The Chamber (1996)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  11 October 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 10,049 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 44 user | 38 critic | 18 from

A young man fresh out of law school tries to win a reprieve for his racist grandfather who is on death row.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
E. Garner Goodman
Rollie Wedge / Donnie Cayhall (as Raymond Barry)
Sgt. Clyde Packer
Nora Stark
Gov. David McAllister
Judge Flynn F. Slattery
Atty. Gen. Roxburgh
Wyn Lettner
Greg Goossen ...
J.B. Gullitt (as Gregory Goossen)
Seth Isler ...
Marvin B. Kramer
Ruth Kramer
Sid Johnson ...
Josh Kramer


Having survived the hatred and bigotry that was his Klansman grandfather's only legacy, young attorney Adam Hall seeks at the last minute to appeal the old man's death sentence for the murder of two small Jewish boys 30 years before. Only four weeks before Sam Cayhall is to be executed, Adam meets his grandfather for the first time in the Mississippi prison which has held him since the crime. The meeting is predictably tense when the educated, young Mr. "Hall" confronts his venom-spewing elder, Mr. "Cayhall," about the murders. The next day, headlines run proclaiming Adam the grandson who has come to the state to save his grandfather, the infamous Ku Klux Klan bomber. While the old man's life lies in the balance, Adam's motivation in fighting this battle becomes clear as the story unfolds. Not only does he fight for his grandfather, but perhaps for himself as well. He has come to heal the wounds of his own father's suicide, to mitigate the secret shame he has always felt for the ... Written by Mark Fleetwood <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Time is running out.


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent images and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Kammer  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,612,095 (USA) (11 October 1996)


ITL 419,247,000 (Italy) (6 June 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


William Goldman, who wrote the early drafts, was reportedly unsatisfied with the re-writes and never saw the finished movie See more »


In the scene in which Adam visits the Klan gathering on the night before the execution the same extra (an older man in a baseball cap) can be seen in adjacent shots both behind Adam and the gang of thugs on the opposite side of the room. See more »


Sam Cayhall: If you spend half as much time trying to be a lawyer instead of trying to be Dick Tracy, I might not be dead in five days.
See more »


Temenos (Here Come The Shakes)
Written by Shelby Tate
Performed by Remy Zero
Courtesy of DGC Records
By Arrangement with MCA Special Markets & Products
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User Reviews

Not a bad concept
15 September 2006 | by (Halifax, Nova Scotia) – See all my reviews

I just finished watching this after I just finished hearing about it. I'll say it's not great, but its definitely worth the time to watch.

You have a very dramatic story of a murdering bigot's grandson (who's a lawyer) trying to save his grandfather (Gene Hackman) from his execution in 28 days. Just from their you know the plot is going to thicken.

When I saw this movie had Gene Hackman and Faye Dunaway I said "great I love those actors". It's also got Chris O'Donnell, OK not a bad actor (but does he remind anyone else of Matthew Perry?), and it's even got Bo Jackson.

I was surprised by a few things. One was that, Bo Jackson, despite not having many lines, was quite good at acting. Another less pleasant was that, as much as I love her, Faye Dunaway did not do an overly impressive performance. Watch her in "Bonnie and Clyde" and then compare her to THIS role... you're not even on the same chart. Playing a rich Southern Bell is maybe more difficult for her, but she did have a few good scene's playing a drunk. One thing that didn't surprise me was Gene Hackman. Mr. Hackman is undoubtedly a great actor, is this movie he made no exception. He definitely needs to give thanks to his make up crew, but he certainly delivered the punches. The emotions he showed seemed so powerful, like he's really ready to join in a lynching. But he's also prepared, not ready, but prepared to forgive.

Really i think that the only problem with this movies was the scenes without Gene Hackman. The rest of the scenes made everything seem more like a "Made for TV movie". The chemistry between Adam Hall (Chris O'Donnell) and Nora Stark (Lela Rochon) was played off of more when they WEREN'T together. With better acting this could have been a much better film. But still it was not bad.

Kudos to John Grisham for the novel, It's a good idea, it wasn't played out as well as it could have... But still, it's still worth while watching.

9 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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