12 Angry Men is a drama written by Reginald Rose. The entire play takes place in the deliberation room for the jury concerning a homicide trial.
In this theatrical work, the twelve men of the jury deliberate the guilt or acquittal of the defendant, an 18-year-old Hispanic male, who is accused of stabbing his father to death. The jury must arrive at a unanimous decision of whether or not to convict the boy on the basis of reasonable doubt.
Once in the deliberation room, it is apparent that the majority of the jurors believe the boy is guilty, and want to vote to convict him. However, Juror 8 (none of the jurors are referred to by name, only by number) votes not guilty in the first round of deliberations. The rest of the film focuses on the jurors’ difficulty in reaching a unanimous decision, with drama and complications arising as more time passes.
12 Angry Men was first made into a television play in the year 1954. The following year it was adapted for the theater stage, and in 1957 was made into a highly successful film. The film was remade in 1994.
Over the years, 12 Angry Men has become an American classic and received a great deal of critical and popular acclaim. Several television series have made reference to and paid homage to this classic work, including Family Matters, The Odd Couple, King of the Hill, 7th Heaven, Veronica Mars, Monk, Hey Arnold!, My Wife and Kids, Robot Chicken, Charmed, and The Simpsons. The American Film Institute named Juror 8, played by Henry Fonda in the 1957 movie, 28th in a list of the 50 greatest movie heroes of the 20th century.