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The Executioner's Song (Director's Cut) (1982)

Tommy Lee Jones , Christine Lahti , Lawrence Schiller  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tommy Lee Jones, Christine Lahti, Rosanna Arquette, Eli Wallach, Steven Keats
  • Directors: Lawrence Schiller
  • Writers: Norman Mailer
  • Producers: Lawrence Schiller, John Thomas Lenox, Michael Economou, Mimi Rothman Schapiro
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2008
  • Run Time: 157 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000Q6GUWK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,934 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Executioner's Song (Director's Cut)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tommy Lee Jones, Rosanna Arquette. The debate over capital punishment rages on with the story of Gary Mark Gilmore, the first man to be executed after the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Jones turns in an Emmy-winning performance as Gilmore, who insists that his execution by firing squad be carried out. Based on Norman Mailer's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. 1982/color/3 hrs., 8 min/NR/fullscreen.

Although Gary Gilmore had a pitiful life, it was enough of an American story gone bad to give Normal Mailer a platform for a grand, strange, utterly compelling book: The Executioner's Song, published in 1979. Mailer's literary collaborator, Lawrence Schiller, made the book into a TV-movie (with Mailer scripting), a landmark for its frankness and the general excellence of its acting. Gilmore is brought to vivid life by Tommy Lee Jones, who electrified audiences with his insightful work (this, coming shortly after Coal Miner's Daughter, was one of the roles that really put Jones on the map). Even more revelatory was Rosanna Arquette, virtually unknown at the time, whose role as Gilmore's girlfriend and "guardian angel" instantly put her on the A-list. The heat the two actors generate goes a long way toward establishing their unholy bond, credibility the film absolutely needs in order to work; watch them in an early scene where Gilmore describes the mystical nature of their connection, and you see two actors working at an uncanny level. The approach overall is plain, but that might be why the movie is so effective. This version, advertised as the "Director's Cut," is a curious amalgam of the movie's other versions; the original U.S. TV cut, which stretched out over two nights, and a European cut that included nudity and unexpurgated language. This one is 135 minutes long, has the language, but not the nudity--a swifter-moving entity than either of the previous films. It can't really be called a definitive issue, although the power of the material still comes through. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 68 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This "Director's Cut" Is An Outrage August 15, 2008
For many years, I'd been hoping to see "The Executioner's Song" released on DVD. But now that it's finally available, the result is extremely disappointing.

A "director's cut" usually indicates that a movie has had footage ADDED to it. But Lawrence Schiller has done the unimaginable and ripped 50 minutes from his three-hour film! I mean, WHY? Did Schiller actually believe that anyone would be happy to see nearly one-third of "Executioner's Song" hacked away?!

For anyone who is familiar with this movie (either from the VHS version or broadcast viewings), watching Schiller's "director's cut" is a very frustrating experience since none of the many deleted scenes were superfluous to the film!

In addition, the total lack of any extras on this DVD is another big disappointment. I'd have gladly paid more to see a "making of" documentary or interviews with the principal actors (who are all still living 26 years after the production of this movie).

"The Executioner's Song" was one of the very best made-for-TV films of the 1980s and deserved far better than the cheap, hack-job of a DVD release it's gotten. I would advise a search for the VHS version--and then enjoy "The Executioner's Song" as it was meant to be seen.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I Want My Two Hours Back October 3, 2008
I want my two hours back, the two hours of my life I wasted watching this abomination of a recut classic. How a director could savage and homogenize his greatest accomplishment is totally beyond me.

Put simply, the original was white hot in it's display of the sexual magnetism between the two exceedingly pitiful main characters - hot enough to be the work Tommy Lee Jones and Roseanne Arquette's future performances would forever be judged against.

But it isn't just the fleeting but heavenly sights of Ms. Arquette skirting in and out of the sheets that we're missing here. It's giant chunks of storytelling and character development.

Dumbed down and made safe as milk, a daring film made dull as dishwater.

Avoid at all costs. I mean it... if you see it at a yard sale for 49 cents, leave it on the pile with the broken 8 track player and the baby sneakers. Total rubbish.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars THIS MOVIE WAS REALLY CUT! August 15, 2008
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The original move was uncensored but I hardly recognized this mess as the same movie I enjoyed so many years ago. I made the mistake of thinking "Director's Cut" meant it was the original film. Boy was I wrong!

The only reason to purchase this chopped to pieces version is to use it as an example of our purtain, censorious moral beliefs in a society that rates violent movies as G or PG and lovemaking or nudity as R or X.

What a perfect example of our upside-down beliefs.

