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Life (I) (1999)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  16 April 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 32,358 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
See  »

Did You Know?


Unused score by William Ross. 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 »


Rayford Gibson: [the two are now old men and Ray suspects Claude of having an escape plan] I'ma go to sleep. Why for I can't sit here and look at yo' ass...and wonder what you got up your sleeve?
Claude Banks: Yeah, I got somethin' brewin: I got a ass whuppin' brewin' for you here, Ray, if you don't stop fuckin' with me!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Bloopers are shown during the closing credits. See more »


Referenced in The Original Kings of Comedy (2000) See more »


What Goes Around
Performed by Khadejia featuring Marie Antoinette
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Life is a serious matter
30 June 2001 | by (Philadelphia, PA) – See all my reviews

After reading the user comments on this movie, it appears that the main complaint is that it is not the rollicking laugh-a-minute comedy that fans of the two leads expected. Once you let that expectation go, this is a great movie! It succeeds as a drama with comic tone. There have been some great ones that do this, and we mistakenly classify them as comedies. For example, M*A*S*H, Mr. Roberts, It's a Wonderful Life. These are pictures that provide comic overtones to people struggling to get through a very serious and overwhelming event: war, contemplated suicide, and in the case of Life, life imprisonment.

I was surprised at how good Murphy is in this flick.Not one of my favorites, he convinces as he ages and grows under the burden his character carries, that of an entire life stolen from him. And he survives with a certain dignity. Lawrence is almost as good, but he does labor a bit with the dramatic parts, seeming a bit uncomfortable shedding his comic bent. Note that when these characters are shown as old men, Murphy actually becomes an old man, Lawrence is still a young man in oldster's make-up.

Let's not overlook an interesting small role expertly understated by Ned Beatty, and the charm of Bokeem Woodbine as Can't Get Right. Life is well-mounted and the sets are as convincing as any I've seen. Comedies are rarely as dirty and sweaty as this movie.

I thoroughly enjoyed this picture, realizing early on that it was a very serious movie wrongly hyped as a comedy.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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