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The Chamber (1996)

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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 »
3,554 ( 8,328)
2 nominations. 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 <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Time is running out.


Crime | Drama

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)


$14,402,821 (USA) (13 December 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The story of the freakish execution that Sam tells Adam, about a condemned prisoner beating his head against a metal pole inside the gas chamber, is a true story. It happened to Mississippian Jimmy Lee Gray in 1983. See more »


Sam Cahall states that the new law allowing him to opt for lethal injection applied only to inmates convicted after 1984. Actually it was just the opposite: Those convicted after 1984 could only have lethal injection. Before 1984 convicts could choose between lethal injection and the gas chamber. See more »


Sam Cayhall: Save me. Your don't look like you can save a turkey from Thanksgiving.
See more »


Referenced in Bad Girls: Episode #6.4 (2004) 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

racist Gene Hackman great
7 February 2016 | by See all my reviews

Sam Cayhall (Gene Hackman) is set to be executed for a bombing thirty years ago in Mississippi that killed two Jewish boys. His grandson Adam (Chris O'Donnell) has been avoiding the hateful legacy of his Klan grandfather. The young lawyer takes on the case. His investigation reveals that others were involved and he struggles to stop the execution.

Gene Hackman is a great racist but his character is irredeemable. Chris O'Donnell has his boyish looks but I don't sense the substance. Faye Dunaway is simply horrible in this one. The story is flat. The legal thriller is ultimately meaningless. Other than Hackman, this movie doesn't have much.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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