The Chamber

Released 1996


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Movie Summary

James Foley
The Chamber is the 1996 film adaptation of the bestselling John Grisham courtroom thriller. Adam Hall (Chris O'Donnell) is a young and idealistic attorney freshly graduated from law school who takes on the death row clemency case of Sam Cayhall (Gene Hackman), a former Klansman and Adam's estranged grandfather. A vitriolic racist, Sam Cayhall was convicted 30 years prior for the murder of two Jewish children in a Mississippi bombing. With only weeks remaining before Sam's execution, Adam seeks to reconcile with his grandfather while retracing the sequence of events leading to his grandfather's incarceration. Even as he combats his own distaste of his grandfather's hateful ways and bigoted demeanor, Adam uncovers layers of deception and conspiracy stretching back decades that may indeed prove his grandfather innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. However as the date of his grandfather's execution looms closer Adam finds himself confronting dark secrets and specters from the past that re-emerge to threaten all their lives in the present.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 70

    Variety Emanuel Levy

    An intelligently proficient movie that works more effectively as a family drama than a legal thriller.

  • 50

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    Timing does no favors for The Chamber, the John Grisham death row drama that arrives on the heels of a better death row film (''Dead Man Walking'') and a better Grisham adaptation ...

  • 40

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    The Chamber is like a balloon that all the air has leaked out of. Maybe it wasn't magnificent before, but in its current state it is sad indeed.

Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman

Sam Cayhall

Nicholas Pryor

Nicholas Pryor

Judge Flynn F. Slattery

Faye Dunaway

Faye Dunaway

Lee Cayhall Bowen

Raymond J. Barry

Raymond J. Barry

Rollie Wedge/Donnie Cayhall

Robert Prosky

Robert Prosky

E. Garner Goodman

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Crime, Thrillers