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Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman

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Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman + The Executioner's Bible: The Story of Every British Hangman of the Twentieth Century
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Product Details

  • Actors: Clive Francis, Christopher Fulford, Timothy Spall, Juliet Stevenson, Ian Shaw
  • Directors: Adrian Shergold
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Ifc
  • DVD Release Date: October 30, 2007
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • ASIN: B000UAE7L8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,569 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Following in the footsteps of his father and uncle before him, Albert Pierrepoint (Timothy Spall) joins the 'family business'. He becomes the most feared and respected executioner in Britain, hanging over 450 people before his sudden resignation in 1956. Living a double life as a master craftsman hangman, and as a grocery deliveryman and loyal husband, Pierrepoint's obsession with becoming the 'Number One' executioner in the country results in a fate he could not have chosen.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 30 customer reviews
It is an uncomfortable film... by design.
James S. Haberer
I thought the movie was very well done and the acting superb, which, I think, made the rest of the film work.
Long Ago
It is a remarkable exploration of the personalities that made up Great Britain's' "execution squad."
Michael J. Scott

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
PIERREPOINT: THE LAST HANGMAN is one of those films that emerges from the cracks in the theater 'failures' only to find its poignant message when released on DVD. Granted, the idea of a story based on England's most famous executioner doesn't immediately catch the interest of the general audience, but for those fortunate enough to either rent or buy this DVD, the rewards are plentiful. It is a little masterpiece of writing, acting, directing and production values.

Albert Pierrepoint was the third man in his family to 'ascend' to the list of executioners (capital punishment in England at the time was by hanging), and when he is accepted to the list in 1932 he begins what became the longest and most prolific career of British executioners. He took enormous pride in his work, assuring his peers as well as his 'victims' that every aspect of his job was done with obsessive professionalism: his timing of his duties was the shortest on record, meaning that from the moment he opened the door to the condemned prisoner's room through the hooding and noose placement and tripping of the platform and subsequent death of the 'criminal', he spared suffering as much as was feasible. He was supported by a wife who kept the secret of her husband's anonymous role and it was only when the Pierrepoint's pride in his job became known that downfall of their lives is threatened. At times adored by the public for his assignment to hand the Nazi criminals and the famous murderers and eventually the target of the anti capital punishment activists, Pierrepoint's professionalism sustained him until a final tragic assignment changed his view of his job.

Timothy Spall is splendid as Pierrepoint, capturing all of the nuances of the simple, honest man's pride as well as his Achilles' heel.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By KerrLines on November 3, 2007
Format: DVD
Finally,constant supporting actor for over thirty years, Timothy Spall snares a leading role opposite the equally amazing Juliet Stevenson to bring to the screen the story of Albert Pierrepoint, the last English hangman. Pierrepoint, like his father and uncle before him was appointed Britain's Chief Executioner from 1933-1955 during which he personally oversaw 600+ hangings, including the famous Nazi War Criminal trials from Belsen Camp.He approaches every hanging as all in a day's work.His wife,masterfully embodied by Juliet Stevenson, chooses to know nothing of her husband's job.But, how long can something of this nature stay under the radar screen without it affecting them personally and as a couple? For people who like intense,well-acted films,look no farther that the noose right in front of your face! Easily one of the best acting jobs of late.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Roland E. Zwick on December 6, 2008
Format: DVD

Albert Pierrepoint is determined to carry on in the time-honored tradition of his family. That's why, like his father and uncle before him, Pierrepoint has trained to become one of England's premier executioners, a man who approaches his grim job with the utmost professionalism, priding himself on using scientific precision to make his hangings the quickest and most "humane" in all the world. Indeed, with his careful calibrations and emotional detachment, he manages to turn capital punishment into nothing short of an art form. So sterling is his reputation, in fact, that he is called upon by none other than Field Marshall Montgomery himself to supervise the hanging of dozens of convicted Nazi leaders after the war. This elevates Pierrepoint to something of a national celebrity in the eyes of a war-weary, revenge-crazed public, a position he neither craves for himself nor truly knows how to cope with, for it calls into question the dignity of the entire profession.

Based on a true story, "Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman" offers a fascinating glimpse into a rarely explored, though frequently reviled, profession and the type of man best fit to carry it out. Filled with insight and depth and - dare we say it? - a certain amount of "gallow's humor," the movie makes no moral judgment on Pierrepoint as a person (at least until he does so himself); for much of the film, he is simply a man doing his job to the best of his capabilities, primarily concerned with making the exit from this world as speedy and painless a one for the men and women on the other end of the rope as is humanly possible.
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Format: DVD
Albert Pierrepoint was a paragon of lower-middle-class respectability. He and his wife, Annie, lived in a small, tidy house. His favorite supper was pork chop. He was not too keen a man, but serious about those things he held important. Annie was loyal, kept a quiet house and served his meals on time. They had no children. Albert Pierrepoint's job was delivering wholesale supplies to markets. He also had a part-time job, a job he didn't speak about. He hanged people. He did so punctiliously, with dedication and decency. Albert Pierrepoint, according to the movie, was the United Kingdom's last chief hangman. It was a job that ran in his family. His father and uncle were official hangmen, too. Between 1933 and 1955, Pierrepoint hanged over 600 people. Nearly a third were Nazi war criminals.

He took with pride and seriousness his duties. When called to perform a hanging he always took the train to the prison site, stayed a night, insisted upon a hot meal, and became so proficient he was able to move the prisoner from the holding cell to the gallows and then to the drop in an average of little more than 11 seconds. His best time was 7.5 seconds, but some believe this prisoner cooperated by stepping to the noose even faster than Pierrepoint. He believed that when a prisoner was hanged the person's guilt was cleansed. He treated the body with respect, cleaning it carefully (the relaxation of the sphincter muscles can sometimes cause a loss of dignity for the dead), and insisting on a coffin of proper size.

He was a dedicated practitioner of his craft.
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