The Green Mile (film)

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German title The Green Mile
Original title The Green Mile
The Green Mile logo.jpg
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1999
length 189 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
JMK 14
Director Frank Darabont
script Frank Darabont
production Frank Darabont,
David Valdes
music Thomas Newman
camera David Tattersall
cut Richard Francis-Bruce

The Green Mile is a 1999 published literary adaptation of the novel series of the same name by Stephen King . Frank Darabont directed the four Academy Award-nominated film based on his own script with Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan in the lead roles. The film opened in German cinemas on February 10, 2000.


In 1998 the senior Paul Edgecomb lives in a retirement home. While watching community TV, he suddenly starts crying when the movie I'll Dance into Your Heart is shown and Fred Astaire sings the song Cheek to Cheek with Ginger Rogers . Paul tells his sympathetic roommate and friend Elaine why this film touches him so much. His memories go back to the 1930s. At the time, Paul was the head of Death Row at Cold Mountain State Prison, known as The Green Mile because of the green linoleum flooring . Paul had the task of guarding those sentenced to death together with his colleagues and executing their execution on the electric chair .

John Coffey is a new prisoner who is transferred to death row. Coffey is a six-foot-tall, extremely muscular African American who was sentenced to death for the rape and murder of two little white girls. He is not particularly intelligent and only speaks in short sentences. He seems naive and is very afraid of the dark. Paul soon realizes that Coffey's outward appearance does not reflect his true nature. In fact, he is just a meek giant and Paul very quickly doubts that he could have committed the acts he was accused of.

John Coffey has the supernatural gift of freeing animals and people from their ailments and diseases. He first uses it to free Paul from a painful cystitis . This makes Paul very thoughtful, as he firmly believes that God would never give such a gift to a murderer.

When John Coffey brings back to life the mouse Mister Jingles - a mascot of the death row inmate Delacroix - which the sadistic guard Percy Wetmore had deliberately trampled on, the other prison guards also witness his supernatural gift. John Coffey can heal people and animals. In a sense, he sucks everything sick out of their bodies as “bad energy” and then lets them fly out of his mouth as a kind of black swarm of insects. The guards now recognize that John Coffey cannot be a bad person and they trust him, also because he never uses violence against anyone or even threatens them.

Because the prison director's wife has an inoperable brain tumor , the guards evacuate Coffey, believing that he is the only help to the woman. Coffey heals her too, but this time he retains the evil energy he sucked out of the woman.

Shortly afterwards, the guard Percy Wetmore walks past Coffey's cell. This seizes him and transfers the evil energy of the prison director's wife to him. During the last execution, Percy Wetmore had deliberately not moistened the sponges that carry the electric current on the delinquent's head, thus bringing an unnecessarily painful end to the death row inmate Eduard Delacroix. Percy Wetmore then falls into catatonia and shoots the psychopathic prisoner Wharton (called: "Billy the Kid").

After the crime, Percy Wetmore is admitted to the exact same psychiatric institution to which he wanted to be transferred under pressure from his disgruntled colleagues. John Coffey explains to Paul that he did this to "punish the bad men." He takes Edgecomb's hand and uses telepathy to show him the memory of the actual incident, namely that the mentally disturbed prisoner Wharton, shot by Wetmore, is the real rapist and murderer of the two little girls. Coffey had tried to bring the two girls back to life, but failed because people hurried over him immediately, accused him of the act and thus prevented him from saving the girls. Since he was found alone with the dead girls in his arms and no one knew anything about his gift, he was mistaken for the murderer.

Paul Edgecomb is desperate to discover this truth, and he makes an offer to John Coffey to simply fire him arbitrarily. But John Coffey refuses. Coffey, whose real age remains unknown, longs for death because he can no longer bear the suffering in the world and the way people interact with one another. He is desperate and cannot understand why the world seems to be ruled by anger and hatred.

