The Executioner's Song

The Executioner's Song Information

The Executioner's Song was a 1982 made-for-television film adaptation Norman Mailer's 1980 book The Executioner's Song. The film is directed by Lawrence Schiller.


The movie is about the final nine months of Gary Gilmore's life. In April 1976, Gilmore, 35, was released from prison after serving 12 years for robbery in Indiana. He was flown to Utah to live with Brenda Nicol, a distant cousin of his who tries to help him find work. Gilmore soon meets and becomes romantically involved with Nicole Baker, a 19-year-old widow with two young children. Despite his efforts to reform himself, Gilmore's self-destructive behavior leads to him getting into fights, stealing items from stores and abusing drugs. After Nicole breaks up with him, he murders two men in two separate robberies. Gilmore is turned in by his cousin and is sentenced to death. Gilmore becomes a national media sensation after he fights to have his execution performed as soon as possible. On January 17, 1977, Gilmore is executed by the method he chose, firing squad, making him the first person to be judicially executed in the United States since Luis Monge died in the Colorado gas chamber June 2, 1967.


  • Tommy Lee Jones as Gary Mark Gilmore
  • Christine Lahti as Brenda Nicol
  • Rosanna Arquette as Nicole Baker
  • Eli Wallach as Uncle Vern Damico
  • Steven Keats as Larry Samuels
  • Jordan Clarke as Johnny Nicol
  • Richard Venture as Earl Dorius
  • Jenny Wright as April Baker
  • Walter Olkewicz as Pete Galovan
  • Michael LeClair as Rikki Wood
  • Pat Corley as Val Conlan
  • Mary Ethel Gregory as Ida Damico
  • John Dennis Johnston as Jimmy Poker-Game
  • Norris Mailer as Lu-Ann (as Norris Church)
  • Kenneth O'Brien as Spencer McGrath
  • Rance Howard as Lt. Johnson
  • Charles Cyphers as Noall Wootton

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