The story of Caryl Chessman, a convicted California rapist who spent 12 years on death row before finally being executed.

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Judge Fricke
Virginia Kiser ...
Virginia Gibbons
Edward Mallory
Walter McGinn ...
J. Miller Leavy
Ben Piazza ...
Bill Edmunds
...
Judge Lewis Goodman
...
Johnson
Rose Portillo ...
Sarah Loper
...
Mrs. Asher
Brian Byers ...
Harris
...
Mr. Lea
George Sperdakos ...
Court Clerk
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Storyline

The story of Caryl Chessman, a convicted California rapist who spent 12 years on death row before finally being executed.

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Biography | Drama

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Release Date:

25 September 1977 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Caryl Chessman Story  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

The film's final credits do name the character played by Tony Burton as "Price," but this character seems to be based on Robert Otis *Pierce* who was executed at San Quentin on April 6, 1956 and the disturbing circumstances of whose execution as reported in various sources fit in many particulars with what is depicted in the movie. Since the actual names of other real-life persons portrayed in this movie--not the least of which Chessman's are accurately reproduced, it may be surmised that "Price" in the credits is an error for "Pierce." See more »

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User Reviews

 
As bad as "Birdman of Alcatraz"
6 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

This film is just as bad as "The Birdman of Alcatraz". I do not refer to the acting but rather the premise of both films, which try to portray psychopathic criminals as heroic figures. Moreover it disturbs me when well respected, revered actors like Alan Alda (and Burt Lancaster) play such roles, because their status tends to lend credibility to the director's intent to elevate the film's subject, a societal outcast.

I was in junior high school during the last years of Caryl Chessman's life and his death penalty appeals and books were very much in the news. I remember the groundswell of opinion that the death penalty was wrong and Chessman was the victim.

Get a grip people. Read the history. Chessman was a criminal and sexual predator. He drove around the LA streets at night with a stolen police light in his vehicle. He stopped cars with attractive women inside under the ruse of making a traffic arrest; then abducted and raped the women. Rape is the worst trauma a woman can experience and many victims say they would prefer death to its horror and humiliation.

Chessman got exactly what he deserved, it just took a decade too long. No sympathy for the devil here.


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