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"THE GREEN MILE"
(1999) (Tom Hanks, David Morse) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Moderate Extreme Heavy Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Extreme None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Moderate Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A death row prison guard must contend with various convicts under his watch including a giant of a man with a special gift.
PLOT:
Paul Edgecomb (DABBS GREER) is an old man living in a nursing home whose frequent disappearances and melancholy ways cause his friend, Elaine Connelly (EVE BRENT), to question his behavior. Although initially reluctant, Edgecomb eventually recounts his stint -- some six decades earlier -- as the head guard on Cold Mountain Penitentiary's death row.

Back in 1935 Paul Edgecomb (TOM HANKS) presides over cell block E, also known as the "green mile" for the green linoleum flooring leading from the jail cells to the electric chair where the prisoners will eventually be executed.

They include Arlen Bitterbuck (GRAHAM GREENE), an American Indian and Eduard "Del" Delacroix (MICHAEL JETER), a Cajun man who develops a special friendship with a mouse nicknamed Mr. Jingles. Things change, however, for Edgecomb and his fellow guards, Brutus "Brutal" Howell (DAVID MORSE), Dean Stanton (BARRY PEPPER) and Harry Terwilliger (JEFFREY DeMUNN) upon the arrival of two inmates.

The first, "Wild Bill" Wharton (SAM ROCKWELL), is a persistent troublemaker who agitates the guard team's lone man out, Percy Wetmore (DOUG HUTCHISON), a sadistic brat who gets away with his errant behavior due to his familial ties to the Governor. The other inmate, John Coffey (MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN), is a towering specimen of a man whose physically intimidating appearance contradicts his polite and nearly childlike demeanor, including being afraid of the dark.

Despite the rules set forth by Warden Hal Moores (JAMES CROMWELL) -- who's preoccupied with his wife, Melinda (PATRICIA CLARKSON), and her terminal illness -- to carry out every execution, Coffey's behavior causes Edgecomb to question the giant's conviction for apparently killing two girls. It's a later revelation concerning a special gift that Coffey possesses that makes the guard ponder whether he can be responsible for putting the inmate to death.

As the date of Coffey's execution draws near, Edgecomb, with the help of his loving wife, Jan (BONNIE HUNT), must do some deep soul searching while contending with Coffey, Percy and life and death on the Green Mile.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Those who are fans of Hanks, Darabont's last film, "The Shawshank Redemption," or adaptations of Stephen King novels may be interested in seeing it. In addition, the strong "buzz" that will inevitably surround this film will probably have others interested in it as well.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence, language and some sex-related material.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • TOM HANKS plays a death row guard who must contend with various inmates under his watch, including one who causes him to question his duties. Along the way he briefly uses some strong profanity and breaks some prison rules.
  • DAVID MORSE plays his fellow guard and friend who also uses some profanity and gets physical with Percy while trying to put the errant guard in his place.
  • BONNIE HUNT plays Paul's loving wife.
  • MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN plays a giant of an inmate who's sentenced to die due to apparently killing two girls. His passive and near childlike demeanor, as well as a special gift for helping others, however, causes others to question his guilt.
  • JAMES CROMWELL plays the prison warden who's preoccupied with his wife's terminal illness.
  • MICHAEL JETER plays a death row inmate, a small man who develops a special friendship with the prison's newest occupant, a special mouse.
  • DOUG HUTCHISON plays a sadistic guard who uses his familial connection to the Governor to get away with his errant behavior.
  • SAM ROCKWELL plays another death row inmate, a persistent troublemaker who uses strong profanity and attacks the guards.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity is extreme with at least 10 "f" words being used, along with other profanities and colorful phrases. Violence is extreme due to several deaths (one by gun, others by the electric chair) while other non-lethal violence also occurs.

    Some of those result in bloody or gory scenes and may be suspenseful or unsettling/disturbing to viewers (especially several electric chair scenes that are also accompanied by plenty of suspenseful and ominous music). Extreme bad attitudes come from both prisoners and a sadistic guard. Several sexual encounters between a husband and wife are heard (but not seen) and some sexually related comments are made.

