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Twelve Angry Men is a 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, and in 1957 was made into a highly successful film. Since then it has been adapted, remade, and homaged numerous times.
The play concerns the deliberations of the jury of a homicide trial. At the beginning, they have a nearly unanimous decision of guilty, with a single dissenter of not guilty, who throughout the play sows a seed of reasonable doubt. It was first made as a 1954 teleplay by Reginald Rose for the Studio One anthology television series, and was aired as a CBS live production on 20 September 1954. The drama was later rewritten for the stage in 1955 under the same title.
Rose wrote several stage adaptations of the story. In 1964, Leo Genn appeared in the play on the London stage. 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.
In 2004, the Roundabout Theatre Company presented a Broadway production of the play, starring Boyd Gaines as a more combative Juror No. 8, with James Rebhorn (No. 4), Philip Bosco (No. 3), and Robert Prosky as the voice of the judge. 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 does not include Wendt but features another television personality, Kevin Dobson of Kojak and Knots Landing, as Juror No. 10.
It was rewritten 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 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 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, and occasional profanity.
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, Hector Elizondo, Robert Foxworth, Kevin Kilner, Richard Kind, Armin Shimerman, Joe Spano and Steve Vinovich.
|Juror #||Character||1954 stage actor||1957 film actor||1997 film actor||2004 stage actor||2007 stage actor||Votes 'not guilty'|
|1/The Foreman||The jury foreman, somewhat preoccupied with his duties; proves to be accommodating to others. An assistant high school football coach||Norman Fell (billed as Norman Feld)||Martin Balsam||Courtney B. Vance||Mark Blum||George Wendt||9th|
|2||A meek and unpretentious bank clerk who is at first domineered by others but finds his voice as the discussion goes on.||John Beal||John Fiedler||Ossie Davis||Kevin Greer||Todd Cerveris||5th|
|3||A businessman and distraught father, opinionated and stubborn with a temper; the antagonist||Franchot Tone||Lee J. Cobb||George C. Scott||Philip Bosco / Robert Foxworth||Randle Mell||12th|
|4||A rational stockbroker, unflappable, self-assured, and analytical||Walter Abel||E. G. Marshall||Armin Mueller-Stahl||James Rebhorn||Jeffrey Hayenga||11th|
|5||A young man from a violent slum, in the book a Milwaukee Brewers, in the movies and on Broadway, a Baltimore Orioles fan||Lee Philips (billed as Lee Phillips)||Jack Klugman||Dorian Harewood||Michael Mastro||Jim Saltouros||3rd|
|6||A house painter, tough but principled and respectful||Bart Burns||Edward Binns||James Gandolfini||Robert Clohessy||Charles Borland||6th|
|7||A salesman, sports fan, superficial and indifferent to the deliberations||Paul Hartman||Jack Warden||Tony Danza||John Pankow||Mark Morettini||7th|
|8||An architect, the first dissenter and protagonist. Identified as "Davis" at the end||Robert Cummings||Henry Fonda||Jack Lemmon||Boyd Gaines||Richard Thomas||1st|
|9||A wise and observant elderly man. Identified as "McCardle" at the end||Joseph Sweeney||Joseph Sweeney||Hume Cronyn||Tom Aldredge||Alan Mandell||2nd|
|10||A garage owner; a pushy and loudmouthed bigot||Edward Arnold||Ed Begley||Mykelti Williamson||Peter Friedman||Julian Gamble||10th|
|11||A European watchmaker and naturalized American citizen||George Voskovec||George Voskovec||Edward James Olmos||Larry Bryggman / Byron Loquon||David Lively||4th|
|12||A wisecracking, indecisive advertising executive||Larkin Ford (billed as William West)||Robert Webber||William Petersen||Adam Trese||Craig Wroe||8th|
Many television series have episodes based on the teleplay. These include Hancock's Half Hour, Picket Fences, Perfect Strangers, Family Matters, The Dead Zone, Early Edition, The Odd Couple, King of the Hill, Matlock, 7th Heaven, Veronica Mars, Monk, Hey Arnold!, Peep Show (TV series), My Wife and Kids, Robot Chicken, Charmed, and The Simpsons.