This movie was voted 10th best movie ever on IMDB, and I can certainly understand why. Not only is this one of the best (if not the best) courtroom dramas I have ever seen, but it creates a wonderfully claustrophobic atmosphere by using just 12 actors and one room.
The movie clearly shows a rift between the upper class, conservatives who are unwilling to change and the progressives who are proposing change for the better of all of us; this film, deep down, is a very class conscious and socially conscious film about discrimination and the deep lines it had in American society in 1957.
Also what is interesting is the fact that it is a film that is done with great simplicity; some actors, and a room... It relies greatly upon the pure talent of the actors, and the great direction of Sidney Lumet -- this film is truly unique due to the true minimalism it embraces in its' production tactics, yet this is something that could easily go unnoticed due to the incredible quality of the film.
The defence and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young Spanish-American is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open and shut case of murder soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors' prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other. Based on the play, all of the action takes place on the stage of the jury room
Quote from 12 Angry Men :
Juror #3: Look, you voted guilty. What side are you on?
Juror #11: I don't believe I have to be loyal to one side or the other. I'm simply asking questions.
Only two jurors are ever identified by name: #8 Mr. Davis and #9 Mr. McCardle. And all but two are identified by job or profession: #1 High School Football Coach, #2 Bank Teller, #3 Owns Messenger Service, #4 Stock Broker, #6 Painter, #7 Salesman, #8 Architect, #10 Garage Owner, #11 Watch Maker, and #12 Advertising Exec