Ambrose Bierce Film



Fifty-five minute documentary on the life of Ambrose Bierce by Kirk Whitham. This is the only known film biography of Bierce. Available on DVD. Details HERE

Robert Enrico's famous film version of Bierce's
CBS Feb. 28, 1964.


Columbia University Graduate Thesis Film -- based on Bierce's 'Owl Creek Bridge'

Screenplay by Brian Merchant, directed by Todd Wiseman Jr.
Set in dystopian New York City in 2021, a young protestor about to be executed makes a daring escape -- he thinks. Filmed on location in New York.

The production company, Hayden 5, was officially formed in 2009 by Milos Silber and Todd Wiseman Jr. after graduation from NYU's Tisch Film School. With a collaboration dating to their dorm days, the team now produces music videos, commercials, and TV shows. The operation has grown into a full-fledged production studio and eight person staff in Chelsea, Manhattan, where The Exit Room was produced.

Watch both the trailer and the entire film: HERE


Colorado Student Film Adapts a Bierce Story

Jon Rezabek as the hanged man

The short film is based on Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" placed in a post-apocalyptic setting. A Colorado Film School second year production, Cannot Be Defied was directed by John McSween and produced by Nathan Trumbull and Ben Dunn. Trumbull says it was produced for less than $1500 and filmed over two days. Watch it HERE

Several Civil War reenactment groups in Illinois assisted independent Chicago-area filmmaker Brian Mitchell Warshawsky in producing Execution at Dawn, based on two Bierce stories: "Story of a Conscience" and "Parker Addison, Philosopher." Warshawsky said, "I gave Bierce prime billing in my preview, having been surprised by how few are really familiar with this national treasure of one of our greatest writers who seems to be disappearing with time." The film features Stephen Barker as Parker Addison, David Kaplan as Captain Hartroy, and Stuart Stephany as the corporal. Running time is under ten minutes. Warshawsky's preview of the film can be seen at: Vimeo
or Myspace

I am turning my attention away from a planned trilogy of Bierce stories due to possible over saturation, and focusing instead on stories with similar themes from lesser known international authors. All the themes would reflect Bierce story elements or plot twists. The third story in the mini trilogy (civil war/modern/medieval) was going to be a medieval tale. I have the location all figured out -- an authentic modern castle re-created in Napa Valley, and the story fits well with the same themes, but the marketing guy at the castle changed his mind on letting me film there.

Here is a preview of my current project [Paris Noir]. Go to: YouTube. I'll be updating this one shortly as well. It's unclear if the original Bierce story will still fit the theme when it's all complete. Music is all original too. Kinda my own special brand of craziness.

From Dawn to Dusk 3: The Hangman's Daughter (2000) is a "prequel" to the first film in this series. It's outlandish and perfectly ridiculous, with Bierce made out to be a staggering drunk. Yet it's campy and even a bit fun. Set in Mexico at the time Bierce actually disappeared, the author takes shelter in a brothel, which is really run by... unfriendly vampires. Could the people behind this film have been on to something? Directed by P.J. Pesce with Michael Parks as Bierce.

Michael Parks in goatee as Bierce

LITERARY NOTE: The film's subtitle, The Hangman's Daughter, is the partial title of a story that became the closest to a novel Bierce ever wrote. Based on a German folk tale by Richard Voss, The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter was translated into English by Adolphe De Castro (aka Adolphe Danziger) and polished by Bierce. It was published in 1892 by F.J. Schulte, Chicago. De Castro, who had literary ambitions, was Bierce's dentist. The two had a falling out, but not about teeth. Bierce says he broke his cane over De Castro's head in a dispute over proprietary rights to The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter. After's Bierce's disappearance in Mexico, De Castro claims to have interviewed Pancho Villa in 1923, and asserts that Villa said of Bierce, "...we put him out," suggesting he ordered Bierce killed. To put it generously, De Castro was an unreliable witness, and his alleged interview with Villa, published in 1929, is filled with ambiguities. --DS

Written and directed by Leor Baum, the short film is an updated treatment of Ambrose Bierce's "The Moonlit Road," a story of surmised infidelity, murder, and the supernatural. watch video teaser. Baum says, "This is a modern adaptation that is meant to stay true to the original story while incorporating expanded themes and situations." The Indie Film Reviewer writes: "When Ambrose Bierce wrote 'The Moonlit Road' in 1907, he surely did not think it would have been adapted into a modern motion picture a hundred years later... Modern yet poetic, the audience is taken through several time travels." Go to: Moonlit Road

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Produced and directed by Don Maxwell, with Campbell Scott as Bierce, Ambrose Bierce: Civil War Stories made its screen debut in Kansas City on September 8, 2006. Its DVD release was November 7, 2006. Independently produced in Kansas City as a trilogy, the film includes a truncated version of Michigan filmmaker's Brian James Egan's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," which is integrated seamlessly into the Maxwell film[see below]. For details about Maxwell's film with additional pictures, go to: Market Wire.

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Col 1
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First screened before a small audience in Lynchburg, VA, this film based on the Ambrose Bierce Civil War masterpiece formally premiered at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor in 2003. NOTE: Now part of the film trilogy Ambrose Bierce: Civil War Stories, although truncated. [see above].

Read the original version of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridgea psychological drama of a man who sees his life flash before him as Union troops hang him as a spy from a railroad bridge.

The Eyes of the Panther (2005) is independent director Mike Barton's first film. Based on an 1892 Ambrose Bierce story, the two-hour film, shot entirely in Los Angeles, is about a young pioneer couple caught up in terror and madness in the wilderness. Watch the trailer at Now available on DVD. Read the original story at as a pdf file. "The Eyes of the Panther" was filmed previously in 1990 as an episode of the television anthology Shelly Duvall's Nightmare Classics.

Kelly Vincent in
"The Eyes of the Panther"

Gregory Peck as Bierce
Gregory Peck: A Credible Ambrose Bierce

The distinguished film actor, who died in 2003 at the age of 87, portrayed Ambrose Bierce in the 1989 adaptation of Old Gringo, based on the novel by Carlos Fuentes. The film, directed by Luis Puenzo, also featured Jane Fonda and Jimmy Smits. In it, Bierce, a spinster (Fonda), and one of Pancho Villa's lieutenants (Smits) cross paths in the Mexican Revolution of 1913. Epic scale drama with rich atmosphere. For details about the film go to Internet Movie Data Base.

Ambrose Bierce Site founder Don Swaim interviewed Fuentes in 1992: LISTEN. For the unedited interview from Wired for Books listen HERE

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