The Green Mile (1999)


gm“I guess sometimes the past just catches up with you, whether you want it to or not.” – Old Paul Edgecomb

Number of Times Seen – Too many to count (Theater, DVD, 6 May 2013)

Brief Synopsis – The miraculous story of the guards and prisoners on death row in a Southern prison in the 1930’s

My Take on it – In the late 80’s and early 90’s , I read a lot of Stephen Kings novels and my favorites were always the ones with little to no supernatural depth to them.  I read The Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil and Needful Things even before the movies came out. The idea that stories about terror don’t have to include supernatural monsters, but can include realistic monsters is much more appealing to me.

The Green Mile is a great story that includes one element of supernaturality, but seems as if it could actually occur in our known world.  What has always made Stephen King such a great writer is his emphasis on characters and the depth of his exposition.  This is also another reason why his books are so long and why it’s difficult to adapt his books to movies instead of mini-series.  Frank Darabont did an amazing job of adapting this book as he did with Shawshank. He really knows how to adapt difficult material. As a director, he has made 4 movies, 3 are Stephen King adaptations {This one, Shawshank Redemption (1994)  and The Mist (2007)} that he himself wrote the screenplays besides directing. His 4th movie was The Majestic (2001) which was a love story to the golden age of cinema.  I also really enjoy Darabont’s TV show The Walking Dead (which unfortunately, he is no longer a part of).

This movie has a great cast; Tom Hanks, Bonnie Hunt, David Morse, James Cromwell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Michael Jeter, Patricia Clarkson, Graham Greene, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper , Doug Hutchinson, and Jeffrey DeMunn (who is in all 4 of Darabont’s movies and The Walking Dead).

Movie is over 3 hours, but flows so well, you don’t even realize it.

Looking back, this movie is now dearer to my heart than the ultimate Oscar winner, American Beauty (1999) and is better than the other 3 Oscar Best Picture contenders [The Insider (1999), The Sixth Sense (1999) and The Cider House Rules (1999)].  Back then, although I supported American Beauty, The Green Mile was a close second. Subsequently, my opinion has changed and if they were to go head-to-head today, I would choose this over American Beauty in a second

Bottom Line – Great movie, excellent adaptation of a Stephen King book. Hanks, Clarke Duncan and the rest of the cast are all great. Highly recommended

Rating – Oscar Worthy

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20 thoughts on “The Green Mile (1999)

  1. I’m still sad that Michael Clarke Duncan died recently, he was incredible here, and left such a mark…the movie itself was incredible. I expected it to be a letdown after Shawshank since the bar was raised SO HIGH, but it really was just as excellent in some ways. Nice review!

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