Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman (2007)



Critic Consensus: Director Adrian Shergold doesn't shy away from the darker elements of the movie's subject, and Timothy Spall is mesmerizing as the title character.

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Movie Info

Following in the footsteps of his father and uncle before him, Albert Pierrepoint joins the "family business" in 1934. He rises through the ranks to become the most feared and respected executioner in the country, hanging more than 450 people in his lifetime. Living a double life as a master hangman, and a grocery deliveryman and loyal husband, Pierrepoint's obsession to become the "Number One" executioner in the country results in his selection as executioner for some of Britain's most infamous … More

Rating: R (for disturbing images, nudity and brief sexuality)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Bob Jay Mills, Bob Mills, Jeff Pope
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 30, 2007
IFC First Take - Official Site

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as Albert Pierrepoint

as Annie Pierrepoint

as James Corbitt

as George Cooper

as Percy

as Mary Pierrepoint

as Jessie Kelly

as Elizabeth Volkenrath

as Josef Kramer

as Irma Grese

as Anthony David Farrow

as Neville

as Lt. Llewelyn

as Timothy Evans

as Ruth Ellis

as Josef Kramer
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (22)

The key to the film is in the performances by Spall and Stevenson -- and by Marsan. The utter averageness of the characters, their lack of insight, their normality, contrasts with the subject matter in an unsettling way.

Full Review… | November 2, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Grim and disturbing yet perversely riveting.

Full Review… | June 22, 2007
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

The movie grows more compelling in the latter half as British public opinion turns against capital punishment and Pierrepoint begins to have his own doubts.

Full Review… | June 21, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The very title of this movie seems to message its doom. What could possibly be dramatic enough about Britain's last hangman to carry our interest over a 90-minute film? A whole lot, it turns out.

Full Review… | June 15, 2007
Toronto Star
Top Critic

[The film's] grittiness instantly adds to the historically and socio-economically convincing picture of working-class Yorkshire in the last century.

Full Review… | June 15, 2007
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Very much a bookend to Vera Drake in its mixture of post war British reserve and ugly reality. [Actor] Spall makes it work, creating a little man with big and terrible secrets.

Full Review… | June 15, 2007
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman


Insightful character study of one of Britain's last executioners. In his lifetime, Albert Pierrepoint hung over 600 people, including several Nazi war criminals and Ruth Ellis (see Dance With A Stranger). Though he seemed outwardly detached, this film suggests that Albert's unusual profession eventually took a tremendous toll on his psyche and deeply impacted his personal life.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Excellent performances, particularly Timothy Spall in the lead, highlight this story. A man of deep compassion who was able to perform the job of executioner, feeling that they had already been judged, by looking at it as a duty and providing the condemned with as quick end as possible. Hardly a light entertainment this is more of a chamber piece for those who prefer realistic drama.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]"Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman" is about Albert Pierrepoint(Timothy Spall), the real life hangman who in over 20 years on the job starting in 1932 executed hundreds of people. Following in the footsteps of his father, Pierrepoint sought to best him by becoming more efficient while also tenderly caring for the bodies after death.(His constant refrain is that the murderers have paid for their sins.) But no matter how much we may try to delude ourselves, there is no humane way to put someone to death.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]With the countenance of an undertaker, Timothy Spall makes much of a rare chance to be the lead in this pointed character study that is especially interested in the dehumanizing effects of the death penalty, not only for the executioner but for us all. While excelling in its subtle approach for most of its length, the movie tries too hard to drive its point home towards the end, especially with a very predictable subplot. At the same time, the wonderful Juliet Stevenson is pushed further and further into thankless territory.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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