1996 dramatic novel by Stephen King. Originally released as a Serial Novel in six installments. Eventually made into a movie in 1999, directed by Frank Darabont, who also directed The Shawshank Redemption, and starring Tom Hanks. And like Shawshank, it was an Oscar charmer, if not a winner.The year was 1935. John Coffey, a Gentle Giant black man, has been condemned to die by the electric chair for the raping and killing of two young girls. What follows is a supernatural journey that not only reveals Coffey's wondrous powers, but proves he didn't do the crime. Sadly he still does the time, but the journey toward Old Sparky changes the compassionate lead guard's life forever.
The movie provides examples of:
Adoring the Pests: This movie features Mr. Jingles / Steamboat Willy, a mouse found running around the death row cells. They decide not to kill him, aside from the Jerk Ass Percy, because of his unusual behavior: fearless in the face of humans, accepts food only from the regular guards, and his searching of the cells as if he's awaiting for somebody. Mr. Jingles adopts Eduard Delacroix when he arrives and entertains all with his spool fetching trick, even performing a show for the guards on another block.
Age Lift: The actor who plays Percy, who is 21 in the novel, was 39 at the time. Also, Wild Bill was 19 in the novel, and is played by a 31 year old in the movie.
Anachronism Stew: The film is set in 1935, but Louisiana did not start using the electric chair to execute criminals until 1940.
Beware the Nice Ones: Brutal, despite his nickname, is a friendly, kind-hearted man who cares about the men on Death Row and is determined to treat Them with respect and dignity. But it's not a good idea to piss him off as Percy does.
Paul and the other guards when Percy shoots Wild Bill.
An interesting case with Paul at the end of the movie. While he doesn't actually yell out no, the silence right before he has to execute John pretty much conveys this sense
Blackmail: Percy is on the receiving end of this, regarding his failure to stop Wharton and his sabotaging Del's execution to cover up being locked in the padded cell when they take Coffey to Hal's wife.
The Danza: Averted; Harry Dean Stanton was in the movie but played neither Harry Terwilliger nor Dean Stanton.
Dirty Coward: Percy, especially in his freezing up during Wharton's attack on the other guards.
The Drifter: John Coffey implied that he was this his whole life prior to being incarcerated.
Four Temperament Ensemble: Paul is choleric, Harry is phlegmatic, Dean is melancholic, Percy is sanguine and Brutal is leukine.
Large Ham: Wild Bill, who would be pretty entertaining if he weren't such a disgusting, monstrous character.
Last Request: Coffey receives his choice of dinner on the day of his execution as is standard, and Paul begs him to ask for other things, including a chance of escape to which he and the other guards would gladly turn the other way. John assures them that he is ready to die. Even earlier in the film, John tells them that he's never seen a "flicker show", so a projector is set up and he is allowed to watch the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film Top Hat.
John: <watching, entranced> "They's angels... Angels, just like up in heaven..!"
Pragmatic Adaptation: Some of the more rational explanations in the book are turned into supernatural explanations in the movie. Instead of Paul figuring out who the actual killer was on his own, John Coffey gave him the information through his touch.
Precision F-Strike: "What in the blue fuck was that?!" From James Cromwell, of all people, after Delacroix's horribly botched execution.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: After John MindRapes Percy into killing William, the good guys say they understand why he did it to Percy, but ask why he did that to William. They understand fully after The Reveal, but why did it take that long? William was established as already on death row for murder. They knew he'd done worse than Percy, just not on-screen.
They're specifically asking why John did it to Wharton. And they'd probably be right to ask: In the book it was mentioned that the two men didn't pass more than two dozen words past each other their entire time on the Mile, and half of those were when Wharton grabbed him.
Psychopathic Manchild: Wharton (type C) has an 8-year-old's sense of humor, but can be quite cunning, and is a rapist pedophile.
Scully Box: To make 6'5'' Michael Clarke Duncan taller. Specifically, to tower over David Morse (Brutal, 6'4'') and James Cromwell (Warden Moores); at 6'7'', Cromwell is one of the tallest actors in Hollywood, but you wouldn't know it from this movie.
Paul Edgecombe: Percy, they're moving house in the infirmary. Why don't you go see if they could use some help?
Percy Whetmore: They got all the men they need.
Paul Edgecombe: Why don't you go make sure?
Paul Edgecombe: I don't care where you go, as long as it's not here at this moment.
Who Wants to Live Forever?: Paul ends up outliving all his family because he receives part of the life force of the death row inmate John's healing power. He believes this is punishment from God for executing John. He's not immortal, though. Death will catch up to him eventually, but not for a very, very long time as seen with the mouse Mr. Jingles.