The Green Mile (film)

The Green Mile (film)
The Green Mile

Promotional poster
Directed by Frank Darabont
Produced by Frank Darabont
David Valdes
Screenplay by Frank Darabont
Based on The Green Mile by
Stephen King
Starring Tom Hanks
David Morse
Bonnie Hunt
Michael Clarke Duncan
James Cromwell
Dabbs Greer
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography David Tattersall
Editing by Richard Francis-Bruce
Studio Castle Rock Entertainment
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) December 10, 1999 (1999-12-10)
Running time 188 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60 million
Box office $286,801,388

The Green Mile is a 1999 American drama film directed by Frank Darabont and adapted by him from the 1996 Stephen King novel of the same name. The film is told in a flashback format and stars Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb and Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey, and tells the story of Paul and his life as a death row corrections officer during the Great Depression in the United States, and the supernatural events he witnessed.

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor, Best Picture, Best Sound, and Best Adapted Screenplay.



In a Louisiana nursing home in 1999, Paul Edgecomb (Dabbs Greer) begins to cry while watching the film Top Hat. His elderly friend, Elaine, shows concern for him and Paul tells her that the film reminded him of when he was a corrections officer in charge of Death Row inmates at Cold Mountain Penitentiary during the summer of 1935. The cell block Paul (Tom Hanks) works in is called the "Green Mile" by the guards because the condemned prisoners walking to their execution are said to be walking "the last mile" to the electric chair; here, it is a stretch of faded lime-green linoleum.

One day, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a giant black man convicted of raping and killing two young white girls arrives on death row. Coffey shows all the characteristics of being a "gentle giant": keeping to himself, soft-spoken, fearing darkness, and crying often. Soon enough, John reveals extraordinary powers by healing Paul's urinary tract infection and resurrecting a mouse. Later, he would heal the terminally ill wife of Warden Hal Moores (James Cromwell), who suffered from a large brain tumor. When John is asked to explain his power, he merely says that he "took it back."

At the same time, Percy Wetmore (Doug Hutchison), a sadistic and unpopular guard, starts work. He "knows people, big people" (he is the nephew of the governor's wife), in effect preventing Paul or anybody else from doing anything significant to curb his behavior. Percy recognizes that the other officers greatly dislike him and uses that to demand managing the next execution. After that, he promises, he will have himself transferred to an administrative post at Briar Ridge Mental Hospital and Paul will never hear from him again. An agreement is made, but Percy then deliberately sabotages the execution. Instead of wetting the sponge, used to conduct electricity and make executions quick and effective, he leaves it dry, causing inmate Eduard "Del" Delacroix's (Michael Jeter) execution to be botched and for him to die slowly in great pain.

Shortly before Del's execution, a violent prisoner named William "Wild Bill" Wharton (Sam Rockwell) arrives, due to be executed for multiple murders committed during a robbery. At one point he seizes John's arm and John psychically senses that Wharton is the true killer of the two girls, the crime for which John was convicted and sentenced to death. John "takes back" the sickness in Hal's wife and regurgitates it into Percy, who then shoots Wharton to death and falls into a permanent catatonic state. Percy is then housed in the Briar Ridge Mental Hospital. In the wake of these events, Paul interrogates John, who says he "punished them bad men" and offers to show Paul what he saw. John takes Paul's hand stating that he has to give Paul "a part of himself" in order to see and imparts the visions of what he saw, of what really happened to the girls.

Paul asks John what he should do, if he should open the door and let John walk away. John tells him that he is ready to die because there is too much pain in the world, which he is aware of and sensitive to, stating that he is "rightly tired of the pain" and is ready to rest. For his last request on the night before his execution, John got to see Top Hat. When John is put in the electric chair, he asks Paul not to put the traditional black hood over his head because he is afraid of the dark. Paul agrees and after Paul shakes his hand, John is executed.

As Paul finishes his story, he notes that he requested a transfer to a youth detention center, where he spent the remainder of his career. Elaine questions his statement that he had a fully grown son at the time and Paul explains that he was 44 years old at the time of John's execution and that he is now 108 and still in excellent health. This is apparently a side effect of John giving a "part of himself" to Paul. Mr. Jingles, Del's mouse resurrected by John, is also still alive—but Paul believes his outliving all of his relatives and friends to be a punishment from God for having John executed. Paul explains he has deep thoughts about how "we each owe a death; there are no exceptions; but, Oh God, sometimes the Green Mile seems so long." Paul is left wondering, if Mr. Jingles has remained alive for all of this time being but a mouse, how long will it be before his own death?



Darabont adapted the novels into a screenplay in under eight weeks.[1]


The official film soundtrack, Music from the Motion Picture The Green Mile, was released on December 19, 1999 by Warner Bros. It contains 35 tracks, primarily instrumental tracks from the film score by Thomas Newman. It also contains four vocal tracks: "Cheek to Cheek" by Fred Astaire, "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" by Billie Holiday, "Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?" by Gene Austin, and "Charmaine" by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians.


The film received positive reviews from critics with a 80% "Certified Fresh" approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[2] Roger Ebert gave the film 3 and a half stars out of four, writing "The film is a shade over three hours long. I appreciated the extra time, which allows us to feel the passage of prison months and years."[3]

Forbes commentator Dawn Mendez referred to the character of John Coffey as a "'magic Negro' figure"—a term coined by Spike Lee to describe a stereotypical fictional black person depicted in a fictional work as a "saintly, nonthreatening" person whose purpose in life is to solve a problem for or otherwise further the happiness of a white person.[4] Lee himself berated the character as one of several "super-duper, magical Negro[es]" depicting a skewed version of the black male, claiming it was due to the prominence of white decision makers in the media companies.[5]

Awards and nominations

1999 Academy Awards[6][7]

2000 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films

2000 Broadcast Music Incorporated Film & TV Awards

2000 Black Reel Awards

  • Won – Theatrical – Best Supporting Actor – Michael Clarke Duncan

2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

  • Won – Favorite Actor – Drama – Tom Hanks
  • Nominated – Favorite Supporting Actor – Drama – Michael Clarke Duncan
  • Nominated – Favorite Supporting Actress – Drama – Bonnie Hunt

2000 Bram Stoker Awards

2000 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

2000 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards

  • Nominated – Best Supporting Actor – Michael Clarke Duncan
  • Nominated – Most Promising Actor – Michael Clarke Duncan

2000 Directors Guild of America

  • Nominated – Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures – Frank Darabont

2000 Golden Globe Awards

2000 NAACP Image Awards

2000 MTV Movie Awards

  • Nominated – Best Breakthrough Male Performance – Michael Clarke Duncan

2000 Motion Picture Sound Editors (Golden Reel Awards)

  • Nominated – Best Sound Editing – Dialogue and ADR – Mark A. Mangini, Julia Evershade
  • Nominated – Best Sound Editing – Effects and Foley – Mark A. Mangini, Aaron Glascock, Howell Gibbens, David E. Stone, Solange S. Schwalbe

2000 People's Choice Awards

  • Won – Favorite All-Around Motion Picture
  • Won – Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture

2001 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (Nebula Award)

  • Nominated – Best Script – Frank Darabont

2000 Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • Nominated – Outstanding Performance by a Cast
  • Nominated – Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role – Michael Clarke Duncan


External links

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