12 Angry Men (1957 film)

12 Angry Men (1957 film) Imagery

The Defendant

As the jurors walk into the deliberation room, we get a quick glimpse of the defendant. He is a young and innocent-looking 18-year-old boy, with an expectant and frightened expression on his face. This quick look at him sets the scene for the decision that the jurors will make about his fate.


In the beginning of the film, director Sidney Lumet shoots the jurors at a wide angle, from afar, but as the film progresses, we see the jurors in close-ups more and more. These close-ups serve to give us windows into their interior lives, what they are thinking about in relation to the decision. It also creates an atmosphere of claustrophobia, giving the effect of showing how pent up they are.

Juror 9

When he makes the important observation about one of the witness's glasses, we see the elderly Juror 9 in a tight close-up, his expression lit up with the excitement of epiphany.

"Not Guilty"

At the end of the film, Juror 3, who has been a complete bully throughout the decision-making process, is reduced to a weeping mess on the floor. The image is striking because it shows just how shattered Juror 3 is, and how much vulnerability and pain he has been carrying around under a facade of belligerence.