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David Ray Papke, 12 Angry Men Is Not an Archetype: Reflections on the Jury in Contemporary Popular Culture, 82 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 735 (2007).

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82 Chicago-Kent Law Review 735 (2007).


Fifty years after its initial release, 12 Angry Men (1957) remains an important cinematic and political work. But alas, 12 Angry Men is fundamentally atypical as a pop cultural portrayal of the jury. In the standard portrayal individual jurors do not come alive as characters. They are seen in the courtroom rather than in the deliberation room. And, most importantly, the jury does not emerge as a symbol for the larger democratic process and concomitant rule of law. Assuming that popular culture indirectly indicates the public's attitudes and expectations, the flat, uninspiring portrayal of juries in contemporary American popular culture may indicate the public's abandonment of the idea that juries are important manifestations of popular sovereignty.

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