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12 Angry Guys

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Juror No. 3 (Lee J. Cobb), '12 Angry Men'This highly charged allegory about the mysterious workings of justice is first and foremost an actors' showcase. During one long, sweltering afternoon, a mild-mannered fellow in white (Henry Fonda as Juror No. 8) forces an unwilling bunch of jurors -- each one an American "type" -- to re-examine their guilty verdict in a murder trial. Fuming with vile bigotry, Juror No. 10 (Ed Begley) would convict any one of "them." But Juror No. 3's stubborn certainty that the youthful defendant killed his abusive dad has its roots in his own estranged son's betrayal. As he spews inchoate rage, Cobb's face and body seem literally distorted, even swollen, with the sadistic need to punish someone, even the "lousy bunch of bleeding hearts" who are his fellow jurors. In Juror No. 3's last furious bid as "public avenger," he tallies up the "facts," then flings down his notes -- along with a snapshot of his ungrateful kid. There's tragic grace in the way this big, violent man folds, ripping up the photo, then wearily voting, "Not guilty." (MGM Studios/Courtesy of Getty Images)
© MGM Studios/Courtesy of Getty Images
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