The Green Mile

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We had the electric chair — "Old Sparky," we called it.

The Green Mile (1999), written by Stephen King (novel) and Frank Darabont (screenplay), directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan.

Paul Edgecomb[edit]

I think about all of us. Walking our own Green Mile, each in our own time.
Why, they's angels. Angels, just like up in heaven.
  • I guess sometimes the past just catches up with you, whether you want it to or not. Usually, death row was called "the last mile"; we called ours "the Green Mile" — the floor was the color of faded limes. We had the electric chair — "Old Sparky," we called it. Oh, I've lived a lot of years, Ellie, but 1935 — that takes the prize. That year, I had the worst urinary infection of my life, and that was also the year of John Coffey and the two dead girls.
  • What happens on the Mile, stays on the Mile. Always has.
  • Goddamn it, Percy, get the hell off my block!
  • [about Percy] The man is mean and careless and stupid, and that's a bad combination in a place like this. Sooner or later, he's gonna get somebody hurt, or worse.
  • A big man is ripping your ears off, Percy — I'd do as he says.
  • [grabs Percy, who is trying to turn away from the botched execution he caused] No, you watch, you son-of-a-bitch!
  • I've done some things in my life I'm not proud of, but this is the first time I've ever felt in real danger of hell.
  • Elaine — you'll die, too. And my curse is knowing that I'll be there to see it. It's my atonement, you see — it's my punishment for lettin' John Coffey ride the lightning. For killing a miracle of God. You'll be gone like all the others, and I'll have to stay. Oh, I'll die eventually; of that, I'm sure. I have no illusions of immortality. But I will have wished for death long before Death finds me. In truth, I wish for it already.
  • We each owe a death — there are no exceptions. But, oh God, sometimes the Green Mile seems so long.
  • Time takes it all, whether you want it to or not. Time takes it all, bears it away, and in the end there is only darkness. Sometimes we find others in that darkness, and sometimes we lose them there again.
  • I think about all of us. Walking our own Green Mile, each in our own time.
  • On the day of my judgement, when I stand before God, and he asks me why... did I ... did I kill one of his true ... miracles... what am I going to say? That it was my job? It was my job...

John Coffey[edit]

I'm tired, boss. Tired of bein' on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. I'm tired of never having me a buddy to be with, to tell me where we's going to or coming from, or why. Mostly, I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world every day. There's too much of it — it's like pieces of glass in my head, all the time. Can you understand?
Heaven ... I'm in heaven … heaven …
  • John Coffey, just like the drink, only not spelled the same.
  • You be still, now ... you be so quiet and so still.
  • I'm tired, boss. Tired of bein' on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. I'm tired of never having me a buddy to be with, to tell me where we's going to or coming from, or why. Mostly, I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world every day. There's too much of it — it's like pieces of glass in my head, all the time. Can you understand?
  • He killed them with their love. That's how it is every day, all over the world.
  • Heaven … I'm in heaven … heaven …

William "Wild Bill" Wharton[edit]

  • Bar-be-QUE! Me and you! Stinky-pinky, fue-fue-fue! Weren't Billy, Jilly, Hilly, or Pa! It was a French-fried Cajun named Delacroix! WOO!
  • All I wanted me was a little corn bread, you motherfuckers! All I wanted me was a little corn bread!
  • You can come in here on your legs, but you'll go out on your backs. Billy the Kid gonna guarantee ya that.

Percy Wetmore[edit]

  • Dead man walking, we got a dead man walking here.
  • Adios, Chief. Drop us a card from Hell. Let us know if it's hot enough, you motherfuckin' sonavabitch.

Dialogue[edit]

I do not see God putting a...gift like that, in the hands of a man who could kill a child.
On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I...did I kill one of his true miracles — what am I gonna say? That it was my job?
He...infected you with life?
Old Man [Disgusted at watching people arguing on The Jerry Springer Show at the retirement home]: Why do we always watch this stuff?
Old Woman: It's interesting.
Old Man: "Interesting"? A bunch of inbred trailer trash? All they ever talk about is fucking.

