The Green Mile
The Green Mile poster
Directed by Frank Darabont
Produced by Frank Darabont
David Valdes

Tom Hanks
David Morse
Bonnie Hunt
Michael Clarke Duncan
James Cromwell
Michael Jeter
Graham Greene
Doug Hutchison
Sam Rockwell
Barry Pepper
Jeffrey DeMunn
Patricia Clarkson
Harry Dean Stanton

Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography David Tattersall
Editing by Richard Francis-Bruce
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release December 10, 1999
Running time 188 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $60 million
Gross revenue $290,701,374

The Green Mile is a 1999 American drama film directed by Frank Darabont 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 old Paul Edgecomb. The film tells the story of Paul's life as a death row corrections officer during the Great Depression in the United States, and the supernatural events he witnessed.

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for Michael Clarke Duncan, Best Picture, Best Sound, and Best Adapted Screenplay.


In a Louisiana nursing home in 1999, Paul Edgecomb begins to cry while watching the film Top Hat. His elderly friend Elaine shows concern for him, and Paul tells her that the film reminded him of when he was a prison officer in charge of death row inmates at Cold Mountain Penitentiary during the summer of 1935. The scene shifts to 1935, where Paul works with fellow guards Brutus "Brutal" Howell, Harry Terwilliger, and Dean Stanton.

One day, John Coffey, a giant black man convicted of raping and killing two young white girls, arrives on death row. However, he is shy, soft-spoken, and emotional. John reveals extraordinary powers by healing Paul's urinary tract infection and resurrecting a mouse. Later, he heals the terminally ill wife of Warden Hal Moores. When John is asked to explain his power, he merely says that he "took it back."

Percy Wetmore, a sadist with a fierce temper, has recently begun working in the death row inmates block; his fellow guards dislike him, but cannot get rid of him because of his family connections to the governor. He demands to manage the execution of Eduard Delacroix, promising that afterward, he will transfer to an administrative post at a mental hospital. An agreement is made, but Percy then deliberately sabotages the execution: Instead of wetting the sponge used to conduct electricity and make executions quick and effective, he leaves it dry, causing the execution to malfunction dramatically.

Meanwhile, a violent prisoner named "Wild Bill" Wharton has arrived, to be executed for multiple murders committed during a robbery. At one point he seizes John's arm, and John psychically senses that Wharton is also responsible for the crime for which John was convicted and sentenced to death. John "takes back" the sickness in Hal's wife and regurgitates it into Percy, who then shoots Wharton to death and falls into a state of permanent catatonia. Percy is then admitted to Briar Ridge Mental Hospital as a patient rather than an administrator. In the wake of these events, Paul interrogates John, who says he "punished them bad men" and offers to show Paul what he saw. John takes Paul's hand and says he has to give Paul "a part of himself" in order for Paul to see what really happened to the girls.

Paul asks John what he should do, if he should open the door and let John walk away. John tells him that there is too much pain in the world, to which he is sensitive, and says he is "rightly tired of the pain" and is ready to rest. For his last request on the night before his execution, John watches the film Top Hat. When John is put in the electric chair, he asks Paul not to put the traditional black hood over his head because he is afraid of the dark. Paul agrees, shakes his hand, and John is executed.

As an elderly Paul finishes his story, he notes that he requested a transfer to a youth detention center, where he spent the remainder of his career. Elaine questions his statement that he had a fully grown son at the time, and Paul explains that he was 44 years old at the time of John's execution and that he is now 108. This is apparently a side effect of John giving a "part of himself" to Paul. Mr. Jingles, Del's mouse resurrected by John, is also still alive — but Paul believes his outliving all of his relatives and friends (including Elaine, who is shown to have died at the end of the movie) to be a punishment from God for having John executed, and wonders how long it will be before his own death.


  • Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb
  • Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey
  • Bonnie Hunt as Jan Edgecomb
  • David Morse as Brutus "Brutal" Howell
  • Doug Hutchison as Percy Wetmore
  • Sam Rockwell as "Wild Bill" Wharton
  • Michael Jeter as Eduard "Del" Delacroix
  • James Cromwell as Warden Hal Moores
  • Patricia Clarkson as Melinda Moores
  • Barry Pepper as Dean Stanton
  • Jeffrey DeMunn as Harry Terwilliger
  • Brent Briscoe as Bill Dodge
  • Harry Dean Stanton as Toot-Toot
  • Dabbs Greer as Old Paul Edgecomb
  • Gary Sinise as Burt Hammersmith
  • Graham Greene as Arlen Bitterbuck
  • William Sadler as Klaus Detterick
  • Bill McKinney as Jack Van Hay, the executioner.
  • Eve Brent as Elaine Connelly

External links