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Dead Man Walking

184 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Inspired by the true story of a nun's relationship with a condemned man, this provocative examination of crime, punishment and redemption earned Susan Sarandon the 1995 OscarÂ(r) for Best Actress and Sean Penn an OscarÂ(r) nomination for Best Actor. Dead Man Walking is a "fast-moving and absorbing" film filled with "genuine suspense" (Variety) that will leave you awe-struck from beginning to end. Sister Helen Prejean (Sarandon), a compassionate New Orleansnun, is the spiritual advisor to Matthew Poncelet (Penn), a vicious, angry and complex murderer awaiting execution. Her dedication is to help others, like Matthew, find salvation. But as she attemptsto navigate Matthew's dark soul, she encounters a depth of evil that makes her question how far redemption can really go. Can she stave off the fateful day of execution long enough to save Matthew, or will she discover a truth that will rock the very foundation by which she lives her life?

Special Features

  • Collectible Booklet

Product Details

  • Actors: Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Robert Prosky, Raymond J. Barry, R. Lee Ermey
  • Directors: Tim Robbins
  • Writers: Tim Robbins, Helen Prejean
  • Producers: Allan F. Nicholls, Eric Fellner, Jon Kilik, Mark Seldis, R.A. White
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Full Screen, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2000
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000K0DQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,137 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dead Man Walking" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Themis-Athena on February 3, 2003
Format: DVD
"Sister, I won't ask for forgiveness; my sins are all I have," sings Bruce Springsteen in this movie's title song while the end credits roll over the screen - giving voice once more to Matthew Poncelet and the men portrayed in Sister Helen Prejean's nonfiction account on which this movie is based; that angry "white trash," those men who are "God's mistake," as one victim's father says, inconsolable over the loss of his daughter; those men locked up in high security prisons for unspeakable crimes which many of them claim they didn't commit. And Matt Poncelet (Sean Penn) is just such a guy; locked in bravado and denial, he proclaims his innocence and would rather take a lie detector test on the day of his execution "so my momma knows I didn't do this" than own up to his responsibility.

With Sister Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon), we first learn about the crime which landed Poncelet on death row - the rape-murder of a couple on lovers' lane - from the account she receives when she starts writing to him and eventually agrees to visit him in prison. It is, as she will soon learn, a story that anti-death penalty advocates are all too familiar with; a story of unequal access to lawyers and of two defendants, each blaming all guilt for their crime exclusively on the other, regardless what truly happened. And as long as she is assured that even if Poncelet would have a new trial he wouldn't go free (as an accomplice, under Louisiana state law he would receive a lifetime prison sentence), Sister Helen is willing to help him find a lawyer and, when the date for his execution is set, try to obtain a reprieve.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Linda Sackstein on February 10, 2005
Format: DVD
Both Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon give the performance of their lives. This is such an emotional film and the story behind it is amazing. Tim Robbins' direction is spot on. Was thoroughly entranced from beginning to end. Although the story deals with death row and the death penalty, both highly explosive subjects, I was able to detach myself because of the actors' performances. Strongly recommended.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By frisky2000 VINE VOICE on January 3, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Table all pre-conceived notions of whether Capital Punishment is wrong or right. Set aside your personal opinions on how society views convicted killers. DEAD MAN WALKING examines all sides of the coin, from the eyes of the victims, their families, the legal system, religious counselors and finally the convict himself.
Sean Penn is almost scary in his portrayal of Matthew Poncellet. With convincing facial expressions, voice and demeanor, Penn nails every scathing, miserable characteristic of a "white trash" criminal with no remorse for his chosen way of life and his lack of respect for everything and everyone in his world. By the film's end, your heart can't help but bleed for him in is agony, but what a pity it took the tragedy of murder to bring him to his knees.
Susan Sarandon perfectly portrays a kind and gentle Sr. Helen Prejean (who makes a cameo appearance in the film at a candlelight demonstration outside the prison).
WARNING: This movie is very painful to watch, and certain scenes of violence, aside from the final execution by lethal injection, may disturb the faint-hearted.
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Format: DVD
This movie wrecked me.

Seriously, it tore out my heart and stomped on it. `Dead Man Walking' is one of those movies that ravages an individual because it leaves bias at the door and forces you to witness two sides of a devastating story. I feel about this film as I do about `4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' for both films take a situation that one would have a firm opinion about and causes you to seriously doubt yourself. With `4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' it was abortion, and while I am wholeheartedly against the act it forced me to understand why some would be for it, and it brought me a to a dark and lonely place I never want to revisit. `Dead Man Walking' is very similar but maybe even with a more savage result. This film takes on the subject of the death penalty and asks us to contemplate whether or not it is humane. Instead of forcing us a preordained answer, `Dead Man Walking' allows the audience to see both sides of the situation and decide for themselves what they think is just and fair.

`Dead Man Walking' took everything I believed in and destroyed it.

When `4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' was through I was weak emotionally, but I still stood firm to my beliefs on the subject. When I was through with `Dead Man Walking' I had no idea what I believed anymore because I found myself trying to justify each stance on the matter. I still am trying to grapple with my feelings.

`Dead Man Walking' (a slang term used in reference to a death row inmate in route to the death chamber) focuses on Matthew Poncelet, a convicted murderer trying to get his death sentenced exchanged for a life sentence.
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