This really ought to be required viewing for any potential juror. In a day and age where the internet can mobilize and swarm on a person's reputation in mere moments, this movie is a crystal clear reminder of "reasonable doubt." Justice does not come at the cost of rational discussion. These twelve men, none of them particularly malicious, one by one put aside their prejudices, assumptions, and hang-ups to decide the life or death of an 18 year old young man.
This is, in all honesty, probably Henry Fonda's best role as Juror #8. It takes unflappable courage to think carefully, to admit "I don't know." He moves around the room in pronounced tall, long strides like the Colossus at Rhodes, while Lee Cobb's Juror #3 hunches over, ready to leap across the table. The movie embraces archetypes and imbues each of the jurors with a crystal clear personality, so everyone can find themselves in that room. We want to be Juror #8, but in reality, we all carry baggage that warps our sense of justice.
I could rewatch this movie and find something new to love about it each time. And I'm happiest that there are plenty of holes in Juror #8's defense. There's a real possibility the kid killed his dad. The dad deserves justice, too, and if Juror #8 convinces the whole room, they might be letting his murderer walk free. That is why the real villain of the room isn't Juror #3, or even the bigoted Juror #10. It's Juror #7, watching the clock and changing his vote to whatever gets him to his ballgame the fastest. The victim and the defendant both deserve a thoughtful vote.