide trial, in which a dozen "men with ties and a coat" decide the fate of a teenager accused of murdering his abusive father. In the beginning, they are nearly unanimous in concluding the youth is guilty. One man dissents, declaring him "not guilty", and he sows a seed of reasonable doubt. Eventually, he convinces the other jurors to support a unanimous "not guilty" verdict.

American writer Reginald Rose first wrote this work as a teleplay for the Studio One anthology television series; it aired as a live CBS Television production on 20 September 1954. He adapted the drama for the stage in 1955 under the same title.

Stage productions[edit]

Rose wrote several stage adaptations of the story. In other theatrical adaptations in which female actors are cast, the play is retitled 12 Angry Jurors, 12 Angry Men and Women or 12 Angry Women.[1][2][3]

One early adaptation was staged in San Francisco in 1955.[4]

In 2003 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the British producer/director Guy Masterson directed an all-comedian revival[5] at the Assembly Rooms, including Bill Bailey as Juror 4, Phil Nichol as Juror 10, Owen O'Neill as Juror 8, Stephen Frost as Juror 3, and Russell Hunter as Juror 9. The production broke the existing box office record for drama at the Fringe Festival and garnered much critical acclaim.[6]

In 2004, the Roundabout Theatre Company presented a Broadway production of the play at the American Airlines Theatre, starring Boyd Gaines as Juror No. 8, with James Rebhorn (No. 4), Philip Bosco (No. 3), and Robert Prosky as the voice of the judge.[7] In 2007, 12 Angry Men ran on a national theatre tour with Richard Thomas and George Wendt starring as Jurors No. 8 and No. 1, respectively. The 2008 tour did not include Wendt but featured Kevin Dobson, of Kojak and Knots Landing, as Juror No. 10.[8]

In 2004–05, the British producer/director Guy Masterson directed a hugely successful Australian version of his hit Edinburgh 2003 production, produced by Arts Projects Australia and Adrian Bohm[9] at QPAC Brisbane, Sydney Theatre and Melbourne Athenaeum. Shane Bourne played as Juror 3, Peter Phelps as Juror 4, Marcus Graham as Juror 8, George Kapiniaris as Juror 2, and Henri Szeps as Juror 9.[10] This production won three Melbourne Green Room Awards and a nomination for "Best Play" at the Sydney Helpmann Awards.

Several London West End productions of the play have been made. In 1964, Leo Genn headed a cast which included Mark Kingston, Paul Maxwell, Arnold Ridley and Robert Urquhart. In 1996 a production at the Comedy Theatre directed by Harold Pinter starred Kevin Whately, with Timothy West, Peter Vaughan and Whately's fellow actor in the British comedy-drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Tim Healy, with a star of the first movie version E. G. Marshall as the voice of the judge. A further revival opened in November 2013 at the Garrick Theatre and was extended until June 2014, starring Tom Conti, Jeff Fahey, Nick Moran and Robert Vaughn.[11]

In June 2022, Theater Latté Da in Minneapolis will[needs update] open a world premiere musical adaptation based on Reginald Rose's teleplay called Twelve Angry Men: A New Musical, with a book by David Simpatico and music and lyrics by Michael Holland.[12]

In other media[edit]


It was written again in 1957 as a feature film, 12 Angry Men, which Sidney Lumet directed, and which starred Henry Fonda. It was nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Writing of Adapted Screenplay.

Indian director Basu Chatterjee remade it as Ek Ruka Hua Faisla in 1986.

In 2007, Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov completed 12, his remake of the film. The jury of the 64th Venice Film Festival assigned its special prize to this remake "to acknowledge the consistent brilliance of Nikita Mikhalkov's body of work".[13]

12 Angry Lebanese is a 2009 documentary film that chronicles efforts to stage an adaptation of Twelve Angry Men with inmates inside Beirut's Roumieh Prison.[14]

In 2014, Chinese film director Xu Ang remade it as 12 Citizens. It was shown at the 2014 Rome Film Festival on October 19, 2014[15] and was released in China on May 15, 2015.[16]

Vaaimai (2016) is a Tamil language adaptation of Twelve Angry Men.[17]


12 Angry Men was remade for television in 1997. Directed by William Friedkin, the remake stars George C. Scott, James Gandolfini, Tony Danza, William Petersen, Ossie Davis, Hume Cronyn, Courtney B. Vance, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Mykelti Williamson, Edward James Olmos, Dorian Harewood, and Jack Lemmon. In this production, the judge is a woman and four of the jurors are black, but most of the action and dialogue of the film are identical to the original. Modernizations include a prohibition on smoking in the jury room, the changing of references to income and pop culture figures, more dialogue relating to ethnicity, discussion about who else could have committed the murder if it wasn't the defendant, references to execution by lethal injection as opposed to the electric chair, and occasional profanity.

