Free 12 Angry Men Review Essay Sample

The electronic media has become a powerful tool for socialization because of its ability to impact large numbers of people and change people’s beliefs to match with the ideologies it represents. Some of the most common subjects that the electronic media use in the course of  socialization process include offender-based films, police dramas, comedies, and the detective genres. A common trend among electronic media depictions is that it tends to distort the reality of the genre represented. For instance, electronic media distorts the picture of crime in terms of crime and amount. The picture of victimization is distorted in terms of crime types, sex, race and age of offenders. Electronic media also distort police misconduct and violations of offender rights by the criminal justice system. The fundamental argument is that movies depicting criminal justice themes convey significant ideas and information to the public concerning the criminal justice system. However, they concurrently distort the realities of the criminal justice system in the US. The intrinsic nature of criminal law is technically complex. As a result, movies and films running for only 90-120 minutes are poorly composed to depict the details of the criminal justice system. In reality the analogous cases depicted in fictional films take weeks or months for investigation and prosecution. This implies that it is uncommon to come across a film that does not distort the nature of the criminal justice system. One of such films that distort the realm of the United States criminal justice is 12 Angry Men. In the light of this view, this essay discusses how the film distorts the nature of the criminal justice system that the perception that the film imposes on the public concerning the nature of the criminal justice system.

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Overview of the Film

The film commences with a jury attempting to pass judgment on a court case, wherein a teenage boy is accused of murdering his father. All of the twelve jurors except one are convinced that the young man is guilty..The story focuses on how juror 8 must convince his fellow jurors to reevaluate their verdict. As the plot unfolds, the courage and commitment demonstrated by Juror 8 in thinking through the case and the respective implications of the guilty verdict make other jurors revise and rethink on the evidence presented in the case. The main objective of the director was to produce a film that depicted the relationship between prejudice and the legal system. Twelve Angry Men is naturalistic. It creates a precise representation of attitudes of the characters and depicts the process of a jury service.

Impacts of the Film’s Content on the Perception of the Criminal Justice System

A dominant theme in the film is the possibility of an innocent person to turn out to be the victim of the criminal process. In this film there was a possibility that innocent boy could have been wrongly accused because of the failure of the jury members to examine the validity of the evidence presented in court. The film serves to depict the flaws presented in the criminal justice process that could lead to the conviction of a guiltless individual. In reality, the criminal justice process functions in accordance to the presumption of innocence for the crimes accused. However, this assumption does not guarantee that the innocent person can be wrongly convicted. In addition, the “innocent till proven guilty” hypothesis does not mean that participants of the United States’ criminal justice system hold the belief that there is the likelihood of convicting individuals of crimes they never committed. The actual meaning of the assumption is that the criminal justice system needs the state to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond considerable doubt. Therefore, the absence of such proof implies that the defendant should be acquitted (Rafter 78). Therefore, the drawback concerning the criminal justice process portrayed by the film is the failure of the justice process participants to cross-examine the evidence presented in the court before passing the final judgment. In addition, the film depicted the practitioners of the criminal justice in the negative light because of their failure to ascertain the validity of the evidence presented before passing judgment. Perception of the criminal justice system represented to the public is a system that can wrongly convict an innocent person because of the flaws in actions of the participants in the jury process.

Another distortion of the criminal justice system presented in the film concerns the police subsystem. This is because of the evidence gathered and presented to the court. It is obvious that the police presented invalid and inconsistent evidence in the court. For example, a woman who purportedly witnessed on the incidence did not have her glasses. In addition, the stab wound appeared to have been made by a taller person using a switchblade. The realm of the criminal justice system is that the police assess the validity and admissibility of evidence before presenting them in court. However, the movie did not focus on the aspect of admissibility of evidences prior to their presentation in court.


The film creates a perception that the United States criminal justice system is feeble and does not examine the evidence sufficiently prior to passing a judgment. In addition, the American justice system is depicted as being vulnerable to false confessions and truth-detection flaws, which are critical for guaranteeing the trustworthiness of the American justice system. As a result, the movie demonstrates that the false convictions are likely to happen in the American criminal justice process. Overall, the misrepresentations of the criminal justice system depicted in the film include flaws in the evidence presented in court, failure to cross-examine the evidence, possibility of erroneous execution of the innocent boy, and failure of establishing the validity and truthfulness of evidence before passing judgment, especially false confessions. All these misrepresentations increase the likelihood of erroneous executions under the justice system, which is not true for the American justice system. 


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