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A Killer in the Family (1983)

A father serving time for murder convinces his three teenage sons that his life is being threatened by fellow inmates and that they should break him out of jail. However, when his sons ... See full summary »

Director:

Richard T. Heffron

Writers:

Sue Grafton (teleplay), Steve Humphrey (teleplay) (as Steven Humphrey) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Mitchum ... Gary Tison
James Spader ... Donny Tison
Lance Kerwin ... Ray Tison
Eric Stoltz ... Ricky Tison
Salome Jens ... Alice Johansen
Lynn Carlin ... Dorothy Tison
Stuart Margolin ... Randy Greenawalt
Arliss Howard ... John Lyons
Amanda Wyss ... Dannelda Lyons
Susan Swift ... Teresa
Catherine Mary Stewart ... Carol
Nolan Adams Nolan Adams ... Gas Station Attendant
Spencer Alston Spencer Alston ... Mark (as Spencer B. Alston)
Tip Boxell Tip Boxell ... Tower Guard
Craig Clyde ... Prison Guard
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Storyline

A father serving time for murder convinces his three teenage sons that his life is being threatened by fellow inmates and that they should break him out of jail. However, when his sons succeed in the jailbreak attempt, the father brings along his cell-mate, a former two time killer, and soon the sons find themselves involved in the pair's murderous crime spree. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 October 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ein Killer in der Familie See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Trivia

The film takes place in 1978. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tison Family Values
16 November 2012 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Robert Mitchum stars in this fine made for TV film, A Killer In The Family as true life serial killer Gary Tison. This one should have been given theatrical release. Mitchum really pushes himself in the acting department playing Tison, a man who made killing a family project.

I did a bit of checking on Gary Tison and Randy Greenawalt played here by Stuart Margolin and their escape from state prison in Arizona and the subsequent crime spree they indulged in and the facts are pretty accurate in this prison. But an actor of Mitchum's ability and charisma are needed to put over a part where a guy who is in prison persuades his three teen sons to leave the straight life and help him escape from the correctional facility which Mitchum is incarcerated in.

You can see it in the family picnic atmosphere where Lynn Carlin brings her three boys to visit dear old dad who acts like a concerned father, even proud of his eldest James Spader who is in college and thinking about a career in law. The other two are nothing special except to their parents, the middle child Eric Stoltz is none too bright and Lance Kerwin is one mixed up teen, but nothing if not normal.

But the two younger ones feel a sense of duty to a father whom they think due to Mitchum's stories is a man wrongly put upon by society. And Spader in the end goes along with the younger ones out of a sense of duty to them as well as his father. But he knows better.

It's quite a jailbreak they pull off, of course planned by Mitchum and Margolin. Once out in society it doesn't take long for both these guys to reveal the kind of amoral sociopaths they are. And the kids are now trapped in Daddy's web of killing.

For a made for TV film it's quite graphically violent, but over 30 years later it still is a powerful film with a powerful performance by Mitchum.


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