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" decide the fate of a teenager accused of murdering his abusive father. At 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 persuades 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]

In 2003 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the British producer/director Guy Masterson directed an all-comedian revival[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

In 2004/5, 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[8] 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.[9] 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 EG 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.[10]

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.

In 1963, the German Television Channel ZDF produced a film adaption under the title Die zwölf Geschworenen.[11]

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".[12]

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.[13]

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[14] and was released in China on May 15, 2015.[15]

Vaaimai (2016) is a Tamil language adaptation of Twelve Angry Men.[16]


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 race, discussion about who else could have committed the murder if it weren't the defendant, references to execution by lethal injection as opposed to the electric chair, and occasional profanity.

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" ("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.[17]


Juror # 1954 Studio One actor 1957 film actor 1997 film actor 2003 stage actor 2004 stage actor 2005 stage actor 2013 stage actor 2007 stage actor
1 Norman Fell Martin Balsam Courtney B. Vance Steve Furst Mark Blum Rob Meldrum Luke Shaw George Wendt
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 David Calvitto Todd Cerveris
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 Jeff Fahey Randle Mell
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 Paul Antony-Barber Jeffrey Hayenga
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 Ed Franklin Jim Saltouros
A soft-spoken paramedic from a violent slum, traditionally the youngest juror. In the Broadway play and 1997 film a Milwaukee Brewers fan, in the 1957 film, a Baltimore Orioles fan. The third to vote "not guilty".
6 Bart Burns Edward Binns James Gandolfini Dave Johns Robert Clohessy Peter Flett Robert Blythe Charles Borland
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 Nick Moran, Sean Power Mark Morettini
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 Martin Shaw, Tom Conti Richard Thomas
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 Robert Vaughn Alan Mandell
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 Miles Richardson, William Gaminara Julian Gamble
A garage owner; a pushy and loudmouthed bigot. In the 1997 film, a black supremacist. The tenth to vote "not guilty".
11 George Voskovec George Voskovec Edward James Olmos Andy Smart Larry Bryggman / Byron Loquon Alex Menglet Martin Turner David Lively
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 Owen O'Neill, Robert Duncan Craig Wroe
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]

  • 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 jewellery 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.[18]
  • 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 opposed to 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," had 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.
  • The Happy Days episode "Fonzie for the Defense" has Howard Cunningham and Fonzie on a jury. Fonzie's knowledge of motorcycles helps him sway the rest of the jury.
  • In the Andy Griffith Show episode "Aunt Bee the Juror", Aunt Bee is chosen to serve on a jury in a burglary trial. Eleven of the jurors vote guilty, but Aunt Bee votes not guilty because she has some doubts. After a mistrial is declared, one of the courtroom spectators is revealed to be the real crook.
  • The known veracity in general of eyewitnesses played a key role in the verification of the Chelyabinsk meteor in its first reportage in English (by the blog Russian Machine Never Breaks). [19]


  1. ^ "Twelve Angry Women": All-Female Version of Classic
  2. ^ Acting Company of Greenwich – Past Productions, January 27 – February 5, 1995
  3. ^ "12 Angry Jurors". Sam Bass Theatre. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  4. ^ Theatre Tours International Past Shows
  5. ^ – Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  6. ^ Twelve Angry Men, American Airlines Theatre, Playbill
  7. ^ Roundabout's 12 Angry Men & Thomas Return for 2nd Tour
  8. ^ Theatre Tours International Past Shows
  9. ^ Guy Masterson's Australian Production of 12 Angry Men
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Die zwölf Geschworenen at IMDb
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "12 Angry Lebanese: The Documentary". FSLC. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Shier gongmin (12 Citizens)". (in Italian). Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  15. ^ "十二公民 (2014)". (in Chinese). Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "L.A. Theatre Works: Twelve Angry Men". Online trailer. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  18. ^ Holmes, Linda (6 May 2015). "Amy Schumer Puts Her Own Looks On Trial". Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  19. ^