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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 »
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?


In a 2006 BBC TV Culture Show interview, John Grisham stated that this was the adaptation of his work he liked least See more »


As Adam watches, the digital LED clock in his hotel room changes from 3:59 to 4:00 am, and makes a faint click as it does. Clocks of this kind do not make such sounds. See more »


Lee Bowen: We come from a long line of hate.
See more »


Referenced in Conspiracy Theory (1997) See more »


Fine Mi Lassa
Composed by Vincenzo Bellini
Arranged by Trevor Jones
Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

The Gene-ius of Hackman
20 August 2012 | by (Baltimore MD) – See all my reviews

"The Chamber" is worth seeing for one reason -- a superb performance by Gene Hackman. As a Ku Klux Klansman on death row for the murder of a civil rights lawyer and his children, he is crusty, belligerent, alternately fierce and thoughtful, a man whose eyes often contradict the hate he is spewing. Unfortunately, "The Chamber" was helmed by James Foley whose direction tends to be heavy-handed and humorless. The result is to squeeze a lot of the style and irony from the Grisham original -- and to make what was good storytelling in print seem threadbare on screen. Chris O'Donnell does a workmanlike job as Hackman's grandson, a young lawyer who is determined to save Hackman from execution for murky reasons -- and who foolishly drops in on a "good ol' boy" rally to get his head kicked in . Faye Dunaway contributes boozy hysterics as Hackman's daughter who has made the jump from "poor white trash" to southern belle. Not a great movie. But watch it for Hackman and you'll see screen acting at its best.

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