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The Killing of John Lennon

4.0 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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(Aug 05, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Mark David Chapman, a 25 year old security guard in Hawaii, bought a plane ticket to New York with the intention of killing the world's greatest musician and dreamer: The Beatles' John Lennon. Camping outside Lennon's apartment in New York waiting for an autograph, Chapman's childlike obsession with this "celebrity phony" descends into madness. Both gritty and dreamy, The Killing Of John Lennon is a stunning examination of a stalker's mind just before the kill.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jonas Ball, Mie Omori, Krisha Fairchild, Gunther Stern, Robert Kirk
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Ifc
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2008
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Domestic 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.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B0018PH3K6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,321 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Killing of John Lennon" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This film is strange. It retraces Mark Chapman's motives that lead to his killing of John Lennon in 1980. You are invited into a maniac's head to witness thoughts that are begotten in the depths of his mind. All spoken words and verbalized ideas that are put into the main character's mouth actually belong to Chapman himself: no writer's distortion. One can ask the rhetoric question, do we need to increase Chapman's ignoble renown?

John Lennon appears only as Chapman gets opportunity to see him personally. Of course, as a viewer, you know the forthcoming tragedy in the finale, and the film abets suspense by reminding you occasionally how many days or hours left before the murder. You find yourself meditating upon every turn of Chapman's mind, but in the end you realize nothing could save Lennon from this determined psycho. You witness all his weak, ludicrous motives, and don't expect that you'll feel any sympathy for him. No, understandably there's no touch of the sorrowful greatness of a tragedy: the story is told from Chapman's side.

The film is very well made, the camera work and casting are excellent. Jonas Ball playing Chapman is perfect; all characters Chapman encounters with - from street girls to taxi drivers - are greatly developed. Paradoxically, Hawaiian colours and atmospheric musicscore complete the eerie feel of the story. It's not a movie to watch over and over again but I highly recommend it to everybody who is interested in this tragedy and who appreciates good acting.
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Format: DVD
C'mon and ride on the Blame Train, shall we?
Was it the mental hospital that evidently released a criminally insane Chapman into society just 3 years before he killed Lennon despite the fact that he was diagnosed with severe schizophrenia? And hey, why didn't the Honolulu Scientology Center involve the cops when he was harassing them with death threats just 4 months before he shot Lennon? That would have at least initiated some sort of paper trail. Was it the mother who raised her son as a `best friend' (i.e. couldn't care less about him) instead of son? Perhaps a father who couldn't be bothered unless it was to push his face into a plate of spaghetti?
Look, I place most of the blame on the wife. She knew what her husband was up to, knew he was flying to NYC to kill John Lennon but never told anyone even though she knew he had a gun and stayed up all night listening to Beatles albums plotting against John, going on tirades about what a phony he was for owning prize Holstein cows. I would have had him reading 'Catcher in the Rye' in the state hospital quicker than you could say `annulment'.
I could go on and on but why? See the film yourself, I'm giving it 5 stars.
Finally, as important and influential as John Lennon is in our culture, for 25 years (since 4th grade, people) I've felt a lot of anguish around his passing. Even though I'm very spiritual and I know he was, too. This film goes a long way in explaining where MDC was at when this horrible act of violence took place. Now I'm not angry anymore.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I just watched 2 movies about the murder of John Lennon, back to back. One was CHAPTER 27, and the other is this one THE KILLING OF JOHN LENNON.

CHAPTER 27 is by far, the better of the 2 movies, hands down. Jared Leto gained weight for the role, and really seemed to become Mark David Chapman (Lennon's killer), even down to his slight southern accent and his mannerisms. It covers only the 3 days that Chapman was in NYC right before the murder, and ends shortly after the killing. The movie was just the right length (about 90 minutes), and had me emotionally engaged. The ending scene had me crying, followed by being creeped out (watch it and you'll see what I mean). I found it to be a powerful, well made movie.

THE KILLING OF JOHN LENNON movie, on the other hand, seemed overlong (it's about 2 hours long), disjointed, and elicited no emotional response from me. And that's saying something. If you can't get me to cry over the murder of John Lennon, something is wrong with your movie. The movie starts 3 months before the murder, at Chapman's home in Hawaii, and continues after the murder through his imprisonment and trial. Jonas Ball, as Mark David Chapman, does not seem to embody the character at all. He is thin, looks nothing like him, and does not even attempt a southern accent. He was not believable, and this is the main reason I felt detached from the movie.

In my opinion, if you only watch one of these, go for CHAPTER 27.
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Format: DVD
Deeply informative dramatization of Beatles' John Lennon murderer Mark David Chapman from his start in Hawaii to his incarceration in New York. Newcomer Jonas Ball plays Chapman without going too far over the edge, though at times people who are familiar with the appearance of Chapman would wonder why they picked an actor who is at least thirty pounds less than the real McCoy. But what really got me about this film is it was written with Chapman's own words through police interviews and private memoirs. But when the filmakers decided to use the actual locations that where Chapman and Lennon walked twenty-five years earlier, they didn't account for the backgrounds would now be totally different, and a sharp eye will notice a 70's-make cab for instance driving by the 2006 ABC Network's JumboTron and it's newly lit-up Times Square. Even though these may take you out of the movie, it's the dark and insane words of Chapman that will keep you in. In fact, it's so detailed that the actual assassination doesn't take place till an hour and ten minutes into the movie, and yes, it's extremely hard to watch, even 25 years later.

I'd like to comment that I personally feel that as a society, we shouldn't turn these types of killers of famous people into stars themselves, forever attaching them to the person who truly earned that fame to begin with. But that is the nature of the beast. You'll find no sympathy or concern for Chapman after watching this, but it does explain very well his method of madness.
(RedSabbath Rating:8.0/10)
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