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The Green Mile (1999)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Fantasy  |  10 December 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 692,714 users   Metascore: 61/100
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The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:


Death Row guards at a penitentiary, in the 1930's, have a moral dilemma with their job when they discover one of their prisoners, a convicted murderer, has a special gift. Written by Guy Johns

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Miracles do happen. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language and some sex-related material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

10 December 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stephen King's The Green Mile  »

Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$18,017,152 (USA) (10 December 1999)


AUD 7,730,847 (Australia) (15 December 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Stephen King's original novel 'The Green Mile' was published in 100-page paperback installments between March and August of 1996. He had begun developing the story while writing Desperation, and needed to finish that novel but still wanted to see where his death row story would go. Ralph Vicinanza, a friend of King's who sells foreign publication rights, had recently had a discussion with another friend in England about Charles Dickens, in which he learned that Dickens often published his novels in installments in newspapers and magazines, and it had been suggested that, in the U.S., someone like Stephen King could try writing a book that way. Vicinanza was under the impression that no recent novels had been written this way. He was in fact mistaken. Tom Wolfe had published his first draft of The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) in installments in Rolling Stone. Both that novel and this one were turned into films starring Tom Hanks. This also ended up not being Stephen King's only story published in installments: his Dark Tower series spanned seven full-length books, published over the course of 22 years, from 1982 until 2004. See more »


During prison scenes the guards are wearing sidearms. Real prison guards would not wear sidearms in the prison population for fear that one of the inmates might grab it and hold the guard hostage or kill the guard. See more »


Paul Edgecomb: John, do you know where we're taking you?
John Coffey: Help a lady?
Brutus "Brutal" Howell: That's right. But how do you know?
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User Reviews

One of the most penetrating films of the past several years. **** out of ****
25 January 2000 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

THE GREEN MILE (1999) ****

Starring: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bonnie Hunt, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Doug Hutchison, and Gary Sinise Written and directed by Frank Darabont. Running Time: 180 minutes. Rated R (for scenes of strong disturbing violence, language, and some sexuality)

By Blake French:

It's not everyday that a movie is able to change an audiences opinion on something. "The Green Mile" is a movie that made me think long and hard about supporting the death penalty. The film, based on a novel by Stephen King, contains such a variety of emotional events that it repels its audience away from its subject rather than glamorizing it. Only a handful of recent productions have been capable of such power. "The Green Mile" is truly one of the best films this year and is Oscar Worthy in many categories. It is a unique, three hour experience that must be seen to believe.

The story is more of a personal narrative than an actual plot. The film offers an interesting perspective of the events that take place. It is seen through the eyes of a man who is over one hundred years of age, Paul Edgecomb, who is currently living in an old folks home with his friend, Elaine. During a very emotional day for Paul, he tells Elaine of a historical year in his experiences. She listens closely to his story.

He tells of a particular year in the 1930's. The setting is a beautifully crafted prison hall. Paul explains he used to be a kind prison guard on death row in charge of overseeing the executions. In this year, several significant activities occurred in his life: he had a terribly painful urinary infection, and met a prisoner named John Coffey. This man has been sentenced to the electric chair for the rape and murder of two innocent little girls. This man isn't like anyone else Paul has seen, however. Aside from being massive in size, he is humble, mild mannered, and caring. After several miraculous events take place that may point to the thought that John Coffey might have magical powers from God, Paul begins to doubt the crimes this so called criminal has been convicted of.

Throughout the story we witness three executions that in an electric chair. These capital punishment sequences have much power and significance. The electrocutions, one in particular, contain some of the most unsettling, disturbing material in film history. The movie is anti death penalty; we see the sometimes sadistic world from the prisoner guards point of view. It will put you in their shoes--and perhaps, change your opinion on the death penalty. I certainly had to think about my stand on this issue.

I did have questions that were not really answered by the filmmakers. I wanted more on John Coffey's magical powers; the miracles aren't investigated enough to suit our pleas. I think the movie could have also stood on a firmer platform of religion. We assume that Coffey's abilities are a gift from God from the character's dialogue, but religion itself is more of a theme in the film than a message or plot point. I can perfectly see why the writers decided to leave these elements to the audiences imagination, to provoke participation. So I suppose my objections are not really flaws, just personal aspirations.

"The Green Mile" contains so many vivid performances, I will not be able to honor everyone who deserves credit in my review. Michael Jeter, Gary Sinise, Doug Hutchison, James Cromwell, Bonnie Hunt, and David Morse are all superior in strength of their characters. Each contributes Oscar worthy performances, and if the Academy leaves these individuals out at Award time, they need to recheck their databases. Michael Clarke Duncan recently received a Golden Globe nomination for his supporting role, and he deserves it. Tom Hanks is just unspeakably brilliant in the leading role. He is right behind Kevin Spacey from "American Beauty" in the best performance of 1999.

The message to "The Green Mile" is clear and understandable: justice isn't always just and the miracles can happen in the most unexpected of places. This film is one of the most penetrating dramas of the past several years. It will induce your mind to think about its subjects, and gradually build on you. "The Green Mile" is a movie that will stick with you long after the ending credits role by.

Brought to you by Warner Bros.

156 of 189 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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