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Dead Man Walking (1995) Poster

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (1) | Director Trademark (1) | Spoilers (3)
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."
This is one of several movies where Susan Sarandon's character as a child is played by her daughter Eva Amurri Martino.
The scene where Sister Helen was pulled over is based on an incident that happened to Helen Prejean during filming. She thought it was so funny that she asked to have it put into the film.
When director Tim Robbins needed songs written for the film, he simply sent a cut of the film to several noted composers, among them Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle and asked for a song.
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.
First cinema feature of Peter Sarsgaard, who plays Walter Delacroix.
It marks as the very first time Tim Robbins and Sean Penn received an Oscar nomination. Years later, they both won their first Oscars and also in collaboration, this time for Mystic River (2003).
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The mission house that Sister Prejean walks into is called Hope House. This was also the name of the charity that Marmee worked for in Little Women 1994 also porteayed by Susan Sarandon
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Scott Wilson (Chaplain Farley) has appeared in two other true crime inspired movies with scenes of capital punishment: In Cold Blood (1967) and Monster (2003). And he has appeared not only in "Dead Man Walking" but also in The Walking Dead (2010).
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One of the victims' surnames is Delacroix. Coincidentally, this name also turns up in another drama about the death penalty, The Green Mile (1999), but there it was the name of the death row inmate played by Michael Jeter.
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This movie marks the second collaboration between Susan Sarandon and Margo Martindale. They previously appeared together in Lorenzo's Oil (1992).
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Cameo 

Helen Prejean: The real Sister Helen appears outside the prison during a candlelight vigil scene.

Director Trademark 

Tim Robbins: [family] Cast includes director's common law wife Susan Sarandon, common law stepdaughter Eva Amurri Martino, father Gil Robbins (Bishop Norwich), mother Mary Robbins (aide to the governor), sister Adele Robbins (nurse), and son Jack Henry Robbins (opossum kid) and Miles Robbins (boy in church). His brother, David Robbins, composed the soundtrack.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

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'."
Because Peter Sarsgaard and Missy Yager's brutal rape scene was filmed in the mud, every time they did a new take they had to get up, get showered, get dressed, put new makeup on and do it again. It took all night to film.
One of Matthew Poncelet's tattoos (the one you can see when he gets the injection) is the cover of the Iron Maiden record "Piece of Mind".

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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