The Executioner's Song (1982)
The Executioner's Song (1982)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
The Executioner's Song Videos & Photos
Tommy Lee Jones won an Emmy for his searing performance as wanton killer Gary Gilmore in The Executioner's Song. The film covers the last nine months of Gilmore's life, beginning with his release from prison in 1976. Linking up with teen-age divorcee Nicole Baker (Rosanna Arquette), Gilmore makes a half-hearted effort to go straight, but ends up embarking on a robbery spree that culminates in two cold-blooded murders. Arrested and sentenced to be executed, Gilmore insists upon being put to death (Utah law required a firing squad for this); he spends his final days as a poster boy for anti-death penalty activists and as a "client" for an entrepreneur (Steven Keats) who wants to make a film of Gilmore's life. Adapted by Norman Mailer from his own book, The Executioner's Song originally aired in two parts on November 28 and 29, 1982. It has since been boiled down to a 97-minute theatrical film for European consumption, with additional scenes of violence and nudity. … More
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as Gary Gilmore
as Nicole Baker
as Uncle Vern Damico
as Brenda Nicol
as Larry Samuels
as Pete Galovan
as Rikki Wood
as Val Conlan
as Jimmy Poker-Game
as Spencer McGrath
as Sterling Baker
as Kathryne Baker
as Earl Dorius
as Lieutenant Nelson
as Warden Smith
as Ron Stanger
as Noall Wootton
as Bessie Gilmore
as Mikal Gilmore
as Doctor #1
as Norman Fulmer
as First Patrolman
as Judge #1
as Prison Official
as Speaker #1
as April Baker
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Critic Reviews for The Executioner's Song
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Audience Reviews for The Executioner's Song
What seems to circulating in rental is the 135 minute 2008 Director's Cut release. Despite statements elsewhere to the contrary, it does NOT contain the significant full-frontal work by then-23-year-old Rosanna Arquette that appeared in the European release. Rather, verbal obscenities and explicit violence form the minor amount of incremental content.
A true-crime sleeper that provokes much contemplation in the more intellectual viewer. Norman Mailer's 1979 best-seller novel earned a Pulitzer plus a screenplay Emmy nod, Rosanna Arquette earned a Emmy nod and Tommy Lee Jones took home an Emmy for this portrayal of murderer Gary Gilmore, who demanded his own execution and so marked the turning away of the American legal system from capital punishment as cruel and unusual.
Gilmore arrives in Utah paroled into the custody of his cousin (Lathi). Institutionalized by juvenile detention and adult incarceration, he is unable to adapt to freedom's smallest challenges.
He finds his angel in Arquette, who's also been unable to pull herself above the sorriest station in society and/or her lifetime of miseries. Together they form a dysfunctional life raft on the mere fact each now has someone that doesn't entirely victimize them.
Unable to cope, Gilmore quickly turns back to his life of petty crime. When convicted of murder, Gilmore's suddenly at the center of the battle for/against capital punishment and associated media sensationalism. Jones and Arquette, on the foundation of Mailer's meticulous research, develop ever-richer and more complex characterizations as the film progresses.
The duo are pathetic yet admirable, hopelessly adrift yet standing tall as true individualists, deserving of their due yet clearly were entitled to a better chance at some decent life ? rather than the life the world had imposed upon them.
RECOMMENDATION: Ignoring any issue that the film lionizes a killer, the film's recommended on the basis of its factual storyline, rich characters and solid acting.
pretty good movie true story I once worked for Spencer MaGrath,1988-1990 Gilmore's boss. Kinda spooky to hear the real stories
Sure would like to find the uncut version of this movie. Saw it when it was new. Bought it awhile back and some of the best parts were cut out. First time I ever saw Rosanna.
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