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The Executioner's Song (1982)

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

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

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Cast

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

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

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Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

28 November 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Canção do Carrasco  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Lawrence Schiller, Debra Winger was strongly favored for Nicole Baker, but was turned down after being considered "too urban" for the role. Tatum O'Neal also read for the role. See more »

Goofs

Gary Gilmore was described as having watery-blue, piercing blue eyes by numerous family members, and even a witness to the 2nd/Bushnell killing. Yet they missed the mark by casting brown eyed Tommy Lee Jones in the starring role. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Cremaster 2 (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Get It On Again
Written and Performed by Waylon Jennings
Produced by Chips Moman
Music Coordinator: Marylou Hyatt
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User Reviews

Well Done
24 January 2002 | by (Richland, WA) – See all my reviews

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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