419 user 140 critic

The Life of David Gale (2003)

0:30 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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 »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

K-PAX (2001)
Drama | Mystery | 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 7.2/10 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
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
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
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
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
21 (2008)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    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
Wicker Park (2004)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young Chicago advertising executive believes a woman he sees in a café is his long-lost love. His belief leads to obsession, as he puts his life on hold in order to trail her.

Director: Paul McGuigan
Stars: Josh Hartnett, Diane Kruger, Matthew Lillard
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A case of mistaken identity lands Slevin into the middle of a war being plotted by two of the city's most rival crime bosses: The Rabbi and The Boss. Slevin is under constant surveillance by relentless Detective Brikowski as well as the infamous assassin Goodkat and finds himself having to hatch his own ingenious plot to get them before they get him.

Director: Paul McGuigan
Stars: Josh Hartnett, Ben Kingsley, Morgan Freeman
Angel Heart (1987)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Harry Angel is a private investigator. He is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a singer called Johnny Favorite. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn.

Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Lisa Bonet
The Reader (2008)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Post-WWII Germany: Nearly a decade after his affair with an older woman came to a mysterious end, law student Michael Berg re-encounters his former lover as she defends herself in a war-crime trial.

Director: Stephen Daldry
Stars: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Bruno Ganz
I Am Sam (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mentally handicapped man fights for custody of his 7-year-old daughter, and in the process teaches his cold hearted lawyer the value of love and family.

Director: Jessie Nelson
Stars: Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dakota Fanning


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?


Noah Truesdale (Jamie Gale) went on to play rugby at Reed College. See more »


When Bitsey Bloom was watching the tape in the motel room before she asks Zack to go re-create the crime scene. A quick short close up of Zack sleeping showed him wearing a watch. Before and after this close up he was not wearing one. See more »


David Gale: They wanted me to die, knowing the key to my freedom was out there somewhere!
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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

I found this to be an excellently executed film in all respects with tight, compelling writing, superb acting, and an ending for which they should employ the old technique of not letting anyone in during the
22 February 2003 | by (Honolulu, HI) – See all my reviews

Don't be put off by one movie critic's assessment (morally dishonest, no stars) of this film - he just didn't "get it." This character driven murder mystery is one of the decade's best! Definitely four stars!

The layered conflicts drive the story forward like a Mack truck careening down the side of a mountain, making the movie seem much shorter than its 130 minutes. Kevin Spacey's compelling portrayal of David Gale, a brilliant, principled man with more than his share of human flaws and bad luck, is excellent and is surely Oscar material.

The story begins four days before Gale's execution in a Texas prison. Gale is finally breaking his years of silence by agreeing to tell his side of the story to news-magazine reporter, Bitsey Bloom. Skeptical that this Death Row inmate is out to convince her, and the world, of his innocence, Bitsey takes the assignment expecting it to be a typical, no-brainer.

Gale's story is told in a series of tightly choreographed flashback sequences, each building in character, motive and momentum toward an exciting and most unexpected conclusion.

The story also puts a very fine point on the debate over the death penalty and gives its audience something to talk & think about on the way home.

Not since "Presumed Innocent" have I been so deliciously unable to predict an ending! It is a pleasure to leave the theater feeling completely happy about having invested the price of my ticket in this movie! It is two hours very well spent.

176 of 242 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: