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The Matthew Shepard Story (2002)

TV-14 | | Drama | TV Movie 4 June 2006
Based on the true story of openly gay college student Matthew Shepard, killed in an act of senseless violence and cruelty, that attracted national attention.


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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Damien Atkins ...
Philip Eddolls ...
Aaron McKinney (as Philip Edolls)
Paul Robbins ...
Russell Henderson
Judah Katz ...
Defense Attorney
Makyla Smith ...
Matthew's Date


In 1998, a young gay man by the name of Matthew Shepard was robbed, viciously beaten and left tied to a fence to die. Although he was soon found by the police and hospitalized, he soon expired. This film recounts the events after the conviction of the two men responsible for this hate motivated murder. Matthew's parents, though satisfied by the conviction, are finding the sentencing phase of the trial more difficult. The parents initially want to request the death penalty for their son's murderers, but the mother, Judy, starts to reconsider. As they struggle with their decision, they decide to reexamine the life of their son and rediscover his personality, his struggle to accept his homosexual sexual orientation as a natural part of his being and above all, his generous humanity to others. All of this leads the parents to appeal to the court the way their son would have wanted, not out of vengeance but to represent best of what their son was and the tragedy of his loss. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@rogers.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A hate crime that forever changed the nation.




TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

4 June 2006 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Die Matthew Shepard Story  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Based on a true story. See more »


Matthew Shepard: I'm gay, Dad.
See more »


Version of The Laramie Project (2002) See more »


Matthew Songs
Written, Performed and Produced by Jim Huff
Published by Coehill Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

Tragic True Story
18 March 2002 | by (Calgary, Alberta) – See all my reviews

The night I saw this movie, I had no idea it was going to be on. I don't remember seeing any promotion for it - and wonder how many people actually watched it.

On that same note, I really didn't know much about Matthew either. I'm a gay male, who's grown up in Canada all my life. I remember when it happened, reading it in the newspaper. Talking about it one night, but not knowing anything about it other than that it had happened.

I've read a few reviews on this movie, most of them saying this movie doesn't portray Matthew enough, that he lacks presence in the movie. I disagree.

At the end of the two hour special, I was in tears.

If you haven't heard, the Matthew Shepard story is a true story about a young man from Laramie, Wyoming who is beaten to death by two men - because he is gay.

The movie mainly focuses on his parents, played wonderfully by Sam Waterston and Stockard Channing - a year after his death and how they are dealing with the trial. Should they, or shouldn't they ask for the death penalty for his killers. Matthew appears <in a lot of the film> in flashbacks that show you most of his adult life.

You see him leaving for Switzerland while his parents are working in Saudi Arabia, learn that he is raped in Morocco <on a class trip>, comes back to Laramie, moves to Denver for awhile and comes back - only to be lured away by his two killers.

It's a great film, that managed to keep me interested for the entire two hours. Matthew was so innocent, and I can't believe things like this actually still happen.

If you haven't seen, I hope they'll run it again some time. It really is something to see. To watch how innocent he was at it all is really sad. As I said, I was crying - which is something I don't usually do at a TV show. I strongly recommend it, not only for it's true portrayal of this family's grief but to also learn that people's lives are taken away for such stupid reasons.

Matthew's become sort of a gay icon in North America, I can see why.


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