The Executioner's Song (1982)

TV Movie  |  Unrated  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  28 November 1982 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,212 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 4 critic

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



(screenplay), (book)
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Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Steven Keats ...
Jordan Clarke ...
Richard Venture ...
Michael LeClair ...
Pat Corley ...
Mary Ethel Gregory ...
Norris Mailer ...
Lu-Ann (as Norris Church)
Kenneth O'Brien ...


Based on the true story of murderer Gary Mark Gilmore, spanning the last nine months of his life (May 1976-January 1977) in which at age 35, after being released for serving a long prison term in Utah for armed robbery, the unstable Gilmore murdered two men in two seperate and senseless robberies in which after a brief public trial in October, he was sentenced to death by firing squad which drew a lot of media attention when Gilmore insisted that his execution be carried out and he became the first man to be executed in the USA since the government reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Written by Matthew Patay

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Crime | Drama


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

28 November 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Canção do Carrasco  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The part of "Prison Guard #4", portrayed by Deputy Warden David Franchina, was originally supposed to be played by John Robert Mallernee, who was a Correctional Supervisor (i.e., prison guard).

However, due to the snowstorm, filming was behind schedule, so John Robert Mallernee had to go on duty, and can be seen at the window of the watchtower (Tower #2) when Gary Mark Gilmore, portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones is being taken to the vehicle that will transport him to his execution.

Even though he did not actually perform the role of "Prison Guard #4", because John Robert Mallernee had been signed to a contract, he still received a royalty check, and subsequent residual checks.

John Robert Mallernee, an amateur singer/songwriter and disabled war veteran, is a resident in the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, Mississippi. See more »


When they are releasing the straps from Gilmore after he is dead you can see his hand move. In addition the arm is closer to the leg than depicted in the previous shot. See more »


Gary Mark Gilmore: Go down on me, partner... I need it
Nicole Baker: Don't call me partner.
Gary Mark Gilmore: No, darlin'... I love it... I love it
Nicole Baker: Yeah, you and seven other motherfuckers.
See more »


Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.148 (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

24 May 2005 | by (South Africa) – See all my reviews

This was the oldest movie so far that I have seen of Tommy Lee Jones and it surpassed all my expectations. Here I was thinking that he got better with age, but he really was that good all along! He plays this role exceptionally well and I have even more respect for him as an actor now. Rosanna Arquette was very good indeed. I always thought her to play in brainless Hollywood movies, but this film was a good decision on her part. This film is another example of an unempowered woman who is alone and desperate for any attention that she can get. Unluckily for Nicole(Rosanna) this attention comes in the form of Gary (Tommy Lee), who is a very disturbed young man who sees human life as something that can be discarded of easily and without any hesitation on his part. Be it for money, or simply because he felt like it, Gary kills people without blinking. At the end of the movie Gary changes somewhat and it is welcome in an absurd kind of way? He makes peace with his lot and with himself and only then you feel sorry for him. If you are a Tommy Lee fan like me, then you definitely have to see this one. Hasta luego

7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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