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Life (1999)

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In 1932, two strangers are wrongfully convicted and develop a strong friendship in prison that lasts them through the 20th century.

Director:

Ted Demme
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Popularity
3,305 ( 966)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eddie Murphy ... Rayford Gibson
Martin Lawrence ... Claude Banks
Obba Babatundé ... Willie Long
Nick Cassavetes ... Sergeant Dillard
Anthony Anderson ... Cookie
Barry Shabaka Henley ... Pokerface
Brent Jennings ... Hoppin' Bob
Bernie Mac ... Jangle Leg
Miguel A. Núñez Jr. ... Biscuit
Michael Taliferro ... Goldmouth (as Michael 'Bear' Taliferro)
Guy Torry ... Radio
Bokeem Woodbine ... Can't Get Right
Ned Beatty ... Dexter Wilkins
Lisa Nicole Carson ... Sylvia
O'Neal Compton ... Superintendant Abernathy
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Storyline

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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Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Universal

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Até que a Fuga os Separe See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,414,775, 18 April 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$63,844,974, 8 August 1999

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$73,521,587
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Life is a cult classic among African-American audiences due to the number of actors in the film who became much more famous in other mediums after it was released. It is also noteworthy for its quotes that are used in African American culture. See more »

Goofs

When Winston Hancock cuts Sheriff Pike's face, the cut goes from his ear towards his mouth. Later, when the sheriff meets Ray and Claude, the bandage is vertical, going from below his eye to the side of his jaw. See more »

Quotes

Rayford Gibson: [after being denied pie] Look, My Name's Ray Gibson I'm from New York. Let's talk Turkey, How much will it cost for you turn two of those whites-only pies into two nigger pies
Billy's Mama: [cocks gun] How 'bout I turn y'all into Nigger pie?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Bloopers are shown during the closing credits. See more »

Connections

References Harlem Nights (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

When My Man Comes Home
Written by J. Mayo Williams, Buddy Johnson
Performed by Buddy Johnson
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The meaning of "Life"
9 June 2007 | by Sheila_BeersSee all my reviews

I usually am not a fan of Eddie Murphy, but I thoroughly enjoyed the interweaving of comedy and drama in "Life." At first glance the title seems to refer to the life sentence wrongly given to the two men. As the story unfolds, the viewer sees the "life" they must make for themselves in the spartan setting of a prison in Mississippi. The end of the film should bring the viewer to question what he has done with his life and how much he has depended on "props" for a meaning to his own life.

Many who submitted comments compared "Life" with "The Shawshank Redemption," but a more likely comparison is "Cool Hand Luke," which starred Paul Newman in a similar story also set in a Mississippi prison. The comic gags, such as the warden's curvaceous daughter, were taken from "Cool Hand Luke." Overall, the film is rich in meaning as it shows how life in general is an interweaving of comedy and tragedy. Another comparison story is "Death Comes for the Archbishop" by Willa Cather, in which Ms. Cather shows how two priests, also in a spartan situation (a desert pastorate in New Mexico) and without the usual trappings of success, make meaningful lives for themselves while living sacrificially for others.


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