The Executioner's Song (1982)

TV Movie   |  Unrated   |    |  Biography, Crime, Drama


The Executioner's Song (1982) Poster

The story of Gary Gilmore, a convicted murderer who lobbied for his own execution.


7.1/10
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  • The Executioner's Song (1982)
  • Lawrence Schiller in The Executioner's Song (1982)
  • Norman Mailer and Lawrence Schiller in The Executioner's Song (1982)
  • The Executioner's Song (1982)
  • Tommy Lee Jones and Lawrence Schiller in The Executioner's Song (1982)
  • The Executioner's Song (1982)

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6 December 2002 | Victor Field
Unmissable.
Norman Mailer's book about Gary Gilmore was compelling in the first half, but the second half was a limp, uphill struggle. There's no such problem in the TV adaptation, which is tighter and absorbing all the way through, with both Tommy Lee Jones and Rosanna Arquette giving two of the best performances of their careers... you now know why it's easy for us to forgive him for "Batman Forever" and her for "Off The Wall" (which she made the following year, and oh dear me that was BAD).

This is available in both miniseries form and a shortened cable/theatrical version (to quote Buffy Summers, "We're talking violence, strong language, adult themes..."), but I actually prefer the TV version because while you get more nudity - female AND male - and more graphic scenes in the cable cut (not to mention lines like Rosanna's "Yeah, you and seven other motherf***ers"), it's at the expense of a little story coherence; you lose some seaminess in the miniseries version, but the tale is ultimately stronger, clearer and not so rushed. But either version is a must.

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