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The Life of David Gale (2003)

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


3,532 ( 188)
3 nominations. See more awards »



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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)


$19,593,740 (USA) (28 March 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Kevin Spacey was the third choice to play David Gale. George Clooney and Nicolas Cage both rejected the part. Nicolas Cage had the script and gave it to Parker, but was already busy with other projects. See more »


When Constance is telling David he's on sabbatical, she says, "It was four to two," but her mouth is not moving at all. See more »


David Gale: I fell of the wagon and hurt myself.
See more »


Features Dragnet (1951) See more »


Richest One
Written by Bill Carter
Performed by Toni Price
Courtesy of Antone's Records / Texas Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

A Very Depressing Movie
16 December 2008 | by (India) – See all my reviews

It is strange how much this movie was ignored. It doesn't rank on many critics top 10 list and it wasn't a huge box office success anyway. Weird considering it is one of Kevin spacey's best performances. I almost cried at the end so the movie achieved what it set out to achieve.

The movie is about a man named David Gale(Kevin Spacey) who is a philosophy professor and also a anti-death penalty campaigner. He was arrested some time ago and convicted on the crime of raping and murdering a fellow death penalty campaigner named Constance(the gorgeous Laura Linney). He has been given a death sentence. He asks for a reporter during his last week to tell the real story supposedly. That reporter is Bitsey Bloom(Kate winslet) who shows a genuine disinterest at first towards the case but who has a reputation of reporting on difficult and controversial stories. Bitsey bloom travels with her partner Zack to the facility where Gale is held.

The movie has many twists and turns showing the collapse of David Gale's life as he changes from respected philosophy professor to an ostracised man because of some events in his life. These scenes are quite sad and depressing and Gale doesn't have many friends who stand by him in the hour of need. The way the movie flows is actually quite excellent and the revelation in the middle is quite surprising. It doesn't seem like a gimmick and that's where the movie triumphs.

The performances are quite amazing. Kevin Spacey as David Gale has given one of the best performances in his career and Laura Linney as Constance is cute,smart and amazingly compassionate. Kate winslet as Bitsey Bloom also gives a great performance as a woman who starts off as indifferent to the case but then transforms into a woman who feels genuine sympathy for the plight of David Gale. The background music is also quite amazing and this is one of the best in movies. At the very least it should have gotten an award for this category. The music at certain points is quite emotional and towards the end it is one of the reasons for the beautiful climax.

The only problem I have might be the rewatchability factor. I think I might not watch it again. Maybe because it is too depressing. But it should be definitely watched by people who are interested in the issue of death penalty and its accompanying ethical questions. The questions raised by David Gale in the interview with the Texas governor are one of the best examples. That scene alone is enough for people to watch this movie. The movie is also an example of how one mistake changes the life of a respected person in society and how quickly things can change in life if we are not careful about everything we do. So in essence it is not just a movie for death penalty campaigners and those who are interested in the concept of death penalty. But it is also a movie for people who are interested in human nature in general.


9 of 12 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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