Deadline (I) (2004)

 |  Documentary  |  2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 206 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 5 user | 14 critic | 11 from

A documentary on Illinois Governor George Ryan, who, with 60 days left in office, makes a decision on the fate of death row prisoners.


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Credited cast:
Anthony Amsterdam ...
Himself - Defense Attorney, Furman v. Georgia
Jeanne Bishop ...
Herself - Opposes Death Penalty
Stephen Bright ...
Himself - Southern Center for Human Rights
Himself (archive footage)
Donald Cabana ...
Himself - Former Warden, Parchman Prison
John Chancellor ...
Himself (archive footage)
Tom Cross ...
Himself - Illinois House Republican Leader
Robert Curley ...
Himself - Opposes Death Penalty
Renny Cushing ...
Himself - Executive Director, Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation
Gary Gauger ...
Himself - Exonerated Death Row Inmate
Cornelia Grumman ...
Herself - Chicago Tribune
Lawrence Hayes ...
Himself - Convicted of Murder, 1972
Bill Jenkins ...
Himself - Opposes Death Penalty
Grayland Johnson ...
Himself - Convicted of Murder, 1988
Elaine Jones ...
Herself - NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund


A documentary on Illinois Governor George Ryan, who, with 60 days left in office, makes a decision on the fate of death row prisoners.

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2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Life After Death Row  »

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(Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)


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User Reviews

Death penalty on trial
20 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

My wife and I watched this dramatic documentary on Free Speech T.V. I was prompted to call two death penalty attorney friends in Colorado and Oregon to alert them that it was playing.

It documents the initiative that caused journalism students in Chicago to pursue old, closed cases, to find that a dozen innocent men had been condemned to death. They uncovered law enforcement malfeasance, rigged trials, even the identity of a true murderer from whom they obtained a confession and corroboration from the killer's wife.

Besides the human drama other commentators here have noted, it displays a stellar example of community organizing and media work.

The cinematography is near-flawless, the editing superb.

Perhaps the most stirring part of the entire film is the documentation of the angst felt by the Governor of Illinois, George Ryan, who wrestled with competing interests of the families of both victims and the convicted, with pressures from all sides of the political spectrum and how he ultimately resolved himself to the decision he made.

At the end, one litigant's attorney states that if justice was so flawed in Chicago, how bad might it be in other states, such as Florida (where James Joseph Richardson was railroaded for the murders of his seven children and spent 19 years in prison, including three on death row, while the true killer was ignored), North Carolina (see review for the "Trials of Darryl Hunt" on IMDb) and Texas (where George Bush and Alberto Gonzales were involved in the execution of the wrongfully convicted such as Ruben Cantu)?

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