Up 17 this week

The Life of David Gale (2003)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  21 February 2003 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 83,751 users   Metascore: 31/100
Reviews: 419 user | 139 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

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


Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

3 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

K-PAX (2001)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

PROT is a patient at a mental hospital who claims to be from a far away Planet. His psychiatrist tries to help him, only to begin to doubt his own explanations.

Director: Iain Softley
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Mary McCormack
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young boy attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance.

Director: Mimi Leder
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Haley Joel Osment, Helen Hunt
21 (2008)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

"21" is the fact-based story about six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings.

Director: Robert Luketic
Stars: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, a skilled police negotiator accused of corruption and murder takes hostages in a government office to gain the time he needs to find the truth.

Director: F. Gary Gray
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, David Morse
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the K.K.K.

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson
Identity (2003)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Stranded at a desolate Nevada motel during a nasty rain-storm, ten strangers become acquainted with each other when they realize that they're being killed off one by one.

Director: James Mangold
Stars: John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A swooning study of "Mack the Knife" singer Bobby Darin (Spacey) specifically, and his relationship with his wife Sandra Dee (Bosworth).

Director: Kevin Spacey
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman
Primal Fear (1996)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.

Director: Gregory Hoblit
Stars: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Edward Norton
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Connecticut.

Director: Todd Field
Stars: Kate Winslet, Jennifer Connelly, Patrick Wilson
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Two FBI agents with wildly different styles arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.

Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand
Sleepers (1996)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After a prank goes disastrously wrong, a group of boys are sent to a detention center where they are brutalized; over 10 years later, they get their chance for revenge.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Robert De Niro, Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt
Shrink (2009)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Unable to cope with a recent personal tragedy, LA's top celebrity shrink turns into a pothead with no concern for his appearance and a creeping sense of his inability to help his patients.

Director: Jonas Pate
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Mark Webber, Keke Palmer


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?


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 »


After Gale puts his son to bed he feeds his fish. Before he feeds them you can see food floating down from a previous take. See more »


Bitsey Bloom: Of course he sympathizes with murderers... he is one!
See more »


Features Wagon Train (1957) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The Life Of David Gale
12 October 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is one of the only films I've seen which tackles the widespread problem of false-rape accusations, showing just how easily such accusations can be made, the often trivial reasons behind them and the ruins of lives that can be left behind when they are made. Few people know or want to know just how commonplace such accusations are made, and how many men have had their lives destroyed on the whims of a bored, angry, or mentally unstable person. Most people would rather continue to believe such things never happen, and that 'a woman wouldn't make up something like that'. But, as one of the characters in the film says, "When it comes to rape, an accusation's as good as a conviction: it sticks like sh*t".

I wasn't expecting any of that going in, so was fascinated & moved at the attention and compassion given to mens lives and humanity in this film. I knew, of course, that a twist was coming, and I dreaded that the only twist it could be was that the Spacey character was going to be 'guilty' (in some way) after all. I saw this rumbling over the horizon right from the first 5 minutes but hoped it would turn out to be something more original, instead of another Basic Instinct or Jagged Edge.

And in fact it was, and the way it makes sense of what has gone before gives one much to ponder on afterwards, about convictions and morality and self-sacrifice. It works because you realise the film is about something other than you thought it was only at the very end.

15 of 19 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
Discuss The Life of David Gale (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: