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Muted Message: Capital Punishment in the Hollywood Cinema

18 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2012  

David Ray Papke

Marquette University - Law School

Date Written: November 21, 2012

Abstract

Contemporary Hollywood films seem at first glance to be opposed to capital punishment. However, this article’s consideration of five surprisingly similar films (Dead Man Walking, The Chamber, Last Dance, True Crime, and The Life of David Gale) finds they do not truly and consistently condemn capital punishment. Instead of suggesting that the practice of capital punishment is fundamentally immoral and should in general be ended, the films champion only worthy individuals on death row and delight primarily in the personal growth of other characters who attempt to aid the condemned. In the end, Hollywood offers only a muted message regarding the on-going use of capital punishment.

Keywords: capital punishment, death penalty, death row, film, Hollywood cinema

Suggested Citation

Papke, David Ray, Muted Message: Capital Punishment in the Hollywood Cinema (November 21, 2012). Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 12-25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2179186 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2179186

David Ray Papke (Contact Author)

Marquette University - Law School ( email )

Eckstein Hall
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201
United States

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