Twelve Angry Men

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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.[1][2]

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.[3]

The London West End production of the play opened in November 2013, originally running until 1st March 2014, but recently extended until 14th June 2014, at the Garrick Theatre starring Tom Conti, Jeff Fahey, Nick Moran and Robert Vaughn.[4]


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 1963, the German Television Channel ZDF produced a film adaption under the title Die zwölf Geschworenen.[5]

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."[6]


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.[7]


Juror #Character1954 stage actor1957 film actor1997 film actor2004 stage actor2007 stage actor2013 stage actorVotes 'not guilty'
1/The ForemanThe jury foreman, somewhat preoccupied with his duties; proves to be accommodating to others. An assistant high school football coachNorman Fell (billed as Norman Feld)Martin BalsamCourtney B. VanceMark BlumGeorge WendtLuke Shaw9th
2A meek and unpretentious bank clerk who is at first domineered by others but finds his voice as the discussion goes on.John BealJohn FiedlerOssie DavisKevin GreerTodd CerverisDavid Calvitto5th
3A businessman and distraught father, opinionated and stubborn with a temper; the antagonistFranchot ToneLee J. CobbGeorge C. ScottPhilip Bosco / Robert FoxworthRandle MellJeff Fahey12th
4A rational stockbroker, unflappable, self-assured, and analyticalWalter AbelE. G. MarshallArmin Mueller-StahlJames RebhornJeffrey HayengaPaul Antony-Barber11th
5A young man from a violent slum, in the book a Milwaukee Brewers fan, in the movies and on Broadway, a Baltimore Orioles fanLee Philips (billed as Lee Phillips)Jack KlugmanDorian HarewoodMichael MastroJim SaltourosEd Franklin3rd
6A house painter, tough but principled and respectfulBart BurnsEdward BinnsJames GandolfiniRobert ClohessyCharles BorlandRobert Blythe6th
7A salesman, sports fan, superficial and indifferent to the deliberationsPaul HartmanJack WardenTony DanzaJohn PankowMark MorettiniNick Moran7th
8An architect, the first dissenter and protagonist. Identified as "Davis" at the endRobert CummingsHenry FondaJack LemmonBoyd GainesRichard ThomasMartin Shaw, Tom Conti1st
9A wise and observant elderly man. Identified as "McCardle" at the endJoseph SweeneyJoseph SweeneyHume CronynTom AldredgeAlan MandellRobert Vaughn2nd
10A garage owner; a pushy and loudmouthed bigotEdward ArnoldEd BegleyMykelti WilliamsonPeter FriedmanJulian GambleMiles Richardson, William Gaminara10th
11A German watchmaker and naturalized American citizenGeorge VoskovecGeorge VoskovecEdward James OlmosLarry Bryggman / Byron LoquonDavid LivelyMartin Turner4th
12A wisecracking, indecisive advertising executiveLarkin Ford (billed as William West)Robert WebberWilliam PetersenAdam TreseCraig WroeOwen O'Neil, Robert Duncan8th


Many television series have episodes based on the teleplay. These include Hancock's Half Hour,[8] 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.


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