Life (film)

Life (film)


caption = The DVD cover for the movie "Life".
writer=Robert Ramsey
Matthew Stone
director=Ted Demme
starring=Eddie Murphy
Martin Lawrence
Obba Babatundé
Ned Beatty
R. Lee Ermey
Clarence Williams III
Bernie Mac
Bokeem Woodbine
Miguel A. Núñez Jr.
Sanaa Lathan
music=R. Kelly
Wyclef Jean | distributor=Universal Pictures
released=April 13 1999
runtime=108 min.
producer=James D. Brubaker
Karen Kehela
Eddie Murphy
Brian Grazer
budget=$75,000,000 (estimated)

"Life" is a 1999 dramedy film starring Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence and Obba Babatundé. The film was directed by Ted Demme. Others in the cast include Bernie Mac, Anthony Anderson, Miguel A. Núñez Jr. and Bokeem Woodbine.

The film was released in April 1999 and went on to gross over sixty million dollars at the box office. K-Ci & JoJo sang the theme to the movie, which was titled "Life", but it was the song "Fortunate" by Maxwell that garned the most attention from the soundtrack as it received several awards and nominations.

The film was shot at various locations in California. The locations include Locke, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Downey, CA, and Sacramento, CA. Parts of the film were actually shot at a Rockwell Defense Plant in California.


Ray Gibson (Murphy) and Claude Banks (Lawrence) are two New Yorkers in 1932 from different worlds: Ray is a small-time hustler and Claude has just been accepted for a job as a bank teller, trying to make something of himself. They are both at a club called Spanky's when Ray picks Claude as his mark to pick-pocket. Later they both end up in the bad graces of the club's owner Spanky (Rick James). Ray is in trouble for running numbers on Spanky's territory and Claude also since he was jacked by two men he owes money to, does not have any money to pay for the dinner he just ate at Spanky's club. Ray arranges to have himself and Claude moonshining in order to pay off both of their debts to Spanky.

They head down south from New York in order to buy a carload of Mississippi hooch alcohol. Unfortunately, before they can get back to New York, a man named Winston Hancock (Clarence Williams III) that swindles Ray in a card game is murdered outside of a juke joint by the town's white sheriff (Ned Vaughn). Badly beaten, the man happens to stumble back into Ray and Claude and they both are framed for murder. They go to trial, are convicted, and sentenced to life. True to the time period and the South, Ray and Claude are sent to an infamous prison camp called Parchman Farm (now Mississippi State Penitentiary) for murders to perform hard labor. They spend the next 65 years trying to escape from prison, making new friends: Willie Long (Obba Babatundé), Biscuit (Miguel A. Núñez Jr.), Jangle Leg (Bernie Mac), Radio (Guy Torry), Goldmouth (Michael Taliferro), Cookie (Anthony Anderson) and Pokerface (Barry Shabaka Henley), dodging the guards Sergeant Dillard (Nick Cassavetes) and Hoppin' Bob (Brent Jennings) and helping their own friendship grow. Each inmate has their own different personality. Willie Long has been there the longest and he is the most wiser one. Biscuit is a friendly mother-like inmate who is a homosexual. Jangle Leg is Biscuit's lover who unintentionally provides comic relief with his bizarre behavior. Radio has a obsession with his radio and loves music. Goldmouth has a son and is the largest and strongest. He begins as a bully to Ray and Claude but immediately become friends (after a fist fight with Ray). Cookie is the prison's chef and is an excellent cook. Pokerface has a passion for gambling. Sergeant Dillard is harsh towards Ray and Claude but he secretly likes them. The same goes for Hoppin' Bob.

