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
2,811 ( 40)
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:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Unused score by William Ross. See more »

Goofs

When Ray and Claude are older in the superintendents house talking in their room. You can see that Ray is fixing his bodysuit. He is pulling down his stomach. See more »

Quotes

Rayford Gibson: [gets his watch back from Pike's body] I believe this belongs to me.
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Crazy Credits

Bloopers are shown during the closing credits. See more »

Connections

References The X-Files (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Drop Me Off in Harlem
Written by Duke Ellington, Nick Kenny
Produced by Eric Reed
Performed by Dawn Robinson
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User Reviews

"Life" Is Good
18 April 1999 | by EdRooneySee all my reviews

I cannot even begin to count how many `comedies' I have sat through that try to reach for the `timeless' formula by interjecting some lame dramatics to engage the audience even more than the comedy ever could. It's a practice as old as time in Hollywood. Most of these movies fail miserably.

You leave the theater thinking `It was funny enough, why couldn't it just stay silly?' My friends, I'm with you on every page. It's a slippery slope to juggle the two genres.

`Life' is the millionth attempt at warm-hearted comedy. It tries to make you pee your pants with its jokes, and yet slap your emotions around with the drama. And damn the odds, it fits like a glove. `Life' is also a film that defies much criticism. You either love stars Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, or you don't. I'm in the first category. As the main characters, the two comedians prove just how valuable they are. Murphy is coming off a uniquely horrific year. `Dr. Dolittle' was a smash, but a career setback to say the least. `Holy Man' was an unmitigated disaster, but one that didn't effect Murphy with any real damage. The greatest gift `Life' gives to Murphy is a chance to show off range. Murphy is a very talented actor, and this movie makes you wish he would try a straight drama for once. Murphy can be devastatingly funny. But he can also be very dramatically convincing. With each new movie, Murphy grows as an actor. I really think he's set for brighter things. Martin Lawrence shares many of the same attributes as Murphy. He's terribly funny, and yet able to win your heart with a depth most comedians don't have. `Life' has Lawrence with the quieter role. He uses that chance to provide the film with a backbone. He eventually comes out the best rounded character in the fractured storytelling. It's a good performance, but even better, it's a brilliant pairing with Eddie Murphy. The two are seamlessly funny. Squeezing every moment for comic and emotional juice. It's refreshing to watch a movie with two actors who seem to be trying something different, all the while living up to previous expectations. Ted Demme is a solid director, a thought that immediately puts me in the minority. His `Who's The Man?' was a strictly silly romp, but was actually funny. `The Ref' was the critically lauded and sharp black comedy. `Beautiful Girls' is a film that every time I sit down to watch, feels as comfortable as an old cardigan. He's yet to falter in my eyes. I like his attention to detail, and his gift for trusting his actors. `Life' wouldn't work as well as it does without a specific amount of direction and free will. Demme manages to keep the film on track without ever succumbing to an over-reliance on improv. The best scenes in `Life' are the quiet ones: the gay inmate who's release from prison provides a dilemma, the passage of time montage, and Lawrence's moment with the freshly baked pies(which is actually comical, but who's counting?). The film seems like it was longer at one point, but the film on display here really pleased me. I would recommend this film to anybody that has lost faith in Eddie Murphy.------------- 9


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Life See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,414,775, 18 April 1999

Gross USA:

$64,016,268

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$73,475,268
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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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