The Executioner’s Song (★★★★★ Empire On-Demand Review)

ExecutionersSongSquareThe Executioner’s Song (1982), Netflix

Long before HBO was a thing, television occasionally produced made-for-TV movies of astonishing quality, like this Emmy-winning story of Gary Gilmore (Tommy Lee Jones), the armed robber and double murderer who became an international sensation when he campaigned for his own execution, soon after the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. With a screenplay by Norman Mailer (based on his own Pulitzer prize-winning roman a clef), Lawrence Schiller’s film covers the troubled last nine months of Gilmore’s life, with Jones (aged, like Gulmore, 35) on electric form in his breakthrough role, with a supporting cast that includes Rosanna Arquette and Eli Wallach.

Empire rating: ★★★★★

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