Paul: Your name is John Coffey?
John Coffey: Yessir, boss. Like the drink, only not spelled the same.
Paul: Oh, you can spell, can you?
John Coffey: Just my name, boss. J-O...

[Rehearsing Bitterbuck's execution, with Toot-Toot standing in for him]
Brutal: Arlen Bitterbuck, you have been condemned to die in the electric chair by a jury of your peers, sentence imposed by a judge in good standing in this state. Do you have anything to say before sentence is carried out?
Toot-Toot: Yeah. I want a fried chicken dinner with gravy on the taters, and I want to shit in your hat, and I got to have Mae West sit on my face 'cause I'm one horny motherfucker!

Paul: [After John enters his cell for the first time] Percy, they're moving house in the infirmary. Why don't you go see if they could use some help?
Percy Wetmore: Well, they got all the men they need.
Paul: Why don't you just go and make sure?
Percy: Uh-uh.
Paul: I don't care where you go, Percy, just as long as it's not here at this very moment. [Percy nods and walks down the Mile; Del grins at him as he walks by, so Percy smacks Del's fingers with a nightstick and makes Del scream in pain]
Eduard Delacroix: [crying] God, he bust my finger!
Percy: I wiped that grin off ya shit-poke face, didn't I?!
Paul: Goddamn it, Percy, get the hell off my block! [Percy looks at him, nods and leaves]

[Coffey seizes Paul's groin for a few moments, then spews a mysterious insect-like cloud, which dissipates overhead]
Paul: What did you just do to me?
John Coffey: I helped it. Didn't I help it? I just took it back, is all. Awful tired now, boss...dog-tired.

[The day after Coffey cures Paul's urinary infection, Paul brings him some cornbread]
Paul: It's from my missus. She wanted to...thank you.
John Coffey: Thank me for what?
Paul: Well, you know. [looks around, then whispers] For helping me.
John Coffey: Helpin' you with what?
Paul: You know. [gestures surreptitiously to his groin]
John Coffey: [knowingly] Ohhhh. Was your missus pleased?
Paul: Several times.

Paul: [dragging Wild Bill to the padded cell] Come on, Wild Bill. Little walky-walky.
Wild Bill: Don't you call me that! Wild Bill Hickok wasn't no range rider! He was just some bushwhackin' John Law! Dumb sumbitch sat with his back to the door, got killed by a drunk!
Brutus "Brutal" Howell': [sarcastically] Oh, my suds and body — a history lesson. You just never what you'll gonna get when you come to work every day on the Green Mile. Thank you, Wild Bill.

[After Coffey brings Mr. Jingles back to life]
Dean Stanton: What did you do?
John Coffey: I helped Del's mouse. He a circus mouse. Gonna live in a mouse city, down in... [struggles with the word]
Brutus: Florida? [Coffey nods]
John Coffey: Boss, Percy bad...he mean. He step on Del's mouse. I took it back, though.

[After Percy empties the restraint room, trying to catch Mr. Jingles]
Paul: Percy, you want to think about what you were doing just now.
Percy: [looks at Paul] I know what I was doing — trying to get the mouse. You blind?
Harry Terwilliger: You also scared the living crap out of me and Bill. And them. [points thumb at the inmate cells]
Percy: So what? They aren't in cradle-school, case you didn't notice. [to Paul] Although you treat them that way half the time.
Brutus: We don't scare 'em any more than we have to, Percy. They're under enough strain as it is.
Paul: Men under strain can snap. Hurt themselves, hurt others. That's why our job is talking, not yelling. You'll do better to think of this place like an intensive care ward in a hospital —
Percy: I think of it as a bucket of piss to drown rats in, that's all. [scans their faces] Anybody doesn't like it, hm? You can kiss my ass. How's that sit? [Brutus takes a step towards him and he flinches away] Try it — you'll be on the bread lines before the week is out.
Paul: We all know who your connections are, Percy. [steps close] But you ever threaten a man on this block again, we're all gonna have a go. Job be damned.
Percy: Big talk. You done?
Paul: [disgusted] Get all this shit back in the restraint room. You're cluttering up my Mile.

