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Life (I) (1999)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  16 April 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 32,344 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 119 user | 74 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

The story of wrongfully convicted men (Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence) who discover the value of life after serving 65 years in prison.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hoppin' Bob
Goldmouth (as Michael 'Bear' Taliferro)
Can't Get Right
Superintendant Abernathy


In the mid-1990s, two inmates bury the burned bodies of two lifers at Mississippi's infamous Parchman Farm; a third old-timer relates their story. They'd served 65 years for a murder they didn't commit, framed by a local sheriff while buying moonshine whiskey for a Manhattan club owner to whom they owed money. In flashbacks we see this odd couple thrown together (Ray is a fast-talking con man, and Claude is a serious man about to start work as a bank teller), the loss of Ray's watch (sterling silver, from his daddy), the murder and trial, the hardships of Parchman, and the love-hate relationship of Claude and Ray as they spend 65 years bickering and looking for a way to escape. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and a shooting | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

16 April 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Até que a Fuga os Separe  »

Box Office


$75,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$20,414,775 (USA) (16 April 1999)


£1,266,689 (UK) (17 September 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Anthony Anderson's film debut. See more »


About halfway through the film, the prisoners are watching a newsreel about World War II. After that, Can't Get Right arrives, and is scouted by the Pittsburgh Crawfords. The team existed from 1930-1938, three years before the US entered World War II. See more »


Cookie: [Ray is getting beat by Goldmouth for not giving up his cornbread] I appreciate you going through all the trouble over my cornbread; you don't get a lot of compliments around here.
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Crazy Credits

Bloopers are shown during the closing credits. See more »


Featured in Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat (2002) See more »


Down by the Riverside
Performed by Annie Pavageau & The Morning Star Choir
Courtesy of Southland Records
A subsidiary of George H. Buck, Jr. Jazz Foundation, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

It's not mindless buddy stuff and it's not the Shawshank Redemption, but it's in-between (but not as good)
27 June 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Ray Gibson and Claude Banks get involved with a local crime boss and end up doing some work for him to make up for their debts. However when running moonshine across the Bible belt they encounter racism and eventually get framed for a murder by a racist sheriff. Sentenced to life they experience a range of things but eventually find that friendship can overcome many things during a course of a life.

I approach this with a certain amount of caution. I expected a buddy comedy full of the heavy-handed comedy that usually comes with a Murphy or a Lawrence movie. Admittedly it does have a certain amount of that – but in small amounts it can be quite funny. The story doesn't create as good a relationship between Ray and Claude as it could have done, and ignores any brutality that may occur, but it still manages to have poignant things to say about friendship.

The `old' makeup isn't as good it could have been but it passes. The story isn't anywhere near Shawshank but it tries to cover similar ground. Although it never reaches that level it is a lot more involving than you'd expect it to be. It may always come down to Murphy and Lawrence bickering but it isn't just that. My only criticism of it is that it appears to have been more fun to make than it is to watch – the outtakes are the funniest bit in the whole thing.

Murphy and Lawrence are not the most subtle of performers but they do OK here. They do better at the comedy than the serious elements but both are warm enough to convince. The cast is made up of a range of reasonable black actors and comedians – Bernie Mac is funny, but again this feeds into the image that the real fun was had in the making of the film rather than the actual film itself. Interesting side roles are given to Ned Beatty, R. Lee Ermey, Bokeem Woodbine, Rick James, Lisa Nicole Carson and Heavy D.

Overall this isn't just a buddy comedy and it isn't quite as meaningful as Shawshank. It falls in-between and, while it's not a classic it's still quite enjoyable to watch – even if all the best bits are in the outtakes at the end.

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