Ray and Claude make several attempts to escape the prison. Early in their incarceration, they simply try running away in the middle of the night, getting as far as Tallahatchie before being tracked down and sentenced to a week in the hole. In 1945, after the United States declares war with Japan, they meet a fellow inmate named Can't Get Right (Bokeem Woodbine) who happens to be an extremely proficient baseball player. He catches the eye of a Negro League scout who indicates he can get him out of prison to play baseball. Ray and Claude try to get the scout to put a word in for them as well (as they relate to Can't Get Right in that they can coax him best to play), but this eventually falls through and only Can't Get Right is released. The gay inmate Biscuit is killed around this time when he deliberately runs into a gun line and is shot. His lover, Jangle Leg, never fully recovers from this. After they are transferred to Pittsburgh, Ray makes another escape plan but Claude wants no part of it. Claude starts resigning himself to the fact that they'll never get out ("They threw us in here for LIFE, Ray...we're gonna die here!). This leads to an argument, which in turn leads to Ray and Claude ending their friendship. With them not talking, Camp 8 got "a little harder and colder", and as the years passed, many of Ray and Claude's close friends are either released, or dead.

Many years later after a number of events occuring including the John F. Kennedy assassination, the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination, the Malcolm X assassination, the African-American Civil Rights, Apollo 11 and Muhammad Ali's last win. In 1972, Ray and Claude meet the sheriff (R. Lee Ermey) who framed them forty years earlier. In the midst of a heated argument, the sheriff is shot and killed by the prison warden (Ned Beatty), who realizes they did not commit the crime they were imprisoned for. He tells Ray and Claude he intends to write pardon papers for the two of them, but dies of a heart attack before he's able to do so.

In the present day, Ray and Claude are now elderly, and living in the prison's infirmary. They realize by now that the only way they'll escape the prison is when they die. However, the infirmary catches fire, and everyone is able to get out except Claude. Knowing he's still inside, Ray goes back in to find him, when the entrance caves in behind him.

Two bodies were found, but it was revealed by the duo's only surviving friend Willie Long that the event was planned by Ray and Claude. The two bodies were taken from the morgue, and Ray and Claude had escaped the fire and prison by hiding on the departing fire trucks. The film ends with Ray and Claude (now living together in Harlem) at a New York Yankees baseball game.


Awards & Nominations

* Academy Award
**nominated for Best Makeup (2000)
* NAACP Image Award
**nominated for Outstanding Motion Picture (2000)
* BMI Film & TV Awards
**won for Most Performed Song from a Film (2000)
* Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
**nominated with Eddie Murphy for Favorite Comedy Team (2000) for the movie
**nominated for Favorite Song from a Movie (Fortunate)


*In the scene where Ray is getting beaten in a fight with Goldmouth, Rayford says to Goldmouth: "I know a bitch named Della who hits harder than you." This is a reference to "Harlem Nights" (1989), in which Murphy's character is beat up in a fight with a madame played by Della Reese.Fact|date=April 2007
*Spanky's (Rick James) limp was not acting. The scene was shot after Rick James underwent hip replacement surgery.
*Willie Long (Obba Babtundé) is the only surviving inmate that was a friend of Ray and Claude. He is also the narrator of the film.
*In the scene where Ray and Claude are standing on a box of bottles, Claude mentions that one of his toes has slipped into one of them. This actually happened during the take, but Martin Lawrence kept going, despite Eddie Murphy's laughing, which is genuine.
* This was Anthony Anderson's Second Role

oundtrack listing

The soundtrack album was released on March 16, 1999.

#"25 to Life" - Xzibit, Ja Rule, Juvenile, Nature, Reptile aka Rep Tilly-on
#"It's Like Everyday" - DJ Quik and R. Kelly
#"Stimulate Me" - Destiny's Child feauring Mocha
#"Fortunate" - Maxwell *
#"Lovin' You" - Sparkle
#"Every Which Way" - Talent featuring Vegas Cats
#"It's Gonna Rain" - Kelly Price
#"Discovery" - Brian McKnight
#"Follow the Wind" - Trisha Yearwood
#"Why Should I Believe You?" - Mýa
#"What Would You Do?" - City High *
#"What Goes Around" - Khadegia featuuring Marie Antoinette
#"Speechless" - Isley Brothers
#"Life" - K-Ci & JoJo *
#"New Day" - Wyclef Jean
(*) indicates songs were released as singles

External links

*imdb title|id=0123964|title=Life

Box Office Leaders USA
before = The Matrix
date = April 25
year = 1999
after = Entrapment

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