I have recently watched this movie and now I can't decide whether the boy was guilty or not. As per the proofs and evidences, he was guilty, but did the 8th juror's logic and countermeasure favour him?

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    I have removed What do you think part as it may depict that you're asking for opinions, which may invite Close Votes.
    – A J
    Mar 3, 2017 at 7:27
  • Its not the 12'th Man, he was the 8th Juror and when you add the word "really" it becomes a subject of discussion and speculation just the way it was in that movie. Mar 3, 2017 at 7:39
  • As we're getting answers re-stating the 'legal situation' I think the question ought to be reworded as "did he actually do it?" which is 'legally' different from "was he guilty?"
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 3, 2017 at 8:37
  • @Tetsujin More precisely, "Did he actually do it?" is legally different from "Was he proven beyond all reasonable doubt to have done it?" Dec 18, 2021 at 4:44

2 Answers 2



We're never told either way. The movie is more focused on prejudice than anything else, and how some jurors wanted him to be guilty based on his background. In the end, reasonable doubt is planted in everyone's minds, and according to jury instructions that reasonable doubt must result in a NOT GUILTY verdict, however, no conclusive evidence is ever given as to the defendant's true guilt or innocence.

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    Yes this is the point. The Jury is there to decide based on the cases put by prosecution and defence, not personal belief or bias. Henry Fonda's character slowly chips away at each jurors conviction until they all realise the case for was not made conclusively, so the boy should be found not guilty. We can never actually judge guilt (and nor should we). Mar 3, 2017 at 14:47


The first thing we should remember is the Judge's dialogue when he directs the Jurors.

Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050083/trivia?tab=qt&ref_=tt_trv_qu

Judge: To continue, you've listened to a long and complex case, murder in the first degree. Premeditated murder is the most serious charge tried in our criminal courts. You've listened to the testimony, you've had the law read to you and interpreted as it applies in this case, it's now your duty to sit down and try to separate the facts from the fancy. One man is dead, another man's life is at stake, if there's a reasonable doubt in your minds as to the guilt of the accused, uh a reasonable doubt, then you must bring me a verdict of "Not Guilty". If, however, there's no reasonable doubt, then you must, in good conscience, find the accused "Guilty". However you decide, your verdict must be unanimous. In the event that you find the accused "Guilty", the bench will not entertain a recommendation for mercy. The death sentence is mandatory in this case. You're faced with a grave responsibility, thank you, gentlemen.

Here, the Judge clearly defines the implications of "GUILTY" and "NOT GUILTY" whereby comes the most important phrase in this movie "REASONABLE DOUBT". As conclusively there was a reasonable doubt, therefore the boy was not guilty because the jurors had to abide by the definition supplied by the Judge

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    I think you're on the wrong tack here. The question is 'did he actually do it?' not 'was he found to be guilty or not?'
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 3, 2017 at 8:39
  • @Tetsujin..Sorry Sir, but I do differ here. Firstly because, bringing the question ""did he actually do it"....is clearly intending to bring forth a discussion and speculation and this is not such forum for a opinion based discussion. Secondly, if we need to address that question? we HAVE to go by the way GUILT/INNOCENCE has been defined by the Judge. If you do not feel so, then we are just going to have an identical discussion, just the way the film portrayed. Mar 3, 2017 at 8:47
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    "We are never told" is also an answer - & in this case, the correct answer. Neither the jury's decision nor the judges comments are relevant to the answer required.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 3, 2017 at 8:56
  • "I can't decide either the boy was guilty or not?"...don't you feel this question itself would have sounded relevant if our user was one of the jurors? This simple fact that, we were not shown the evidence, all we got from this movie was interactions, expressions of characters. Then how can this question, in itself be relevant? So I answered it from the context of the movie itself. Mar 3, 2017 at 9:01
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    It doesn't matter whether you can decide or not. The question resolves to "are we told, in the movie, if he actually did it?". This has nothing to do with whether he was found guilty or not.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 3, 2017 at 9:23

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