7.6/10
102,612
427 user 138 critic

The Life of David Gale (2003)

Trailer
0:31 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

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

Director:

Alan Parker
3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

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
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In Canton, Mississippi, a fearless young lawyer and his assistant defend a black man accused of murdering two white men who raped his ten-year-old daughter, inciting violent retribution and revenge from the Ku Klux Klan.

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson
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
Drama
    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
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 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
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
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
Insomnia (2002)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn't set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank
The Others (2001)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A woman who lives in her darkened old family house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that the home is haunted.

Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Fionnula Flanagan
Fracture (2007)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An attorney intent on climbing the career ladder toward success, finds an unlikely opponent in a manipulative criminal he is trying to prosecute.

Director: Gregory Hoblit
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn
The Game (1997)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After a wealthy banker is given an opportunity to participate in a mysterious game, his life is turned upside down when he becomes unable to distinguish between the game and reality.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Michael Douglas, Deborah Kara Unger, Sean Penn
Mystic River (2003)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The lives of three men who were childhood friends are shattered when one of them has a family tragedy.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kate Winslet ... Bitsey Bloom
Cleo King ... Barbara Kreuster
Constance Jones Constance Jones ... Reporter A.J. Roberts
Kevin Spacey ... David Gale
Laura Linney ... Constance Harraway
Lee Ritchey Lee Ritchey ... Joe Mullarkey
Gabriel Mann ... Zack Stemmons
Matt Craven ... Dusty Wright
Brandy Little ... Motel Waitress
Cindy Waite Cindy Waite ... Margie
Jim Beaver ... Duke Grover
Leon Rippy ... Braxton Belyeu
Jesse De Luna Jesse De Luna ... Supervising Guard
Vernon Grote Vernon Grote ... Door Guard
Rhona Mitra ... Berlin
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

The crime is clear. The truth is not.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent images, nudity, language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA | Germany | UK | Spain

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

21 February 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Leben des David Gale See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$38,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,117,225, 23 February 2003

Gross USA:

$19,955,598

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$38,955,598
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Alan Parker: briefly appears during the party scene at the beginning of the film - he is seen helping himself to some food. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the film, Sharon Gale, David's wife, receives the silver suitcase with the post card from Berlin in it. The postcard was mailed from San Francisco to Texas but has no postmark on it in the upper right hand corner as it should. See more »

Quotes

Ross: As the poets have mournfully sung/ death takes the innocent young/ the screamingly funny,/ the rolling in money,/ and those who are very well hung.
See more »


Soundtracks

Another Bleeding Heart
(2003)
Written by Alex Parker
Performed by Alex Parker
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
It strains sometimes, but the plot and its twists will get you good. Great acting, too!
27 March 2010 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

The Life of David Gale (2003)

Whether you are pro or anti death penalty, there's not getting past the sensational, brave, and maybe insane elements of this story. Based on fact about a death row inmate who had been famous as a death row protester, the core of the movie is how a young reporter (a convincing Kate Winslet) interviews the inmate (an equally convincing Kevin Spacey) in the days before his scheduled execution. We are gradually shown the backstory through their interviews, and another story builds as the reporter chases down new leads, including missing video evidence. Laura Linney plays an important third lead that starts to throw doubts into everyone's mind, including the audience's.

All of this sounds like a great movie should have come out of it: superb casting and acting, a great story with believable but astounding twists, and a nice tight framework, day by day, with methodical flashbacks. Instead the movie both tries too hard and fumbles some of the key moments. What is clearly dramatic is sometimes made over-dramatic (Winslet running and running and running, or words like "innocent" spinning across the screen between scenes). Other sensationalist add-ons make the movie cheap (seeing a chaingang neatly working along the road just as they drive by). And simple reactions aren't believable (they way characters respond to someone following them, or to other threats). This is important stuff for a movie trying to recreate the truth.

By my guess, the director is the key suspect, though he has a raft of successful films behind him, including the closest echo, Midnight Express (1978), which is about injustice and a prisoner who is extraordinary. But in all his films (that I've seen, which is quite a few, it turns out), there is a feeling of powerful story line carrying the day (Mississippi Burning, Birdy). Parker has also made a series of films tied to contemporary music, from Evita which is fair to The Commitments which is terrific fun, as well as The Wall, which might be his best film in all, though a difficult one. All of these films have a great setting, either musically or geographically.

Here we have only the dull backdrop of conservative Texas (if that's not redundant). And a blazing, heartwrenching story. Which is fair enough as a start. The Life of David Gale is a powerful morality tale, most of all, with some great acting, and many or most people watching will be glad they saw it. All those little flaws fade further and further as you get toward the end.

And then the end, the famous big final twist. That's memorable stuff. Wow.


25 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 427 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed