12 Angry Men- A Classic That You Need To See!

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This movie is considered to be one of the timeless classics of all time, produced and played by Henry Fonda in 1957. It revolves around a murder apparently committed by a teenager. During 1950s and 1960s in US almost all decisions taken by the jurors had to be unanimous. So, the decision could incriminate or exonerate the convict. A life was at stake, so that means a lot.

In this particular movie the whole idea is to master the art of consensus building through rational and logical arguments and convince someone who starts the discussion with a complete polar opposite position and ultimately changes tack.

At the start of the movie only one Juror played by Henry Fonda was against the idea of convicting the victim to death. While the rest of his colleagues considered the case  to be slam dunk he decided to reason with them and started to  find out important points which were found to be overlooked by the authority as most of them were biased and hell bent on proving that convict has committed the crime.

He faced a lot of hostilities at start as expected. But slowly with patience he started to build rapport with the fellow members and ultimately managed to completely overturn the decision.

Each and every juror has some important personality traits. For example, if we talk about Jury 1, his character can be said to have traits of Composed, methodical, disciplined and organised. His role came out clearly in the instance when he gets influenced by others’ opinions initially but later on assesses the facts.

Whenever we talk about group formation, one of the basics is that group formation generally happens in five stages: “Five Stage Model”. We observed the formation of groups layer by layer through the movie.

Forming Stage: When jury interact with each other for the first time. They tend to be helpful, polite and friendly to each other. What is known “Testing the water” stage.

Storming Stage: Here the jury members are deciding the roles and group goals. “Sitting according to jury no.” There we saw a lot of conflicts which was pretty much expected.

Norming stage: When the decision took place that the decision would be taken on 12-0 vote and the group agreed. Voting took place and they brainstormed. “No rules as such”, “respect old man”

Performing stage: They continued to brainstorm for a fair verdict which was their goal.

Adjourning stage: Jury members dispersed after achieving the goal. That was to reach a verdict.

Apart from the personal characteristics one of the factors that played a major role is external factors. For instance – weather and ball game.

Weather was very hot that day and at the start of the discussion we see that some of the jurors are complaining that the room was not air conditioned. And some of them were more than willing to get out of that room.  And that kind of hampered their ability to think rationally. Though the life of a person was at stake but somehow they overlooked it. And there was a discernible change in their attitude towards threadbare analysis when it started to rain and fan started to work.

One of the jurors bought tickets for the ball game and he was insisting every now and then to reach a verdict as soon as possible so that he could reach the venue sooner. He had an incentive. He prioritized his ball game over the life of a person.

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