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Dead Man Walking (1995)

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.),
3,712 ( 920)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 19 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)


$39,025,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After being told that she would be played in the film by "a famous actress from Thelma & Louise (1991)", Sister Helen Prejean was introduced to Susan Sarandon and said "Thank God, she's Louise." 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 »


Sister Colleen: If Matt dies, guess who he'll be buried next to?
Sister Helen Prejean: Who's the last person to die?
Sister Colleen: Sister Celestine.
Sister Helen Prejean: Oh Lord.
Sister Colleen: You remember when that sweet little girl in the convent came after her wedding day to introduce her husband to us?
Sister Helen Prejean: Sister Celestine said, "I'm glad I never had to share my bed with a man."
Sister Colleen: She loved her celibacy so much.
Sister Helen Prejean: I know. She's gonna be lying next to a man for all eternity.
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 Dead Like Me: Dead Girl Walking (2003) See more »


Sacred Love
Performed by The Dusing Singers
Soloist Gale Limansky
Written by Georgi Sviridov
Arranged by Gil Robbins
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn Show
26 June 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Dead Man Walking" deals with one nun's struggle (Susan Sarandon in her Oscar-winning part) to help a convicted death row inmate (Sean Penn in an Oscar-nominated role) come to terms with his imminent execution. Writer-director Tim Robbins does something very difficult in this film, he makes us care about the unsympathetic character that Penn plays. Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn dominate the film in every aspect imaginable, they play a complicated chess match at times and eventually become close friends by the end of the picture. The fact that Sarandon and Robbins are openly against the death penalty in real life just adds to this film. Their strong opinion on the subject leads to an unforgettable motion picture that is made well and performed well by the two leads. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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

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Thank god for the death penalty! uncrules30
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