7.5/10
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45 user 43 critic

Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman (2005)

The Last Hangman (original title)
The life and times of Albert Pierrepoint - Britain's most prolific hangman.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay)

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at Amazon

2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Minister
Ann Bell ...
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Governor of Strangeways
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Warder at Strangeways
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Woman in Pub
Neil Fitzmaurice ...
Keiran Flynn ...
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Frances Shergold ...
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Dorothea Waddingham (as Elizabeth Hopley)
Peter Jonfield ...
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Storyline

Albert Pierrepoint delivered groceries - and was a hangman. Following in his father's footsteps he quickly became known for his efficiency and compassion, rising to become 'the best in the land'. From early 1933, until the end of his career in 1955, he executed 608 people, including the 'Beasts of Belsen' (war criminals), for which he earned the gratitude of a nation. But by the time he hanged Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in Britain, public sentiments had changed... and so had Pierrepoint. Written by johnno.r[at]xtra.co.nz

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

1940's England. When the world needed a hero, he gave them what they wanted. But history can be cruel. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing images, nudity and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

7 April 2006 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,028 (USA) (1 June 2007)

Gross:

$21,766 (USA) (22 June 2007)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(some scenes)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite the title Pierrepoint was not Britain's last hangman. He retired in the mid 1950s, shortly after executing Ruth Ellis - (see Dance with a Stranger (1985)). Britain never had a "last hangman", as the last two executions before suspension of capital punishment were carried out in different cities at the same time. As the last two people executed were both guilty of the murder of John West, it was decided to carry out sentence at the same time in Aug 1964. In Nov 1965, people were still being sentenced to death. See more »

Goofs

The film meddles somewhat with the chronology of Pierrepoint's career. The execution of Polish murderer Piotr Maksimowski, accurately shown to have been performed in the record time of 7-and-a-half seconds, took place not in the immediate post-war period before Pierrepoint took the lease on his pub; but years later on 29 March 1950 - nineteen days after the higher-profile (and later infamous) hanging of Timothy Evans. Furthermore, the man who served as assistant executioner on both occasions was named Syd Dernley, not George Cooper. See more »

Quotes

Albert Pierrepoint: [while attending to Dorothea Waddingham's lifeless body] She paid the price; she's innocent now.
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Soundtracks

Makin' Whoopee
Music by Walter Donaldson
Lyrics by Gus Kahn
Performed by Timothy Spall and Eddie Marsan
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User Reviews

 
As much to do with living as death
6 June 2007 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

I'd just been through a run of watching many poorly made, uninspiring and disappointing films in the last year, then luckily I saw this film Pierrepoint aka The Last Hangman which restored my faith in cinema.

Like all excellent films, it a simple story, expertly performed by a very strong cast. The other great element of a quality film is that it can be interpreted in many different ways by its viewers.

It shouldn't be explained as a portrayal of a man who hanged people although that is exactly what he did, what made him famous and what he will be remembered for.

For me Pierrepoint is more about working life. The job was always going to be a vocation as his father had been a hangman before him and he wanted to live up to a man he admired. We see the ends that he goes to, to be the best in his chosen field and I must admit I thought this was shown brilliantly; his care, his attention to the task, his desire to see the job done right. In the period of time that this story is set your job was something you took pride in not something you exploited to get better money and benefits while doing as little effort as possible.

It is impossible to be completely accurate when making a biographical film as you are condensing a persons lifetime into a couple of hours of screen time so therefore the director, writers, editor and producers need to shorten, edit and take a certain amount of artistic license.

Fortunately I knew nothing about Albert Pierrepoint before I watched this film so I didn't know what had been left in and left out of this account of his life, since then I talked to my father who knew many things about the man as he had lived and worked in London just after hanging was abolished and had seen Pierrepoint interviewed. He told me about a few things that weren't shown in the film, things that would have given my father an opinion about what type of person this famous hangman was. I've asked my father to see the film as I want to know how the celluloid depiction compares to his memories of the real man; even if he believes it to be inaccurate I'll still watch it again.

It is a dark, sad film which wouldn't be a great date movie but maybe a film you should watch the next time you have a bad day at work.


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