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At the Death House Door NR

4.8 out of 5 stars (11) IMDb 7.4/10

This film details the remarkable career journey of Rev. Carroll Pickett, Death House Chaplain, who accompanied over 95 men into the execution chamber during his tenure. From the award-winning filmmakers of Hoop Dreams, Steve James and Peter Gilbert.

Starring:
Carroll Pickett, Steve Mills
Runtime:
1 hour, 39 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Peter Gilbert, Steve James
Starring Carroll Pickett, Steve Mills
Supporting actors Maurice Possley, Anne Ellis, Charlotte Hirschfelder, Karel Henry, Ed Garza, Jim Willett, Roy Villanueva, Rodney Smith, Preston Rodrigues, Fred Allen, Steven Pickett, Rose Rhoton, Dave Atwood, Barbara Sloan, Karen Boudrie, Tom Brokaw, George W. Bush, John Chancellor
Studio IFC TV
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
While walking through my local library one day, I noticed a documentary. I love documentaries. I was bored and had nothing to do that night, so, I rented this movie. As it turns out, it was one of the best, most thought provoking documentaries I've ever seen. It's not full of excitement or anything like that, but very eye opening and pure, as is the man this movie is about.

AT THE DEATH HOUSE DOOR is about a reverend that was hired at a state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas in the late 70s or early 80s as the prison chaplain. His job was quickly changed to death row chaplain. To sum this man's job up is to say that he was responsible for making sure that the prisoner, on his last day of life, was not going to go in kicking and screaming. In other words, have that individual come to peace with dying and understanding what he or she has done wrong and hopefully, regardless of religous background, come to peace with spirituality or God. Along the way, he does a tape recording after their death for every one of the inmates that was executed describing in detail how the person was reacting. Some were more interesting than others. However, some of the deathrow inmates were innocent he felt and this deeply disturbed our heroic chaplain. It's an interesting story of one man's journey and how he dealt with the pain he was going through. In that time period, he witnessed dozens and dozens and dozens of executions until finally he resigned from the position and became an advocate against the death penalty.

This DVD is a touching story and I certainly suggest it. It truly is a 5-star documentary.
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Format: DVD
For many years now, I have been inconsistent about my view on the death penalty. What is so great about this documentary is that it beautifully mirrors my confusion - it raises questions without giving any clear cut answers. After viewing this film, I did a lot of research, curious to know whether it had the same impact on others that it had on me. Not surprisingly, it has been screened across the country since then, even on Capitol Hill, and has spurred on discussion between lawmakers, scholars and activists. For a unique and personal exploration into the concept of the death penalty, you MUST watch this film! I HIGHLY recommend it.
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Format: DVD
A unique and intimate perspective of the Death Penalty. When I think about all of the media that went into the making of this film, especially Pastor Pickett's tapes, I see God's divine plan at work. This documentary was born of inevitability. It is as much about the Death Penalty as it is an illustration of what a life lived for Christ truly looks like: painful, lonely at times, and full of priceless epiphanies. I show this film to my students whenever I teach the persuasive essay, and class discussion is always fruitful afterwards. A gorgeously rendered documentary that speaks to the heart and soul.
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Format: DVD
Yesterday I watched the 2008 documentary “At the Death House Door.” The film tells the story of Carroll Pickett, a chaplain at the notorious “Walls” prison in Huntsville Texas who, in the early 1980s, was recruited for being the chaplain for those condemned to death. His job was to stay with the prisoners from 6 AM to their execution shortly after midnight, to be their friend, spiritual confident, and parent (moments before death one inmate, a man who had had only an alcoholic stepfather, pathetically asks “Can I call you daddy when I die?”). But most of all, Pickett is trained to make the inmate compliant and peaceably resigned to his fate, a fate which very often would include excruciating pain and a desperately slow demise.

Pickett was born and raised to be a hard ass (if you’ll pardon the expression). Only his daughter has ever seen him cry, once. For awhile he was impacted by his grandfather’s philosophy “hang em high, hang em fast.”

Pickett is no longer of that opinion however. Part of the problem involves the execution of the innocent — the film spends some time on the tragic case of Carlos de Luna — but the problem is deeper than that. Even if you could ensure only guilty men die, Pickett now wants nothing to do with it. He now sees capital punishment as a wholly brutalizing practice. It’s that sick mentality that allows a nearby cafe to sell “murder burgers” and for the star attraction at the prison museum to be “Ole’ Sparky”, a retired electric chair. The daughter of a murdered woman summarizes the problem when, following the execution of her mother’s killer, she poignantly observes: “My mother’s dead. He’s dead. That’s just two dead people”

randalrauser.com
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
I've been making an effort to get a young woman I know to reconsider her stance on the death penalty. To put it into perspective, she grew up in an ultra-conservative home and was a victim of violence, so she directs a lot of that old-timey attitude and her own bitter feeling toward this topic, even though she herself is quite a free-spirit and a great deal more liberal than her family. She's mentioned considering law, but also has that naive idea that it's just like on TV: easy evidence that closes a case, everyone gets a fair shake. Anyone who knows anything about the US justice system knows that, while well intentioned, it is not fair in the least all too often and, as such, the death penalty has taken too many innocent lives. It is a great tragedy that we are still so barbaric in this nation. An eye for an eye just leaves everyone without eyes at some point and diminishes our compassion for one another. (And I say this as a woman who was almost murdered by her ex, too).

This movie did a good deal to open her eyes to understand the burden it places on all involved in the process.
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