In 1963, the West German television channel ZDF produced a film adaptation under the title Die zwölf Geschworenen [de].[18]

In a theatrical version of the play that was once shown in the 1970s on Spanish Television (TVE1), the title given was Doce hombres sin piedad [es] ("Twelve Men Without Mercy").


In 2005, L.A. Theatre Works recorded an audio version of 12 Angry Men, directed by John de Lancie, with a cast including Dan Castellaneta, Jeffrey Donovan, Héctor Elizondo, Robert Foxworth, Kevin Kilner, Richard Kind, Armin Shimerman, Joe Spano and Steve Vinovich.[19]


Juror # 1954 Studio One actor 1957 film actor 1997 film actor 2003 stage actor 2004 stage actor 2005 stage actor 2007 stage actor 2013 stage actor
1 Norman Fell Martin Balsam Courtney B. Vance Steve Furst Mark Blum Rob Meldrum George Wendt Luke Shaw
The jury foreman, somewhat preoccupied with his duties; proves to be accommodating to others. An assistant high school football coach. Tends to attempt to prevent heated arguments. The ninth to vote "not guilty".
2 John Beal John Fiedler Ossie Davis Ian Coppinger Kevin Geer George Kapiniaris Todd Cerveris David Calvitto
A meek and unpretentious bank clerk who is at first domineered by others but finds his voice as the discussion goes on. The fifth to vote "not guilty".
3 Franchot Tone Lee J. Cobb George C. Scott Stephen Frost Philip Bosco / Robert Foxworth Shane Bourne Randle Mell Jeff Fahey
A businessman and distraught father, opinionated and stubborn with a temper; the main antagonist. The twelfth to vote "not guilty".
4 Walter Abel E. G. Marshall Armin Mueller-Stahl Bill Bailey James Rebhorn Peter Phelps Jeffrey Hayenga Paul Antony-Barber
A rational stockbroker, unflappable, calm, and analytical. He remains among the most neutral of the jurors, examining the case through facts and not bias. The eleventh to vote "not guilty".
5 Lee Philips Jack Klugman Dorian Harewood Jeff Green Michael Mastro Nicholas Papademetriou Jim Saltouros Ed Franklin
A soft-spoken paramedic from a violent slum, traditionally the youngest juror. The third to vote "not guilty".
6 Bart Burns Edward Binns James Gandolfini Dave Johns Robert Clohessy Peter Flett Charles Borland Robert Blythe
A house painter, tough but principled and respectful. The sixth to vote "not guilty".
7 Paul Hartman Jack Warden Tony Danza David Calvitto John Pankow Aaron Blabey Mark Morettini Nick Moran, Sean Power
A wisecracking salesman, sports fan, seemingly indifferent to the deliberations. The seventh to vote "not guilty".
8 Robert Cummings Henry Fonda Jack Lemmon Owen O'Neill Boyd Gaines Marcus Graham Richard Thomas Martin Shaw, Tom Conti
An architect, the first dissenter and protagonist. Identified as "Davis" at the end.
9 Joseph Sweeney Joseph Sweeney Hume Cronyn Russell Hunter Tom Aldredge Henri Szeps Alan Mandell Robert Vaughn
A wise and observant elderly man. Identified as "McCardle" at the end. The second to vote "not guilty".
10 Edward Arnold Ed Begley Mykelti Williamson Phil Nichol Peter Friedman Richard Piper Julian Gamble Miles Richardson, William Gaminara
A garage owner; a pushy and loudmouthed bigot. The tenth to vote "not guilty".
11 George Voskovec George Voskovec Edward James Olmos Andy Smart Larry Bryggman / Byron Loquon Alex Menglet David Lively Martin Turner
A thoughtful immigrant watchmaker and naturalized American citizen who demonstrates strong patriotic pride. The fourth to vote "not guilty".
12 Will West Robert Webber William Petersen Gavin Robertson Adam Trese Russell Fletcher Craig Wroe Owen O'Neill, Robert Duncan
An indecisive advertising executive who is easily swayed by the others. Originally the eighth to vote "not guilty" before changing back and forth three times.

Homages and references in other works[edit]

