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The Executioner's Song (Director's Cut)

3.8 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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(Aug 05, 2008)
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Director's Cut
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Utah murderer Gary Gilmore demands to be executed, making his 1977 case a media circus. From the Norman Mailer book.

Amazon.com

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

Special Features

None.

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: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000Q6GUWK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,725 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Executioner's Song (Director's Cut)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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.
Comment 46 of 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I HAVE WAITED A LONG TIME FOR THIS MOVIE ON DVD,I WAS REALLY DISAPPOINTED.THEY DIDN'T JUST CUT THIS MOVIE THEY RAPED IT!A LOT OF THE GOOD SCENES HAVE BEEN CUT OUT,AFTER SEEING THE MINI-SERIES ON TV THIS CUT JUST DOESN'T DO IT FOR ME.I HOPE THEY COME OUT WITH AN UNCUT FULL VERSION OF THIS GREAT MOVIE.
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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!
Comment 27 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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.
1 Comment 21 of 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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.
3 Comments 23 of 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
What a great movie! Tommy Lee does a superb performance portraying the convicted killer Gary Gilmore. Tommy Lee and Roseanne Arquette really make this movie execiting. I think this is one of the finest true life dramas ever produced. BRING BACK THIS MOVIE!! I would really like to purchase this movie. Why isn't it available? I'm sure I am not the only one who would like to purchase it. Please BRING IT BACK!
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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 Buy.com.
Jul 20, 2008 by rp |  See all 6 posts
dvd i bought Be the first to reply
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