6.7/10
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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
4,343 ( 26)
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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The word "fuck" is used 63 times See more »

Goofs

When Claude and Rayford are driving to pick up some bootleg liquor, the camera switches over from one side of the car to the other, each time Rayford's shirt is constantly changing from, buttons tied to the top to having the top two buttons undone. See more »

Quotes

Rayford Gibson: [singing] The Upper Room!
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Crazy Credits

Bloopers are shown during the closing credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 101 Most Unforgettable SNL Moments (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Banana in Your Fruit Basket
Written by Bo Carter (as A. Chatmon)
Performed by Bo Carter
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Wonderfully unclassifiable
29 December 2017 | by NateWatchesCoolMoviesSee all my reviews

Ted Demme's Life is a hard one to classify or box into genres, which may have been why it didn't do all that great at the box office and subsequently slipped through the cracks, a result that often befalls ambitious, unique films that people aren't ready to surrender to. Part comedy, part tragedy, all drama infused with just a bit of whimsy, it's a brilliant piece and one of the most underrated outings from both of it's high profile stars, Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. It seems fitting that the two lively, cartoonish cowboys of comedy should share the screen, and it's lucky they got such a wicked script. In the roaring twenties, Murphy is smooth talking petty thief Ray, Lawrence is hapless, hot blooded bank teller Claude, and the pair couldn't be more suited or dysfunctional towards each other. Brought together for an ill fated moonshine run bankrolled by a nasty NYC Gangster (Rick James), things go wrong in the most auspicious of places a black man could find himself during that time: Mississippi. Framed for the murder of a local conman (Clarence Williams III) by a psychotic, corrupt Sheriff (Ned Vaughn), they're given life in prison by the judge, and this is where their peculiar adventure really begins. Put under the supervision of a violent but oddly sympathetic corrections officer played awesomely by Nick Cassavetes, the two wrongfully convicted, hard-luck fellows spend their entire adult life and most of the twentieth century incarcerated... and that's the film. Squabbling year by year, making a whole host of friends out of their fellow convicts and never losing their sense of humour, it's the one of the strangest narratives I've seen, and somehow works wonders in keeping us glued to the screen. Supporting the two leads is a legendary ensemble including Ned Beatty as warm hearted superintendent, Anthony Anderson, Bernie Mac, Bokeem Woodbine, Barry Shabaka Henley, Heavy D, Don Harvey, Noah Emmerich, Obba Babatundé, Sanaa Latham, R. Lee Ermey and more. Murphy and Lawrence have never been better, shining through Rick Baker's wicked old age makeup in the latter portion of the film, and letting the organic outrage and frustration towards their situation pepper the many instances of humour, accenting everything with their friendship, which is the core element really. The film's title, simple as it, has a few meanings, at least for me. Life as in 'life in prison', in it's most literal and outright sense. Life as in 'well tough shit, that's life and it ain't always pretty,' another reality shared with us by the story. But really it's something more oblique, the closest form of explanation I can give being 'life happens.' There's no real social issues explored here, no heavy handed agenda (had the film been released in this day and age, that would have almost certainly been a different story), no real message, we just see these events befall the two men. They roll with each new development, they adapt and adjust, they learn, they live. In a medium that's always being plumbed and mined for deeper meanings, subtext and allegories, it's nice to see a picture that serves up the human condition without all those lofty bells and whistles. Their story is random, awkward, unpredictable, never short on irony, seldom fair, often tragic, and ever forward moving. That's Life.


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