    Should you still be concerned about the appropriateness of this film for anyone in your family, we suggest that you more closely examine the more detailed content listings.

    Of special note for those concerned with bright, repetitive flashes of light, some of that occurs during a thunderstorm scene.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Paul and Hal have what may be beer while grilling some food.
  • The guards grind up some sort of medication/pills that they put in Wild Bill's beverage to knock him out.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see Paul's urine stream (he has a urinary tract infection).
  • In a flashback we see some blood on a country home's floor and door.
  • We see a flashback of Coffey holding two dead girls, both of whom are somewhat bloody (as are his hands).
  • We see Paul urinating outside (in pain from the above infection) and see the stream.
  • The faces of several guards are somewhat bloody after Wild Bill attacks them.
  • We hear the sound of Paul urinating.
  • We see Wild Bill's urine stream.
  • Urine runs down Percy's leg and over his shoe.
  • We see a bloody mouse after someone has stomped down on it.
  • We see a very charred/burned face of a prisoner whose body caught on fire while being executed.
  • Percy's lip is bloody after he's punched.
  • Wild Bill lets out a very loud belch.
  • A man's bloody after being repeatedly shot (and a small pool of blood is on the floor near him).
  • We see some slightly bloody/charred marks on a person's head.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Percy is a sadistic and snotty guard who uses his familial connections to the Governor to get away with his behavior that includes purposefully botching an execution, beating other prisoners without legitimate reason, etc...
  • Wild Bill is a reported murderer and proves to be a persistent troublemaker once on death row. He also makes some racially derogatory comments.
  • The person responsible for raping and killing two girls before the story begins obviously has extreme cases of both and other prisoners on death row presumably have both for previous actions that got them sent to death row (although we never see any of that for most of them).
  • A man comments that a dog is like having "a Negro" around in that both are friendly but you never know when they're going to lose control and attack (referring to Coffey and to a family dog that attacked his son).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Additional scenes listed in the "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" categories may also be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to some viewers.
  • As Paul reads the court account of Coffey's alleged murders, we see a flashback (accompanied by suspenseful music) of the family looking for their missing little girls. After a brief manhunt, they come across Coffey holding the two dead girls, both of whom are bloody (as are his hands). A man then hits Coffey several times, thinking he's killed his two girls. The sheriff then holds his rifle/shotgun to Coffey's chin in a threatening fashion.
  • Some viewers may find several executions using the electric chair (especially a graphic one that goes horribly wrong, takes much longer than usual and results in the prisoner literally being fried) as unsettling, disturbing and/or suspenseful.
  • Coffey grabs Paul and yanks him up against his cell bars, grabbing the guard's crotch. It turns out, however, that he's helping and not hurting him in what turns out to be a supernatural scene that includes odd, gnat-like material that flies from Coffey's mouth and then disintegrates.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Rifles/Shotguns/Night sticks/Clubs: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill various people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Guns/Spears: Seen in an old Western movie on TV.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "What the f*ck," "Suck my d*ck," "Piece of sh*t," "Pissing," "I'll be damned," "Bastard," "Kiss my ass," "Horny" (sexual), "Shut up," "Idiot," "Nuts" (testicles), "Nigger" and "Sambo" (said by whites about or toward blacks), "Pissed," "Turds," "Faggot," "Screw up" and "Kiss my ass."
  • Wild Bill has some tattoos on his body.
  • Wild Bill spits in Paul's face, tries urinating on the guards and spits out food onto Brutus.
