Juror 11 confronts 7 about changing his vote, suggesting that he is not being genuine and having a principled approach to being a juror. 7 defends himself, but 11 accuses him of "playing with a man's life." "If you want to vote 'not guilty,' do it because you believe that the man is not guilty, not because you've had enough," 11 says.
7 insists that he is voting "not guilty" out of a genuine belief that the defendant is not guilty. "I want another vote," 8 says, and the men raise their hands to vote again. This time, 9 of the jurors, including the foreman and the advertising executive (12) vote for "not guilty." 3, 4, and 10 are now the only men who vote "guilty."
10 stands and scolds the rest of them, insisting that none of these details that 8 keeps bringing up mean anything for the case. "Look, you know how these people lie. It's born in them," he yells. His bigoted ranting leads 5 to stand in protest and step away from the table. 9 gets up also and steps away from the table, then 11, then 8, until all of them except 4 and 7 are standing and turned away from 10.
4 tells 10 to stop talking, and he goes and sits at a separate, smaller table. The men take their seats again to keep talking. "It's always difficult to keep personal prejudice out of a thing like this. Wherever you run into it, prejudice always obscures the truth," 8 says.
He tells his fellow jurors that nobody can be sure of what happened on the night of the murder, but that they have a reasonable doubt, "and that's something that's very valuable in our system." He looks at the remaining "guilty" voters and asks what makes them so sure of their verdict.
Juror 4 says that he thinks the boy is guilty because of the testimony given by the woman across the street, and the fact that she testified that she saw the boy raise his hand above his father's chest and stab downwards. He recalls her testimony: "She said she went to bed about 11:00 that night. Her bed was next to the window, and she could look out while lying down and see directly into the boy's room across the street. She tossed and turned for an hour, unable to sleep. Finally, she turned toward the window at about 12:10, and as she looked out, she saw the killing through the windows of a passing El train."
He asks 12 what he thinks, and 12 says he thinks it's too complicated to judge. 3 calls for another vote, and 12 changes his vote back to "guilty." 3 suggests they should bring it to the judge and say they're a hung jury.
9 confronts 4 about the fact that he was rubbing his nose. "I was rubbing it because it bothers me a little," he says, and 9 correctly guesses that the annoyance has to do with his glasses, which makes indentations in his nose. "I've never worn eyeglasses. 20-20," Juror 9 says, before telling the group that the woman who testified to having seen the killing had the same marks on the sides of her nose from wearing glasses. 9 describes the woman: "This woman was about 45 years old. She's making a tremendous effort to look 35, for her first public appearance. Heavy make-up. Dyed hair. Brand-new clothes that should have been worn by a younger woman. No glasses."
9's argument, that the woman regularly wears glasses, convinces Juror 4 that she might have seen the event incorrectly, since no one would wear glasses to bed. 3 begins screaming, suggesting that they don't know anything about the woman or her glasses, but the other jurors insist that it seems unlikely that she would have been able to identify something 60 feet away without glasses. "You can't send someone off to die on evidence like that," says 2.
8 goes over to 10 and asks if he still thinks the boy is guilty, and 10 shakes his head. 4 has also changed his mind, and thinks the boy is not guilty. 3 is the only remaining juror who believes he is guilty. "I don't care whether I'm alone or not. It's my right," 3 says, and holds firm to his belief that the boy is guilty. As he does, he drops his wallet and a picture of him and his estranged son falls out.
The men stare at him as he looks down at the picture of him with his son. He is filled with rage and rips up the photo, erupting into tears. Suddenly, he says, "Not guilty." As the rain pours down, 3 cries into his sleeve.
1 knocks on the door and tells the court that they are ready to deliver the verdict, as the men gather their coats and leave the decision room. As 3 cries into his sleeve, 8 fetches his coat and brings it to him.
As they leave the courthouse, 9 goes to 8 and asks him his name. "Davis," 8 says. 9 introduces himself as McArdle, and they part ways.
Lumet continues to use closeups to show the emotions and experiences of the jurors in the room. When Juror 11 confronts 7 about his voting "not guilty," we see both of their faces in closeup. We see 11 filled with righteousness and passion as he questions 7 about his vote, asking for sincerity and seriousness. These closeups are not only for dramatic effect; they also pull us in to the ways that each juror's principles and sense of what is right is being put to the test.
While the men are often divided in their search for the truth, there is a strange unity that arises when Juror 10 begins ranting against immigrants and the people who live in the slum. He launches into a bigoted diatribe against the kinds of people who live in the slum, who he insists are violent and dangerous. One by one, each of the men gets up and steps away from the table in an act of peaceful protest against his xenophobic bigotry. By the end, 10 is less confident, and even those with whom he agrees, like Juror 4, are telling him to keep his mouth shut.
Lumet shoots this sequence, in which 10 is ostracized by his fellow jurors, in a very specific way. As the men begin to stand and step away from the table, he pulls the camera back in a very slow zoom out. This mirrors the way that 10's perspective, in its unpopularity, is shrinking his influence as a juror. Then, when he goes and sits at a separate table in a moment of self-imposed ostracism, the men begin to sit back down, and the camera slowly crawls back towards the deliberation table. This camerawork highlights the tension between the men, the fact that bigotry is harmful to the deliberation process.
By the end of the meeting, and with a key observation made by the overlooked Juror 9, all the jurors except the violent Juror 3 believe that the defendant is not guilty. Instead of realizing that he is now alone in his conviction, 3 doubles down and only becomes angrier and angrier, spewing venom at his peers. He believes that all of the evidence has been twisted in the course of the meeting, but that there is ample evidence to suggest that the boy committed the murder. While the other jurors suggest that they cannot proceed with reasonable doubt, 3 insists that he knows that the evidence presented is reliable.
At the end of his rant, however, Juror 3 catches sight of a photo of himself with his son, from whom he is estranged, and erupts into tears, finally sputtering, "not guilty" in between sobs. In this definitive moment, we see that 3 has been holding onto his own personal conviction that the defendant is guilty because of his own personal experience. His judgment and his respect for the due process of the law have been clouded by his own subjective emotions, and his deep sense of anger and disenfranchisement. The film ends with an image of a man who is alienated from his own feelings to the extent that it has made him angry without reason. The "12 angry men" of the title each carry with them personal wounds that inform their sense of logic and prevent them from thinking more objectively.