  • On the Norman Lear CBS sitcom All in the Family, Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton) is the lone juror who questioned the evidence against the defendant, despite the pressure from her bigoted socialite co-juror (Doris Singleton) in the first-season episode, "Edith Has Jury Duty".
  • The first animated homage to Twelve Angry Men was Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones, also TV's first prime time animated series. In the sixth-season episode "Disorder in the Court", Fred (Alan Reed) is the foreman and believes the defendant is innocent even though (in a twist original) it is obvious that he is guilty. Fred changes his vote and when he announces the guilty verdict in court, the defendant—called "The Mangler" (Henry Corden)—threatens Fred with revenge when released from prison.
  • A fifth-season episode of the BBC TV series Hancock's Half Hour called "Twelve Angry Men" is a parody of the original film with the central concept being reversed. Hancock spends the episode trying to convince the jury that a man caught red-handed stealing some jewelry is innocent when he is clearly guilty.
  • An episode of the TV series The Dick Van Dyke Show, aired March 7, 1962, and entitled "One Angry Man". In this episode, Rob Petrie is the only juror who believes the defendant (Sue Ane Langdon) to be innocent.
  • The Newhart episode "Twelve Annoyed Men...and Women" features main character Dick Loudon as foreman of a jury that is set to convict a bird thief, until one holdout votes "not guilty". The lone dissenter reveals that he voted for acquittal only because he wanted to spend more time with the members of the jury.
  • The animated television series Pepper Ann features an episode titled "One Angry Woman". Pepper Ann's mother Lydia is called into jury duty for a case involving a supposed spitter. The events play out similarly to the original, complete with certain lines spoofed and altered for the episode.
  • An episode of the TV series Monk, "Mr. Monk Gets Jury Duty", strongly spoofs the original 12 Angry Men teleplay. In this episode, the jury is presiding over the case of a man accused of stabbing another man attempting to make a bank deposit. Many of the jurors resemble a 12 Angry Men juror in some way or form.[citation needed]
  • A Season 11 episode of Family Guy, "12 and a Half Angry Men", is a parody of the film. The town mayor is accused of murder, and Brian and Peter are called to the jury. Brian takes the role of the eighth juror.
  • A Season 2 episode of Murder, She Wrote features a parody of the film (however, both men and women are included on this jury), with Jessica Fletcher and eleven other jurors seeking to determine the guilt or innocence of both a man and a woman.
  • Season Three of Inside Amy Schumer devoted an episode to one sketch, a parody of 12 Angry Men. The twelve men must decide if Amy Schumer is "hot enough" to have her own TV show.[20]
  • In a 1996 episode of Early Edition, titled "The Jury", Gary is the only juror who believes a man accused of embezzlement is innocent. Similarities to Twelve Angry Men include a European juror, a retiree, a meek juror, and a juror who cares little about the case.
  • The King of the Hill Season Three episode "Nine Pretty Darn Angry Men" parodies 12 Angry Men with the characters as part of a focus group for a new lawnmower. Hank in the role based on juror 8 opposes the new mower while the others praise it.[citation needed]
  • The title of an episode in Season Two of Veronica Mars, "One Angry Veronica", references the film as the main plot and is concerned with Veronica being called for jury duty.
  • The That Girl episode "Eleven Angry Men and That Girl", has the show's main character Ann Marie convince a jury that a person who was accused of domestic violence should be found innocent, only to see them strike their spouse in court after the verdict is announced.
  • In Blue Bloods season 4, episode 8, "Justice Served", Danny Reagan dissents as Juror 8.[citation needed]
  • Episode 6 in series 12 ("Jury") of the sitcom Not Going Out is set in a jury room with multiple references to Twelve Angry Men.


  1. ^ "' Twelve Angry Women'". Goldstar.
  2. ^ "Acting Company of Greenwich – Past Productions, January 27 – February 5, 1995,". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  3. ^ "12 Angry Jurors". Sam Bass Theatre. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  4. ^ Cone, Theresa Loeb (10 December 1955). "'Twelve Angry Men' Drama Staged at S.F." Oakland Tribune. p. 4. Retrieved 6 September 2021 – via
  5. ^ "PAST SHOWS 12 Angry Men (UK) by Reginald Rose 2003".
  6. ^ "Edinburgh Festival Fringe |". Scotland.
  7. ^ Twelve Angry Men, American Airlines Theatre, Playbill
  8. ^ BWW News Desk. "Roundabout's '12 Angry Men' & Thomas Return for 2nd Tour".
  9. ^ "Past Shows: 12 ANGRY MEN (OZ) by Reginald Rose (2005)".
  10. ^ "12 Angry Men (Australian Cast) :: Arts Projects Australia".
  11. ^ Fiona Mountford (12 November 2013). "Twelve Angry Men, Garrick Theatre – review". London Evening Standard. Alexander Lebedev/Evgeny Lebedev/Daily Mail and General Trust. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  12. ^ "Theater Latte da Announces 2021-2022 Season, Celebrating Re-imagined Classics and Impactful New Work".
  13. ^ "Official Awards at the 64th Venice Film Festival – The Drew Handler Award of Excellence in the Film and Picture Category". Archived from the original on March 8, 2012.
  14. ^ "12 Angry Lebanese: The Documentary". FSLC. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  15. ^ "Shier gongmin (12 Citizens)". (in Italian). Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  16. ^ "十二公民 (2014)". (in Chinese). Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  17. ^ "Vaaimai Movie Review {1.5/5}: Critic Review of Vaaimai by Times of India". The Times of India.
  18. ^ Die zwölf Geschworenen at IMDb
  19. ^ "L.A. Theatre Works: Twelve Angry Men". Online trailer. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  20. ^ Holmes, Linda (6 May 2015). "Amy Schumer Puts Her Own Looks On Trial". NPR. Retrieved 10 May 2015.