Dead Man Walking

Synopsis: A convicted murderer on Death Row and the nun who befriends him. Through the portrayal of finely drawn characters and their interactions as the days, hours, and minutes tick down to the condemned man's execution, powerful emotions are unleashed. While Matthew Poncelet and Sister Prejean desperately try to gain a stay of execution from the governor or the courts, scenes are intercut from the brutal crime, gradually revealing the truth about the events that transpired. In addition to her temporal help, the nun also tries to reach out spiritually and assist as a guide to salvation.
Genre: Crime, Drama
Director(s): Tim Robbins
Production: Gramercy Pictures
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 19 nominations.
 
IMDB:
7.5
Metacritic:
80
Rotten Tomatoes:
95%
R
Year:
1995
122 min
346 Views

- Hi, Sister.

- Hi, Billie Jean. How you doing?

It's the late Sister Helen.

I've got a note from my mama, ldella.

Do you need a new notebook?

- Thanks.

- How about you, Melvin?

The resident council wants us

at their meeting tomorrow.

- Can you be there at 7:00?

- Yes.

- New poetry books.

- Your poem got all smudged.

Smudged?

Sister Helen, I got

another letter from that guy.

- Which guy is that, Luis?

- Angola inmate, death row.

- Oh, yeah.

- Could you write to him?

Sounds like he could use

some friendly words.

- I'll come up after the class.

- Okay.

- It got smudged.

- You can still read it.

"There's a woman standing there

in the dark.

And she's got big arms to hold you.

But you won't feel

those arms that hug...

... till you can see her face.

So you stand there waiting for

the light at the end of the road. "

Idella, that is so fine.

Thank you.

"My lawyer seems to have disappeared,

so I need help on the legal end.

But if you can't do that,

I'd take a kind word or a visit.

Gets real quiet here sometimes. "

None of these guys on the row

can afford an attorney for appeals.

You can imagine the calls

we get from death row inmates...

- ...begging us to find attorneys.

- Who'll work for free.

Right. These petitions

take hours to prepare.

Attorneys aren't exactly

lining up for the job.

"Dear Sister Helen,

thank you for writing to me.

I'm writing from my home.:

my 6- by-8-foot cell.

I'm in here 23 hours a day.

We don't work on death row.

We're special here. They keep us

away from the general population.

We're the elite because we gonna fry.

It's hard not to get soft here.

I press my footlocker, lift it,

to try to get my muscles in shape.

It's hard not to get fat.

Rice, potatoes, pancakes, beans.

Sometimes I feel like

a sow on a farm...

... that's being fattened up

for a Christmas slaughter.

I dreamt once that I was

about to be fried in the chair...

...and then God come into my cell

with a chef's hat on.

He rolled me around in bread crumbs,

licking His chops and all.

Maybe I'm a weirdo

to have dreams like that...

...but your mind does funny things

when you're surrounded...

...by people that want to kill you.

Anyway, thanks for writing.

I don't get many letters

or visitors either.

No one in my family seems able to make

the trip out here. I understand.

It's a long drive from Slidell. "

- Good morning.

- Good morning, Father.

- Sister...

- Helen Prejean. Nice to meet you.

- Have a seat.

- Thank you.

- Have you been in a prison before?

- No, Father.

Sister Clement and I sang at the

New Orleans Juvenile Detention Center.

We sang "Kumbaya,"

and the boys really liked it.

They made up

their own verses, singing:

Someone's escaping, my Lord

The guards made us sing

a different song.

Where is your habit?

Our Sisters haven't worn

the habit for 20 years.

You are aware of the papal request

regarding nuns' garments, aren't you?

I believe the pope said

"distinctive clothing," not habits.

Well, I'm sure you'll interpret it in

your own way. Whatever's convenient.

Matthew Poncelet.

I remember him from the news.

Him and another fella...

...shot two children in the back

of the head on Lover's Lane.

Raped the girl.

Stabbed her several times.

Do you know what you're getting into?

So, what is it, Sister?

Morbid fascination?

Bleeding-heart sympathy?

He wrote me and asked me to come.

There is no romance here, Sister.

No Jimmy Cagney

"I've been wrongly accused.

If I only had someone

who believed in me" nonsense.

They are all con men.

And they will take advantage

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Helen Prejean

Helen Prejean, C.S.J. (born April 21, 1939, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana) is a Roman Catholic sister, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph based in New Orleans, and a leading American advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. Sr. Prejean has founded the groups SURVIVE, to help families of victims of murder and related crimes. She served as the National Chairperson of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty from 1993 to 1995. She helped establish The Moratorium Campaign, seeking an end to executions and conducting education on the death penalty. She is known for her best-selling book, Dead Man Walking (1993), based on her experiences with two convicts on Death Row for whom she served as spiritual adviser before their executions. In her book, she explored the effects of the death penalty on everyone involved. The book was adapted as a 1995 movie of the same name, starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. It was also adapted as an opera, first produced in 2000 by the San Francisco Opera. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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"Dead Man Walking" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 23 Oct. 2019. <https://www.scripts.com/script/dead_man_walking_6494>.

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