A selection of films & documentaries on the death penalty. Watch the available trailers in the playlist below:
The People vs. Paul Crump – William Friedkin (1962)
After 14 stays of execution, Crump met Friedkin, then a local television director, in the Cook County Jail. Friedkin so believed in Crump s innocence and his worth as a human being that he and his cinematographer Bill Butler (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) took to the streets with lightweight cameras to appeal for Crump s return to society. The resulting film contributed to the commutation of Crump’s sentence, earned Friedkin several major awards, and launched his Hollywood career.
Paradise Lost – 3 parts documentary – Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky (1996)
A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence. The story of the Memphis Three.
The Thin Blue Line – Errol Morris (1988)
A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly sentenced to death for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.
The life and death of a serial killer – Nick Broomfield & Joan Churchill (2003)
Nick Broomfield’s second documentary on Aileen Carol Wuornos, a highway prostitute who was executed in 2002 for killing six men in the state of Florida. This second installment includes the filmmaker’s testimony at Wuornos’s trial.
Deadline – Katy Chevigny & Kirsten Johnson (2004)
A documentary on Illinois Governor George Ryan, who, with 60 days left in office, makes a decision on the fate of death row prisoners.
Fighting for life in the death-belt – Adam Elend & Jeff Marks (2005)
This film follows legendary anti-death penalty attorney Stephen Bright through the final hours as he tries to prevent two clients from being executed.
The Trials of Darryl Hunt – Ricki Stern & Anne Sunberg (2006)
The Trials of Darryl Hunt is a feature documentary about a brutal rape/murder case and a wrongly convicted man, Darryl Hunt, who spent nearly twenty years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Both a social justice story and a personally driven narrative, the film chronicles this capital case from 1984 through 2004.
In prison my whole life – Mark Evans (2007)
A look at the life of imprisoned political activist and former Black Panther member, Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose death sentence for killing a police officer was overturned in 2001 due to errors made during his original 1982 sentencing hearing.
Race To Execution by Rachel Lyon (2007)
Race to Execution is a gripping documentary that offers a compelling investigation of America’s death penalty, probing how race discrimination infects our capital punishment system.
On Death Row – Werner Herzog (2012)
An inside look at a maximum security prison in Texas featuring interviews with death row prisoners.
Dead Man Walking – Tim Robbins (1995)
A nun, while comforting a convicted killer on death row, empathizes with both the killer and his victim’s families.
The Green Mile – Frank Darabont (1999)
The lives of guards on death row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.
Monster – Patty Jenkins (2003)
Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer.
The life of David Gale – Alan Parker (2003)
A man against capital punishment is accused of murdering a fellow activist and is sent to death row.
Capote – Bennett Miller (2005)
In 1959, Truman Capote learns of the murder of a Kansas family and decides to write a book about the case. While researching for his novel In Cold Blood, Capote forms a relationship with one of the killers, Perry Smith, who is on death row.
The last Hangman – Adrian Shergold (2005)
The life and times of Albert Pierrepoint – Britain’s most prolific hangman.