As a last wish, he is granted a film screening that he has never seen in his life. The guards arranged a private screening for him in the execution room. The latest Fred Astaire film I'll dance into your heart (English title: Top Hat ) with the famous song Cheek to Cheek will be shown . The next day John Coffey is executed. This will be the last execution for Paul Edgecomb and his colleagues as they will all request transfers as soon as possible.

Paul Edgecomb cannot forget and forgive himself for having killed “one of God's true miracles”. He and the mouse Mister Jingles , reanimated by John Coffey, lead an unnaturally long life. He is already 108 years old and the mouse Mister Jingles is over 60 years old, 30 times longer than its natural lifespan. In the last few sequences of the film, you can see the mouse dying next to a matchbox lined with cotton wool, which it used to house.

Paul now sees his long life as a punishment because he ultimately has to witness the death of his girlfriend Elaine and he keeps wondering how long he will have to live with his guilt as a human being when John Coffey himself is a mouse that is under natural Living conditions only reached an age of two to three years at the most, could enable such an excessively long life.


“With an excellent cast - above all Tom Hanks as supervisor - Frank Darabont succeeded in another sensitive, calmly narrated film adaptation of a novel by bestselling author Stephen King after ' The Condemned '. Here he builds up a dense atmosphere around death row, impressively shows the life of a small group that is constantly confronted with death. Thanks to the actors, the equipment and the camera, this is an all-round successful work despite small inconsistencies in the story. "

“The first half [...] goes by with banal descriptions of everyday life and roughly carved typifications. Even if the episodic rubbing of good and bad never stops, it is not exactly necessary for an epic staging in a confined space. The long-awaited turn of the story comes when the black giant John Coffey (a mimic force of nature: Michael Clarke Duncan) makes use of powers that shake the bittersweet balance of life and death in the execution wing. [...] The coming conflicts can be called existential and spiritual - but when the buzzing of the violins, indulging in slow motion and the patented sorrowful expression of Mr. Hanks aim full force ahead at the tear glands, then only one word comes to mind: noble kitsch . "

“Director Frank Darabont, who already convinced with 'The Condemned' based on a King model, offers 'The Green Mile' cinema between aspiration and entertainment with atmospheric, dense, intense images. The excellent cast succeeds in confidently covering up the religious pathos. In the end, the excellent script puts the story together surprisingly. "

"The extremely broad-based film successfully defies the hectic dramaturgy of today's Hollywood, but does not understand how to use the metaphysical component for anything more than emotional emotion."


  • The actor of John Coffey, Michael Clarke Duncan, was with his height of 1.96 m not significantly taller than the actors of the prison guards Tom Hanks (1.85 m), David Morse (1.93 m) and shorter than James Cromwell ( 2.01 m). Among other things, different camera angles were used to create the illusion of John Coffey as a giant.
  • Soothing music is played over the loudspeakers in the old people's home, this is Charmaine von Mantovani . This piece can also be heard in the sanatorium of Eine flew over the cuckoo's nest .
  • The age ratings for this film vary greatly from country to country. For example, it is approved for ages 12 and over in Germany, 17 in the USA and 18 and over in Great Britain, for example.
  • In this film, Tom Hanks reunites with fellow actors Gary Sinise , who appeared in Forrest Gump Lt. Dan Taylor played, and Barry Pepper , who played the sniper Private Jackson in Saving Private Ryan .

Voice actor

The voice actors for the German version:


Academy Awards 2000

Golden Globe Awards 2000

Screen Actors Guild Awards 2000

Saturn Awards 2000

Satellite Awards 1999

The German Film and Media Assessment FBW in Wiesbaden awarded the film the rating "valuable".


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The Green Mile (1999) . IMDb . Retrieved January 12, 2016.
  2. Age rating for The Green Mile . Youth Media Commission .
  3. The Green Mile on
  4. The Green Mile on
  5. The Green Mile on
  6. ^ The Green Mile. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  7. The Green Mile. Retrieved September 19, 2015 .
  8. The Green Mile on fbw-filmb