The Green Mile

  • Review Date: May 6, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 188 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Thoughtful, intelligent movie for older teens.
  • Review Date: May 6, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 188 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Violence

Intense scenes, including very explicit execution.

Sex

Some references.

Language

Some strong language, use of racial epithets.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Mild.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has a horrifyingly graphic execution scene. Talk to teens who see the movie about Coffey's wish to be put out of his misery, which could be seen by sensitive kids as an argument in favor of suicide.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In THE GREEN MILE, Paul Edgecombe (Tom Hanks) is a Depression-era Louisiana prison guard. His responsibility is the prisoners on Death Row, called \"The Green Mile\" because of the color of the floor between the cells and the electric chair. New prisoner John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) is a huge black man convicted of raping and murdering two little girls. He is a gentle man with a mysterious power to heal. Edgecombe treats the prisoners with kindness, partly because it is the best way to maintain order, but also because he is a fair and compassionate man. In sharp contrast, another guard is petty and cruel, and a far more evil man than any of the prisoners.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It's pretty easy to make a movie where the hero saves the Earth from asteroids or blasts the bad guys into smithereens, because those kinds of battles give us lots of very cool stuff to look at. It's a lot harder to make a movie like this one, holding our attention with heroism in small moments and unlikely places. Teens, who often feel that the problems of the world are too overwhelming to address, can learn from this movie that a small courtesy can have an enormous impact.

This is a thoughtful, intelligent movie with outstanding direction. The plot veers into melodrama at times, with at least one coincidence that is overly convenient, but the humanity of the guards keeps the movie on track most of the time. Hanks is the American ideal, just, kind, capable, decent. Bonnie Hunt's performance as Edgecombe's loyal, wise, patient, and very loving wife is a pleasure to watch. Doug Hutchison is terrific as Percy, the nephew of the governor's wife who is assigned to work for Edgecombe, and whose combined arrogance and insecurity lead to disaster. And Michael Clarke Duncan is deeply moving, showing us both Coffey's innocence and his dignity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the idea that a person might have an extraordinary talent to heal, where that power might come from, and what the responsibilities and burdens might be. Must that ability be accompanied, as it is in John Coffey, with the agonizing experience of "feeling the pain of the world?" Can a person be a healer without experiencing the pain he relieves in others? Must a person whose entire existence is about healing be willing to destroy? What can be healed, and what can not? And why set this story on Death Row? The characters tell us that "What happens on the Mile stays on the Mile. Always has." What rules are different in these direst of circumstances, and why?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 10, 1999
DVD release date:June 13, 2000
Cast:Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, Tom Hanks
Director:Frank Darabont
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Drama
Run time:188 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence, language and some sex-related material

This review of The Green Mile was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 16 years old Written byToTheEights January 2, 2010
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

If you can handle the fiery, prolonged execution of one character, you're fine.

A wonderful movie, moving, brilliant and subtle. It is violent and Percy's a horrible character-- honestly one of the worst I've ever seen-- but overall it's a very positive and surprisingly uplifting tearjerker that makes the viewer take a second look at their own lives.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byAdam K May 28, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Intense But Brilliant Follow Up To 'Shawshank'

The film is incredibly intense. There a moments in it which made me cringe, and moments which made me weep. When the 'Mile' was first released stories of grown men crying in the cinema circulated widely, because they were true. Violent, but powerfully uplifting and excellent acting, direction and script. If you can handle it, it is a must see.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old October 8, 2011
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Best Movie Ever!

I just watched this film last night, and I was absolutely mesmorized. It is no doubt, my favourite film. It has got and extravagent storyline, brilliant acting and the script is awesome. Although, I don't think it is suitable for kids, unless they are very, very mature. There is one scene in which a certain character is executed, but a wet sponge was not placed on the victim's head, and so, he literally frazzled to death. There is just screaming for that whole 2 mins. Very graphic, I think that if you were to let your child watch this, definately leave out that scene. Some other violence, including a man being shot several times, bloody marks on his chest, and there is also an upsetting scene in which the main character ( well, one of them), is executed. There are some sexual references, and a sex scene, although it is heard, for about 10 seconds, and not seen. Some swear words, f*** about 7 times, the word n*gg*r is used against John Coffey, mostly spoken by 'Wild Bill'. There are some references to a man raping and killing two little girls, but the actual rape is not seen. Viewers, even adults, will probably cry at this film, as it is extraordinary at really making you feel a part of it. I reccomend for about teens, maybe younger if your child is really, really mature. Thanks for reading. :)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide