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Dead Man Walking (1995)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  2 February 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 70,457 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 187 user | 76 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

A nun, while comforting a convicted killer on death row, empathizes with both the killer and his victim's families.



(book) (as Sister Helen Prejean C.S.J.) ,
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Helen's Mother
Chaplain Farley
Sister Colleen
Barton Heyman ...
Captain Beliveau
Sgt. Neal Trapp
Warden Hartman
Ray Aranha ...
Luis Montoya
Guy Gilardi


A convicted murderer on Death Row and the nun who befriends him. Through the portrayal of finely drawn characters and their interactions as the days, hours, and minutes tick down to the condemned man's execution, powerful emotions are unleashed. While Matthew Poncelet and Sister Prejean desperately try to gain a stay of execution from the governor or the courts, scenes are intercut from the brutal crime, gradually revealing the truth about the events that transpired. In addition to her temporal help, the nun also tries to reach out spiritually and assist as a guide to salvation. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a depiction of a rape and murder | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

2 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La dernière marche  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)


£2,000,433 (UK) (19 April 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The title "Dead Man Walking" is a slang term used by prison guards when escorting death row prisoners from their cells to the execution chambers. See more »


In some scenes where Helen is talking to Matthew through the grate, her face is pressed up against the wires but in reverse angle shots it is not. See more »


Matthew Poncelet: I was just fucking chicken.
See more »

Crazy Credits

This Film Was Edited On Old Fashioned Machines. This credit was inspired by John Ottman, editor of 'The Usual Suspects'. Ottman had wanted to put "edited on a piece of s*** Steenbeck" at the end of his movie, but settled for the more subtle "Edited on film". Tim Robbins heard about this, and decided to put his own variation of the line on the credits of 'Dead Man Walking.' See more »


Referenced in 30 Rock: The Source Awards (2007) See more »


A Cool Wind Is Blowing
Armenian Traditional
Arranged by David Robbins
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Thought provoking film
23 March 2003 | by See all my reviews

Tim Robbins did a masterful job directing this film. I say this because he avoided convention and cliché. He also oversaw superb performances from Susan Sarandon (who won an Oscar for her role) and Sean Penn. Even more amazing, Robbins doesn't patronize. He just tells the story and lets the events play on the viewer's mind. This is so effective because it allows the viewer to form his own opinions on the death penalty, one of the most controversial subjects of our time, without being unfairly manipulated in either direction. I can't recommend this film enough, 9/10.

47 of 66 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Thank god for the death penalty! uncrules30
Revenge or Forgiveness? anasuet1
Are we supposed to feel sorry... JoesDreaming
Bad acting or bad directing? Picasner
1996 best actrees OSCAR goes to... abril1088
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