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
1,584

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  • Tommy Lee Jones and Lawrence Schiller in The Executioner's Song (1982)
  • Tommy Lee Jones in The Executioner's Song (1982)
  • Norman Mailer and Lawrence Schiller in The Executioner's Song (1982)
  • Tommy Lee Jones in The Executioner's Song (1982)
  • Lawrence Schiller in The Executioner's Song (1982)
  • Tommy Lee Jones and Eli Wallach in The Executioner's Song (1982)

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User Reviews


24 January 2002 | Ajtlawyer
Well Done
I thought this was a very good dramatization of Mailer's huge book. Tommy Lee Jones does an excellent job of portraying psychopathic killer Gary Gilmore and Rosanna Arquette is terrific as his teenage girlfriend, Nicole. While it was a made for TV movie, some R-rated footage was added in when the movie had a European release. If you can get that version on tape, do so. Rosanna is dynamite in the more adult scenes.

Christine Lahti (who later won a short-film Oscar as a filmmaker) and Eli Wallach provide solid support. Jones shows the same brooding intensity that years later translated into an Oscar for him in "The Fugitive." Look for Ron Howard's father, Rance Howard, in a small part as the police detective who first interrogates Gilmore after his arrest.

It says something about the culture when a loser like Gilmore can be transformed into a sort of folk legend which is what the book and movie ultimately do. He had an enormous impact in 1977 by demanding that Utah go forward with his execution, the first execution in the US since the 1960s and the first since 1972 when the Supreme Court ruled that all death sentences prior to that date were unconstitutional. After Gilmore faced the firing squad hundreds of executions have been carried out. I would wager though that most Americans couldn't name more than two or three of those who have been executed but they will remember the small-time loser Gary Gilmore.

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