The Green Mile (1999)

The Green Mile (1999)

Taglines: Miracles do happen.

Director Frank Darabont, who made an acclaimed feature film debut with The Shawshank Redemption (1994), based on a Stephen King novel set in a prison, returns for a second feature, based on King’s 1996 serialized novel set in a prison. In 1935, inmates at the Cold Mountain Correctional Facility call Death Row “The Green Mile” because of the dark green linoleum that tiles the floor.

Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) is the head guard on the Green Mile when a new inmate is brought into his custody: John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), convicted of the sadistic murder of two young girls. Despite his size and the fearsome crimes for which he’s serving time, Coffey seems to be a kind and well-mannered person who behaves more like an innocent child than a hardened criminal.

Soon Edgecomb and two of his fellow guards, Howell (David Morse) and Stanton Barry Pepper), notice something odd about Coffey: he’s able to perform what seem to be miracles of healing among his fellow inmates, leading them to wonder just what sort of person he could be, and if he could have committed the crimes with which he was charged.

The Green Mile (1999) - Tom Hanks

The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy crime drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and adapted 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, with supporting roles by David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, and James Cromwell.

The film also features Dabbs Greer in his final film, as the older Paul Edgecomb. It tells the story of Paul’s life as a death row corrections officer during the U.S. Great Depression, and the supernatural events he witnessed. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Michael Clarke Duncan, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The official film soundtrack, Music from the Motion Picture The Green Mile, was released on December 19, 1999 by Warner Bros. It contains 37 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 Green Mile (1999)

About the Story

In a Louisiana assisted-living home in 1999, Paul Edgecomb begins to cry while watching the film Top Hat. His companion Elaine becomes concerned, and Paul explains to her that the film reminded him of the events of 1935, which took place when he was a prison officer, in charge of death row, what they refer to as the “Green Mile”.

In 1935, Paul supervises officers Brutus Howell, Dean Stanton, Harry Terwilliger, and Percy Wetmore at Cold Mountain Penitentiary. Paul is suffering from a severe bladder infection and receives John Coffey, a physically imposing but mentally challenged black man, into his custody. John had been sentenced to death after being convicted of raping and murdering two white girls.

One of the other inmates is a Native-American named Arlen Bitterbuck, who is charged with murder and is the first to be executed. Percy demonstrates a severe sadistic streak, but, as the nephew of Louisiana’s First Lady, he is beyond reproach. He is particularly abusive with inmate Eduard Delacroix; he breaks Del’s fingers with his baton, steps on a pet mouse named Mr. Jingles, which Del had adopted, repeatedly calls him by a gay slur, and ultimately sabotages his execution by failing to soak the sponge used to conduct electricity to Del’s head; Del dies screaming in pain.

John begins to demonstrate supernatural powers; he cures Paul’s bladder infection, resurrects Mr. Jingles, and heals Melinda Moores, wife of the prison’s chief warden, of a brain tumor. This last affliction he releases into Percy, who under its influence shoots another prisoner, mass murderer William Wharton, dead.

Wharton had from the moment of his arrival been a troublemaker; he assaulted the guards as he was being escorted into the block, made mischief on two occasions later which caused Paul to order him restrained in the block’s padded cell, groped Percy, racially insulted John, and revealed psychically to John that he is, in fact, responsible for the crime for which John was condemned. John then reveals the story psychically to Paul, and, when doing so, he also releases his supernatural energy into Paul. Meanwhile, Percy is committed to the insane asylum.

The Green Mile Movie Poster (1999)

The Green Mile (1999)

Directed by: Frank Darabont
Starring: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper, Patricia Clarkson, Harry Dean Stanton
Screenplay by: Frank Darabont
Production Design by: Terence Marsh
Cinematography by: David Tattersall
Film Editing by: Richard Francis-Bruce
Costume Design by: Karyn Wagner
Set Decoration by: Michael Seirton
Art Direction by: William Cruse
Music by: Thomas Newman
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and some sex-related material.
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: December 10, 1999