You are missing a great movie here, but not this gutted version!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Director's Cut? More like Butcher's Cut! March 22, 2008
By ezekial
This once great movie has been severely edited, leaving out many scenes. I've been anticipating the release of this movie for a long time, so this is a disappointment. There is none of the chemistry between the main actors. The movie jumps around and seems disconnected and hard to follow. I would not recommend this. Try to find a copy of the original VHS release and buy that, preferably digital. This movie needs to be released with all the original scenes, in the expanded version, otherwise it is a waste of time.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars mis-representation August 8, 2008
This is a good movie but labled as directors cut you would exspect more in the movie not less. movie companys are re-relising movies under director cut and unrated just for sales. i remember seeing this on the movie networks years ago and it was shocking and controversial. this edition is substansialy shorter than the vhs version. if you have never seen this movie i do recomend it but if you can get the vhs edition.

also it would be nice too have reveiws that are specifically for the product in question and not for every edition they produce it in.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars two versions May 23, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A well-acted film, with one of Tommy Lee Jones' most compelling performances. There are two versions of the film, though: a censored U.S. tv print, and an uncensored, edgier rest-of-the-planet version. The one shown recently on Universal's HD channel is the censored version, which probably doesn't bode well for us getting the complete print.
MUCH LATER: as you can probably tell from the other reviews, this release, allegedly the director's cut, is the US tv version. On the plus side, the transfer is very good - better than any version I've seen.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Real Gary Gilmore is lost here January 22, 2004
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I found this movie rather disappointing.After reading the Pullitzer Prize winning novel by Norman Mailer,& an in depth interview with Gary Gilmore by Playboy in 1977,it is for certain that Gary Gilmore was not accurately portrayed in this movie.The book was well researched based on actual court transcripts,letters between Gary & Nicole,& interviews with several people who knew the convicted murderer.
In the movie,the man was played with far too much feeling.The character came across as too mannerly & wimpy.The real Gary was no wimp by any stretch of the imagination.Consider a man at 35 who spent half of his life locked up.A man who killed 2 men execution style for no reason whatsoever - without even batting an eye.A guy like that is not going to be overly sensitive.The movie portrays him as a sensitive person.In actual fact he was quite intelligent,but rather curt & aggressive in interview,& only showed any iota of feeling for his mother,his brother,& Nicole,& even then it was basic.
Maybe it was in part due to the fact the movie was made for TV.The first part of the movie I kept wondering when the real Gary would come across.It was only in the second part where Gary was captured,that parts of the real Gary Gilmore were allowed to shine through.Some things were true to form,for instance when the Judge asked Gary what his preferred mode of execution would be,Tommy Lee played that out exactly as it should be with the exact words Gary said.There were a few other scenes where he played it well.I don't think it had anything to do with the acting at all.It was probably the fault of writing & directing that caused the essence of the real man to be lost.As well I think Roseanna Arquette made Nicole seem a lot more intelligent than she really was.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Wrong Side of the Tracks...
I came to "The Executioner's Song" after having read the book (The Executioner's Song). Norman Mailer's sweeping American epic, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979, is an... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Chris Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars great
Published 1 month ago by Sonya Carlan
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks , Dad .
I remember when this film was first aired on the t.v. --( maybe 1980 -81 )?? --- Anyway--- I was in the 7th or 8th grade and I watched with my father . Read more
Published 3 months ago by tubes5150
4.0 out of 5 stars good older movie
we bought this movie because my husband remembered watching it as a kid. It was a decent movie. Tommy Lee Jones acting was good
Published 4 months ago by Susan5372
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Tale...
No matter your stance on capital punishment, you'll find yourself fully engulfed in the tale that started this modern era of executing convicted killers. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Philip Scholz
5.0 out of 5 stars I Forgot How Good This Was!
I remember when this aired on television and was amazed at how versatile Tommy Lee Jones is as an actor. Read more
Published 6 months ago by James M. Loveday
2.0 out of 5 stars Uh, what happened
This version seems to have huge chunks of the plot missing! The brooding way the original develops is now completely undermined, and the whole thing seems rushed, and the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT JOB
Got it right when I expected it....Will be using this site again very soon and will tell all my friends and family
Published 7 months ago by lee
5.0 out of 5 stars An Oldie But Goodie
Who wouldn't like a much younger Tommy Lee Jones? I've had this movie on VHS and wanted to purchase a Blu Ray copy which is mot available. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Don Shannon
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great movie
I tapped this movie on my VCR back in the 80's and I was elated to find it for sell. The quality and sound was excellent.
Published 8 months ago by Avid Mo online shopper
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Topic From this Discussion
The Executioner's Song DVD release.
Other sites are still showing a release date of 8/5. Which version or cut is a bit of a mystery; different sites have different run times from 135, 157 and 188. Take a look at CD Universe or
Jul 20, 2008 by rp |  See all 6 posts
dvd i bought Be the first to reply
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