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>
In reality, Elmo Patrick Sonnier and Robert Lee Willie, both inmates on whom Sean Penn's character Matthew Poncelet is based on, were executed by the electric chair in Louisiana in 1984; by 1993, Louisiana switched that penalty to lethal injection as the most humane way to execute. Both Tim Robbins and Helen Prejean opted to use lethal injection in the film instead of the electric chair because, according to Prejean's interview, "We don't want to give people the moral (of the most humane death) out whereby people could say 'Oh well, we used to do electrocution but that's too barbaric so now we are humane and inject them'." See more »
When Sister Helen is talking to Hilton Barber outside the court house just after the first clemency hearing, he calls her "Susan" instead of "Helen". See more »
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 »
This Is The Day The Lord Has Made
Performed by Rev. Donald R. Smith and The Golden Voices Gospel Choir Of St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church
Text written by Isaac Watts
Arranged by Donald R. Smith and David Campbell (as David Campbell) See more »
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.
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