[Percy sees Mr. Jingles alive again and storms back to Edgecombe and Howell]
Percy: You switched 'em! You switched 'em somehow, you bastards!
Brutus: [grinning] I always keep a spare mouse in my wallet for occasions such as this.

Hal Moores: [storming into the room after Delacroix's botched execution] What in the blue fuck was that?!? Jesus Christ, there's puke all over the floor up there! And the smell — I got Van Hay to open both doors, but that smell won't go out for five damn years, that's what I'm bettin'! And that asshole Wharton is singing about it! You can hear him up there!
Paul: [calmly] Can he carry a tune, Hal? [Moores takes the hint and laughs grimly, regaining his composure]
Hal: Okay, boys, okay. Now, what in the hell happened?
Paul: An execution. A successful one.
Hal: How in the name of Christ can you call that a success?
Paul: Eduard Delacroix is dead. [looks at Percy] Isn't he?
Hal: Percy? Something to say?
Percy: [meekly] I didn't know the sponge was supposed to be wet.
Hal: [angrily disgusted] How many years you spend pissing on a toilet seat before someone told you to put it up?
Paul: [calmly] Percy fucked up, Hal. Pure and simple.
Hal: That your official position?
Paul: Don't you think it should be? He's puttin' in a transfer request to Briar Ridge tomorrow, movin' on to bigger and better things. Isn't that right, Percy?
Percy: Yeah. Yeah.
Wild Bill: [singing off-camera upstairs] Bar-be-QUE!

[Paul has the men over for lunch, as he hatches his plan for Moores' terminally-ill wife]
Paul: You all saw what he did to the mouse.
Brutus: I coulda gone the rest of the day without you bringin' that up.
Dean: I coulda gone the rest of the year.
Paul: He did the same thing to me. He put his hands on me...and he took my bladder infection away.
Jan Edgecombe: 'S true. When he came home that day, he was... [pauses and half-smiles] all better. [Paul gives her a sly look]
Dean: Aw, wait. You're talkin' about a...an authentic healin'? A praise-Jesus miracle?
Paul: I am.
Jan: [barely suppressing a grin] Oh, yeah.

Harry Terwilliger: Now, w-what if he escapes? I'd hate to lose my job or go to prison...but I'd hate worse to have a dead child on my conscience.
Paul: I don't think that's gonna happen. In fact...I don't think he did it at all. I do not see God putting a...gift like that, in the hands of a man who could kill a child.

[Percy, staring vacantly, is unresponsive after his showdown with Wild Bill]
Bill Dodge: Son, can ya hear me?
Sheriff McGee: Speak up if you can hear us.
Bill Dodge: [to the bystanders] I think this boy's cheese slid off his cracker.

Paul: John, tell me what you want me to do. You want me to take you out of here? Just let you run away, see how far you could get?
John Coffey: [scornful] Why would you do such a foolish thing?
Paul: On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I...did I kill one of his true miracles — what am I gonna say? That it was my job? [disgustedly] It was my job.
John Coffey: You tell God the Father it was a kindness you done. [puts his hand on Edgecombe's wrung ones] I know you hurtin' and worryin', I can feel it on you. But you oughta quit on it now. I want it over and done with, I do. I'm tired, boss. Tired of bein' on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. I'm tired of never having me a buddy to be with, to tell me where we's going to or coming from, or why. Mostly, I'm tired of people being ugly to each other. I'm tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world every day. There's too much of it — it's like pieces of glass in my head, all the time. Can you understand?
Paul: Yes, John, I think I can.

Elaine Connelly [Feeding a slow but still active Mr. Jingles]: He...infected you with life?
Old Paul Edgecombe: That's as good a word as any.

Major cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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