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12 Angry Men (1957)

CRIME, FILM AND REALITY (Violence AND Court and Juries)
Film 12 Angry Men

The discussion question should help you to formulate your ideas, hypothesis and reflections. In other words, you need to write two three paragraphs of reaction to a specific theme, topic, or characterization common amongst assigned film and readings.  DO NOT summarize or critic the film. Your focus should be on the major themes in the film. By using the discussion questions, it is expected that you will be able to identify main themes that connect assigned film to the readings. The assignment will illustrate your understanding of the material. site the page and author for your hypothesis. No need to use any other reading other than the ones that where provided.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT Do not answer all the questions, use them as to find the major theme as it reflects from the readings attached and criminal justice theories.

1.    Describe the dynamics and personalities of the jury room.

2.    What ideological message does this film convey?

3.    How do the jurors arguments crumble, including those of the racist (played by Ed Begley) and the final juror who holds out for guilt (played by Lee J. Cobb) until the end?

4.    Explain some of the errors of the defendants lawyer. How common are these errors? Would they occur in contemporary death penalty cases?

5.    Using concepts developed by Rafter, was there a justice figure in 12 Angry Men?  How did the plot focus on a typical courtroom film theme:  the difficulty of achieving justice?

6.    Discuss some of the realistic insights about the jury system raised in 12 Angry Men.

7.    Did the defendant have a jury of his peers? (Contrast this to the short story A Jury of Her Peers

8.    Despite its realism, the film is misleading in portraying important rules governing jury deliberations. What were the mistakes?

9.    Why does Rafter believe that there is an absence of critical or alternative traditions within contemporary trial or courtroom films? 

10.    Think about how racism, gender bias, and other kinds of discrimination surface and occur as one has contact with the criminal justice system.  Be able to discuss several of these points and their implications for carrying out the principle of equal justice under law. Where have some of these issues surfaced in films we have viewed? (e.g., Do the Right Thing, Boys Dont Cry, 12 Angry Men etc.).

11.    How does ones social location (status) influence the quality of justice she or he receives? Again, relate these arguments and examples back to short stories and films we have covered in class.

 

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