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The Chamber
The Chamber
Actors: Chris O'Donnell, Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Robert Prosky, Raymond J. Barry
Director: James Foley
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     1998     1hr 53min

A top cast consisting of veteran aces Gene Hackman and Faye Dunaway can't rescue this way-too-long, dreadfully earnest version of John Grisham's equally gimpy novel. There are several problems in this story of an intertwi...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Chris O'Donnell, Gene Hackman, Faye Dunaway, Robert Prosky, Raymond J. Barry
Director: James Foley
Creators: Brian Grazer, David T. Friendly, John Davis, Karen Kehela, Chris Reese, John Grisham, William Goldman
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Family Life, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 05/27/1998
Original Release Date: 10/11/1996
Theatrical Release Date: 10/11/1996
Release Year: 1998
Run Time: 1hr 53min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Sharon F. (Shar) from AVON PARK, FL
Reviewed on 2/9/2023...
Wow...Gene Hackman out-acted himself in this one. Probably his best performance ever.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO
Reviewed on 8/26/2017...
Very timely today as the "climate" is back to as volatile as it was decades ago! Family values pass down generation after generation and this extremely well written book then movie portrays how the young attorney who is grandson of a Klansman on death row tries to help keep him from the gas chamber. Chris O'Donnell does an incredible job as the idealistic lawyer with a fight on his hands. Gene Hackman always shines in every role he takes on and Faye Dunaway is daughter of the monster who may well deserve his punishment.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Nancy W. from CHARLOTTE, NC
Reviewed on 12/20/2010...
Movie portrays a family with "a past" and perhaps not the past you'd like the world to know about. This young man shows strength and love.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Cathie R. from FALLON, NV
Reviewed on 5/23/2010...
Good story, great actors -especially Gene Hackman. Another good movie from a John Grisham novel.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 11/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Gene Hackman's electrifying performance dominates this adaptation of John Grisham's best selling novel. Hackman portrays Sam Cayhall, a man who's been on death row for sixteen years for the bombing of a lawyer's office that resulted in the death of the lawyer's two children. Cayhall is a vile man, who has lived a life of hatred and prejudice, the result of generations of such bigoted ancestors. Enter Chris O'Donnell as his young grandson, who is a lawyer and wants to reopen the case and spare his grandfather the gas chamber. What ensues is a painful exploration of hatred, prejudice and a dysfunctional family.
I liked the movie, in spite of its several flaws. Hackman is phenomenal, and Chris O'Donnell does a good job as the naively innocent, but determined, young barrister. Faye Dunaway offers wonderful support as Hackman's estranged daughter who has lived a life of secrecy and guilt. Lela Rochon, Raymond Barry, David Marshall Grant and Robert Prosky offer fine support too.
I found myself involved in the movie, and feel it didn't offer any easy answers. Hackman is a guilty man, but his performance is so well doone that one can't help but feel sorry for the life he has chosen, and the life he has sacrificed.
I think it's well worth viewing."
Acting that ought to knock anyone's socks off
Christina Brooks | Sydney, N.S.W Australia | 01/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The Chamber" is long, quiet and infinitely better the second time around, which makes it pretty seriously good indeed. Whatever you think of the plot and the completely salient points it makes on the subject of capital punishment the true joys of "The Chamber" are the performances of Faye Dunaway and Gene Hackman each of which are nothing short of astonishing. Dunaway's creation of Cayhall's daughter is as powerful, multi-layered and profound as anything she has ever done. Gene Hackman deserves to be inducted into the great actors hall of fame for his portrayal of Sam Cayhall. As his execution draws closer his moods swing through the gamut of human emotion creating a complete and almost unbearably real but flawed human person facing certain death. A best actor oscar should have been given for this performance. If acting is your job or something that you see all too rarely ignore the carping critics who found their sensibilities rubbed the wrong way and get "The Chamber" it improves with each viewing and says some very deep things about life and exactly what it means to be human. Highly recommended."
Devastatingly good - a real soul searcher
Christina Brooks | 04/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"i had to watch the chamber as part of a class project and i thought it would be a typical story witha happy ending as usual grisham writes a top rated book which gets you at the heart and leans on the subject of the gas chamber - a truly excellent book which gets you thinking that you don't know what freedom is until it is taken away"