Last Dance (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Last Dance (1996)

Last Dance (1996)

Last Dance



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

It has been widely speculated that this prison drama of the attempts of a well-meaning attorney to save a cynical young woman from death row may have received more favorable reviews had it not been released on the heels of the powerful, exceptionally well-wrought Dead Man Walking (1995). Maybe. Most agree that the film just lacked the emotional "oomph" to really make the audience care about the fate of the protagonists Rick Hayes (Rob Morrow), a recent appointee to the Clemency Board of an unnamed Southern state and convicted-killer Cindy Liggett (Sharon Stone). Rick is a so-so lawyer who used his more successful brother's influence to get the appointment, and Cindy is one of Rick first cases. She has spent the past 12 years on Death Row after being convicted of murdering a young couple when she was only 19. Now she is to be the first woman executed in the state in over a decade. Her crime unfolds during the story's course, via black-and-white flashbacks. Eager to prove himself a competent attorney, Rick discovers that the impoverished, drug-addicted Liggett received woefully inadequate legal representation at her trial and that her crime partner was freed because he lied during a plea bargain. Liggett doesn't seem to care. She has resigned herself to the system and only wants to die on her own terms. Seeing the many holes in her case, Rick tries to inspire her to fight for a stay of execution. Unfortunately, the legal and political cards are all stacked against Cindy and whether or not her fate is a tragedy depends on one's view of the death penalty process.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Cult Movies
Directed By:
Written By: Ron Koslow, Steven Haft
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 8, 2003
Touchstone Pictures


Sharon Stone
as Cindy Liggett
Rob Morrow
as Rick Hayes
Randy Quaid
as Sam Burns
Peter Gallagher
as John Hayes
Jack Thompson
as The Governor
Dave Hager
as Detective Vollo
Peg Allen
as Helen
Peggy Walton-Walker
as Governor's Wife
Deena Dill
as Carolyn
Mimi Craven
as Stripper in Bar
Ralph Wilcox
as Warden Rice
Ken Jenkins
as Warden Laverty
Joe Inscoe
as Reverend Cummins
Elizabeth Omilami
as Officer Mulkey
Sandra Thigpen
as Governor's Reception...
Michael Montgomery
as Governor's Aide
Ginny Parker
as Sue Hunt
Kaitlyn Kenney
as Tiffany Hunt
Kenneth Schulz
as Paul Faring
Jeff McAtee
as Reporter
Carlene Moore
as Reporter
Ted Manson
as Judge Gorman
William L. Thorp IV
as Motorboat Pilot
Richard S. Cowl
as Judge Butler
Dionne Gardner
as Dress Shop Sales Gir...
Asha J. King
as Linda's Daughter
B.J. Brown
as Drill Instructor
Thomas 'Kirk' Hawkin...
as Sea Plane Pilot
Susan Jeffrey
as Party Clown
Trilby Beresford
as Title Sequence Girl
Dottie Snow
as Cindy's Aunt
Kuldeep Narain
as Tour Guide
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Last Dance

Critic Reviews for Last Dance

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (16)

If this is a dance, the band has left the stand, and the bus boys are already mopping up melted ice.

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 25, 2002
Boston Globe
Top Critic

July 13, 2002
New York Post
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Detroit News
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Last Dance

Rick Hayes (Rob Morrow) is a young lawyer who gets a new job and is assigned a clemency case on Cindy Liggett (Sharon Stone) who has been on death row for 12 years for double murder of a wealthy man's son and his girlfriend. Rick tries to save Cindy from execution but her chances for clemency are shaped by local politics. (Jack Thompson plays the Governor, Randy Quaid is Rick's veteran boss and Peter Gallagher is his chief of staff, as well as being Rick's brother.) But Rick is determined to slay the dragons for her against predictably hopeless odds and moves heaven and earth to save her from death by lethal injection as the countdown to D-Day draws closer.

Deb S

Super Reviewer

Trying to capitalize on Sharon Stone's Oscar nomination for Casino (her one and only nomination to date), Last Dance is a hokey and pokey death-row drama about a female inmate who has lost all hope of a reprieve from her crime after spending more than a decade behind bars awaiting her execution. Convicted of murder twelve years earlier at the age of 19, Cindy Liggett (Stone - Basic Instinct, The Mighty, Bobby) is given one last chance at clemency when a new clemency board attorney (Rob Morrow - Quiz Show, The Emperor's Club, "Northern Exposure") is assigned her case. By pointing out inconsistencies with her earlier trial in addition to claiming that as Cindy had been under the influence of mind-altering drugs (crack cocaine) at the time of the murder, she is no longer a threat to anybody as she has been fully rehabilitated. Everything about Last Dance is sub-par and at its very best moments it almost reaches mediocrity. While Stone was impressive as a greedy, cold, coke-head trophy wife in Casino, Last Dance's director Bruce Beresford cannot replicate Martin Scorsese's accomplishment with the actress. For the most part, the film is dull and lifeless (bad pun) and it did not help that during its theatrical run Last Dance opened a couple of months after another (but far superior) death row drama that won its lead actress an Oscar (that would be Dead Man Walking). As neither of the films are rousing crowd-pleasers, seeing one is enough; and 99 out of ... well 100 out of 100 times I'd recommend seeing the good one -- Dead Man Walkiing. Last Dance can sit them all out.


Not all that exciting and nothing really happens until the third act. As far as prison movies go, the beginning was dragged and it took a long time to pick up. Needs quite a bit of improvement to make it a more enjoyable movie!

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