Warning! Spoilers- The Green Mile

The Green Mile is a 1999 film based on the novel by Steven King, set in Louisiana 1935. Tom Hanks plays a guard who forms a life-affirming bond with a condemned black prisoner, on death row for murdering two young girls.


In an assisted living home in 1999, Paul Edgecomb begins to cry while watching the film Top Hat. His companion Elaine becomes concerned, and Paul explained that it reminded of the events that happened in 1935. At the time Paul was a prison officer, in charge of death row. A place that was referred 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 was sentenced to death after being accused of raping and murdering two white young girls.

Another inmate, Arlen Bitterbuck, a Native-American who was charged for murder and is the first to be executed. Percy -one of the guards- but as nephew to Louisiana's first lady, he gets away with it; He is rather abusive with Edward Delacroix; he breaks Del's fingers with his baton, steps on a pet mouse named Mr Jingles, which Del had adopted and calls him by a gay slur, and sabotaged his execution by failing to soak one of the sponge used to conduct electricity to Del's head; Del dies screaming in pain. John begins to demonstrate supernatural powers; he cures Johns bladder Infection, resurrects Mr Jingles, and heals Melinda Moores, wife of the prison chiefs warden, of a brain tumour. This last infection he releases into Percy, who under the influence kills another convict. Mass murderer William Wharton.

Will from the moment of his arrival had been a troublemaker; he assaulted guards while he was being escorted into the block, made mischief twice which got him restrained in a padded cell, he groped Percy resulting in the latter wetting himself. William Wharton also racially insulted John, and revealed physically to John that he is, in fact, responsible for the crime that John was condemned for. John then physically reveals the story to Paul, by doing so releases his supernatural energy into Paul. Meanwhile Percy is committed to the insane asylum. Though distraught about killing an innocent man Paul finds that John does in fact wish to die as he views the world as a cruel place.

Mentioning that he had never seen a film before, John watches Top Hat with the guards as a last request. John Coffey is executed that night but requests not to wear the customary hood as he is afraid of the dark. Paul concludes his story by telling Elaine that John's execution was the last that he and Brutus supervised; they both took jobs in the juvenile system. Elaine realises that, since he had a grown son in 1935, Paul must be older than he looks. Paul reveals that he is 108 years old.

Not only is he still alive, so is Del's mouse, Mr Jingles. Paul then muses that if Johns powers could make a mouse live as long as Mr Jingle has, how much longer does he himself have left?


The film has many negative and low scores however it has ranked lower than 100 on three seperate ranking lists.

* #95 Best Movie of 1999

*#8 Most discussed movie of 1999

*#8 Most shared movie of 1999 And 4 Oscar nominations including best picture.

This was the first time for me watching this film although I didn't see the first 10 minutes. I enjoyed it. I was on the edge of my seat for parts and tearing up for others. This was a very touching and beautiful film that makes us question the death penalty and those who are innocent. The film cleverly manipulates the emotions and only those who are cold hearted will remain dry-eyed or unshaken while watching the harrowing execution scenes. I also had teary eyes towards the end as well as the urge to walk away with the grimly parts. While watching the film with my mum, who has seen the film many times before, we ended up using quite a fair share of tissues. I also screamed in both shock and sadness at the murder of Mr Jingles. Showing the multiple range of the emotions the movie makes you feel.

By analysing and dissecting the emotions I felt while watching the film I am able to find the ways to pull at those emotions in others by incorporating it my work by using the same methods and ways that would achieve the same effect.

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© 2017 by Morgan Burtenshaw.