The Life of David Gale (2003)



Critic Consensus: Instead of offering a convincing argument against the death penalty, this implausible, convoluted thriller pounds the viewer over the head with its message.

Movie Info

The mystery of one man's guilt or innocence literally becomes a matter of life and death in this drama. David Gale (Kevin Spacey) was the head of the philosophy department at Austin University and the author of several well-regarded books; he was also an active and visible member of Deathwatch, an anti-capital punishment activist group. One of Gale's best friends was Constance Harraway (Laura Linney), a fellow Deathwatch activist with whom he became especially close, particularly since Gale's … More

Rating: R (for violent images, nudity, language and sexuality)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Charles Randolph
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 22, 2003
Box Office: $19.6M
Universal Pictures - Official Site


as David Gale

as Elizabeth `Bitsey' B...

as Constance Harraway

as Dusty Wright

as Braxton Belyeu

as Zack Stemmons

as Duke Grover

as Barbara Kreuster

as Gov. Hardin

as Joe Mullarkey

as Reporter A.J. Robert...

as Motel Waitress

as Supervising Guard

as Door Guard

as Grad Student

as Berlin's Classmate

as Jamie Gale

as Babysitter

as TV Assistant Directo...

as TV Host

as Officer Ramirez

as Officer Hasermann

as Sharon Gale

as TV Reporter

as University President

as Radio Shed Executive

as DeathWatch Chief/TV ...

as Constance's Doctor

as Hospital Orderly

as College Girl

as Belyeu's Clerk

as Belyeu's Assistant

as New Homeowner

as Section 1835 Guard

as Inmate Cook

as Chaplain

as Photographer

as Bullhorn Protester

as Bullhorn Protester

as Bullhorn Protester

as Religious Woman

as News Cameraman

as Barcelona Neighbor

as Sharon's Maid

as Sharon's Maid

as Mail Girl

as Guillermo

as Inmate Cook

as TV Reporter

as TV Reporter

as TV Reporter

as TV Reporter

as TV Reporter

as TV Reporter

as TV Reporter

as TV Reporter

as TV Reporter

as TV Reporter

as Interviewee

as Interviewee

as Interviewee

as Interviewee

as Interviewee

as Interviewee
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Life of David Gale

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Critic Reviews for The Life of David Gale

All Critics (168) | Top Critics (41)

It would take an intellect far superior to mine to explain the rationale -- or, for that matter, the release -- of David Gale.

Full Review… | April 22, 2003
Top Critic

I ended up feeling sorry for Mr. Spacey, Ms. Winslet and Ms. Linney, so contrived was the foolishness in which they found themselves embroiled.

Full Review… | April 4, 2003
New York Observer
Top Critic

Grading on the curve, I give it high marks for trying something different, but somewhat lower ones for entertainment value.

Full Review… | March 6, 2003
New York Observer
Top Critic of the most offensively cheap and concocted 'twist' endings of all time

Full Review… | January 13, 2014

An overripe melodrama -- a time waster.

Full Review… | December 28, 2010
Common Sense Media

Manages to offend the same people it seeks to defend with the most ridiculous and nonsensical endings that I've ever seen.

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

Audience Reviews for The Life of David Gale


i really enjoyed this movie i thought it was very interesting and twist turning with a great storyline and plot.
I liked how the story was focussed on trying to get point across, that innocent people do get murdered unjustly within the death penalty counties of america.

Film Crazy

Super Reviewer


The critic community seemed hell-bound to pin down this movie as one belonging to the trash bag. The story about anti-capital-punishment activist David Gale, deals with an unpleasant issue, kind of an issue that no one really want to know the answer of. The film may have failed in terms of moral grounds in the eyes of its detractors, may be a reason why it has gotten so much bad press.

But, this is also the story of a man whose life just went off the rails for all the wrong reasons, who wants to do something for the world before he leaves. In that perspective, this was a decent enough flick or even, I dare say rather inspiring.

That being said, the movie is not without it's glitches. A not so challenging role for Kate Winslet considering her abilities, occasionally flawed narrative and an annoying background score which did'nt seem to connect anyway to the premise of the movie.

Sajin P A

Super Reviewer

Cast: Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Gabriel Mann, Rhona Mitra, Leon Rippy, Matt Craven, Jim Beaver, Elizabeth Gast, Cleo King, Constance Jones, Brandy Little, Cindy Waite, Jesse De Luna, Vernon Grote

Director: Alan Parker

Summary: When Texas professor David Gale (Kevin Spacey), an advocate for the elimination of the death penalty, is falsely accused and convicted of the rape and murder of another activist (Laura Linney), he ends up on the state's notorious death row himself. In a series of flashbacks, Gale tells his story to a young reporter (Kate Winslet) who's visiting him on death row, leaving her to sort out his guilt or innocence.

My Thoughts: "This has to be (in my opinion) one of the best suspense films I have seen. It's messy, doesn't really develop the characters that well, but I don't think its needed. It's not telling the story of these people, it's telling the story of the events that have happened in David Gales life that led him to where he's at. Great suspense all the way till the end. Never knew where the story was going and the ending was brilliant. The measures that they went to, to prove their point was extreme, but brilliantly done. It's a smart messy film with great performances by (my fav) Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, and Laura Linney. It's a must see in my opinion, so see it if you haven't."


Super Reviewer

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