  • The guards grind up some sort of medication/pills that they put in Wild Bill's beverage to knock him out.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • The film is filled with an extreme amount of ominous and suspenseful music.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 10 "f" words (2 used with "mother," 1 used sexually), 8 "s" words, 4 slang terms using or for male genitals ("d*ck" and "knob"), 1 slang term for female genitals ("p*ssy"), 11 hells, 10 damns, 6 S.O.B.s, 6 asses (2 used with "hole"), 1 crap and 10 uses of "G-damn," 4 each of "Oh my God," "Christ" and "Jesus," 3 of "Oh God," 2 each of "For God's sakes" and "For Christ's sakes" and 1 use each of "Oh dear Jesus," "God," "Jesus Christ" and "Oh Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Referring to the Jerry Springer TV show, an old man in a nursing home states, "All they ever talk about is f*cking."
  • Finding that Paul can't sleep, his wife Jan states that she has something that will help him sleep. Paul tells her, however, that he still has something "wrong with my waterworks" (a urinary tract infection) and that he doesn't want to give it to her.
  • A man jokingly states, "Mae West sat on my face cuz I'm one horny m*therf*cker," while standing in for a prisoner.
  • A prisoner comments (about his "best time") that he had a young wife and that they "made love" every night and that she would lie there bare-breasted with him.
  • We see Wild Bill's bare butt as his clothes are changed.
  • After Paul's urinary tract infection has been miraculously cured, he comes home and lustfully looks at his wife's clothed butt (as does the camera). He then walks up and begins nuzzling her neck. After some passionate kissing, we then hear the sounds of their bed rhythmically squeaking along with Jan's pleasured sounds (but don't see anything). The next morning we still don't see anything, but hear more bed squeaking and now his pleasured sounds. We do then see him on top of her after sex (under the sheets with no nudity) and she comments "we haven't gone four times in one night since we were nineteen."
  • The next day Coffey asks if Paul's wife was pleased (about him being cured) and Paul responds, "Several times."
  • Wild Bill tells the guards that they can "shine my knob (penis) for me."
  • We see Percy looking at a small book of sexual cartoons (including a drawing of a woman with her legs around a man, etc... but all of them are only briefly seen) that he has hidden inside another book.
  • SMOKING
  • A few prisoners smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • A man sees that his two young daughters have been murdered.
  • Moores must deal with his progressively worsening ill wife.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Paul's decision about how to deal with Coffey and his special gift.
  • Death row and the prisoners on it.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Two little girls were raped and murdered before the story begins (we see their bloody bodies in flashback).
  • Percy hits Coffey in the chest with his night stick/club and then uses it to smash Del's fingers.
  • In a flashback a man hits Coffey several times, thinking he's killed his two girls. The sheriff then holds his rifle/shotgun to Coffey's chin in a threatening fashion.
  • Percy tries to find and kill a mouse.
  • Brutus grabs Percy by the shirt in a threatening fashion.
  • One of the guards slaps another man on the head.
  • A man is killed in the electric chair.
  • Wild Bill elbows one guard and then grabs another around the neck with his handcuffs and bashes his head into a wall. When Paul tries to intervene, Will Bill knees him in the crotch. Brutus eventually hits him with a nightstick/club to stop him after Paul holds his gun on the prisoner.
  • Coffey grabs Paul and yanks him up against his cell bars, grabbing the guard's crotch. It turns out, however, that he's helping and not hurting him in what turns out to be a supernatural scene.
  • The guards blast Wild Bill with a fire hose.
  • Wild Bill grabs someone by the neck up against the jail bars.
  • A person stomps down on a mouse, severely injuring it.
  • Brutus grabs Percy, and Paul then pushes the guard down into a chair.
  • Another prisoner is executed, but due to a purposefully botched setup, the man is zapped for a long time, his body convulsing from the electricity and flames breaking out on his body and under his death hood as he screams (this goes on for what seems like several minutes).
  • Brutus punches Percy.
  • The guards, including Brutus, grab Percy and inflict some pain on him.
  • As Coffey goes through his magical/supernatural process in several scenes, various hanging lights in the prison cell break.
  • Awakened at night, Hal aims his rifle at Paul and Brutus and then acts as if he's going to shoot Coffey.
  • Paul slugs Percy.
  • Coffey grabs Percy by the throat and lifts him off the floor.
  • A man repeatedly shoots another man, killing him, before others tackle him.
  • We see a flashback to the killer verbally threatening to kill the two sisters.
  • Another prisoner is executed.



  • Reviewed November 22, 1999 / Posted December 10, 1999

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