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The Life of David Gale (2003)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  21 February 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 82,832 users   Metascore: 31/100
Reviews: 418 user | 138 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

A man against capital punishment is accused of murdering a fellow activist and is sent to death row.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Kreuster
Constance Jones ...
Reporter A.J. Roberts
Lee Ritchey ...
Joe Mullarkey
Motel Waitress
Cindy Waite ...
Jesse De Luna ...
Supervising Guard
Vernon Grote ...
Door Guard


When anti-death-penalty activist David Gale is convicted and condemned to death for the murder of a colleague, reporter Bitsey Bloom sets out to learn the story behind Gale's crime. What she finds challenges her belief in Gale's guilt and, finally, in the justice system. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The crime is clear. The truth is not.


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent images, nudity, language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


| |



Release Date:

21 February 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Leben des David Gale  »

Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,117,225 (USA) (21 February 2003)


$205,747 (South Africa) (13 June 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Alan Parker:  briefly appears during the party scene at the beginning of the film - he is seen helping himself to some food. See more »


Constance mentions Illinois' death penalty moratorium, which went into effect in 2000. However, she died in 1994. See more »


Braxton Belyeu: I'm no more afraid of the Grim Reaper than I am of a Presbyterian on Mother's Day.
See more »


References Larry King Live (1985) See more »


Written by King Orba (as King Orba), Michael Corcoran, John Remark
Performed by King Orba (as King Orba)
Courtesy of Half Mast Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Very Underrated
26 September 2007 | by (Lisbon, Portugal) – See all my reviews

Directed by the legendary Sir Alan Parker, this is the story of David Gale, a University of Texas professor of philosophy against capital punishment who is accused of murdering a fellow activist and is sent to death row.

Kevin Spacey and Laura Linney deliver great performances in the flashbacks. This movie is by far one of Spacey's strongest performances, he is always very subtle and insightful portraying David Gale. Laura Linney really makes a name for herself in this motion picture, she's as consistently complex and likable here as she is in "Primal Fear" and "You Can Count on Me". Kate Winslet, however, has problems in carefully crafting her character. She's called upon to cry about four or five times in this film and each time she does so, the action unfortunately rings more and more false. Other than that, she is average. Meanwhile, Gabriel Mann, Leon Rippy and Matt Craven also provide colorful backdrops to the story at hand with their credible supporting characters.

"The Life of David Gale" is a film that had a great opportunity to create controversy about the death penalty. Unfortunately, it is excessively underrated by critics, despite being nominated for the Human Rights Award from the Political Film Society and being present at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival.

Sad and stunning. 8/10

53 of 66 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Critique from Roger Ebert Congo39
The ending nullifies the entire point the film was trying to make. the-twist
So Gale basically committed...... jami1331
Is this movie pro- or anti- death penalty? ts_flanders
Plot Hole? matheusmagalhaes10
Why did Berlin do what she did? mdnicci
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