6.8/10
42,466
145 user 62 critic

Life (1999)

Trailer
1:39 | Trailer
In 1932, two strangers are wrongfully convicted and develop a strong friendship in prison that lasts them through the 20th century.

Director:

Ted Demme
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Popularity
3,835 ( 927)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eddie Murphy ... Rayford Gibson
Martin Lawrence ... Claude Banks
Obba Babatundé ... Willie Long
Nick Cassavetes ... Sergeant Dillard
Anthony Anderson ... Cookie
Barry Shabaka Henley ... Pokerface
Brent Jennings ... Hoppin' Bob
Bernie Mac ... Jangle Leg
Miguel A. Núñez Jr. ... Biscuit
Michael Taliferro ... Goldmouth (as Michael 'Bear' Taliferro)
Guy Torry ... Radio
Bokeem Woodbine ... Can't Get Right
Ned Beatty ... Dexter Wilkins
Lisa Nicole Carson ... Sylvia
O'Neal Compton ... Superintendant Abernathy
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Storyline

In the mid-1990s, two inmates bury the burned bodies of two lifers at Mississippi's infamous Parchman Farm; a third old-timer relates their story. They'd served 65 years for a murder they didn't commit, framed by a local sheriff while buying moonshine whiskey for a Manhattan club owner to whom they owed money. In flashbacks we see this odd couple thrown together (Ray is a fast-talking con man, and Claude is a serious man about to start work as a bank teller), the loss of Ray's watch (sterling silver, from his daddy), the murder and trial, the hardships of Parchman, and the love-hate relationship of Claude and Ray as they spend 65 years bickering and looking for a way to escape. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and a shooting | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Life See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,414,775, 18 April 1999

Gross USA:

$64,016,268

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$73,475,268
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ray and Claude arrive at the Mississippi prison in 1932. They spend 65 years in jail, meaning the last year the movie takes place in is 1997. And Ray says in that year that he's 90 years old, meaning he was born in 1907 (Claude was also probably born in that year or somewhere close to it). So they were 25 when they came to jail, 37 when they are shown in the 1944, and 65 when they are shown in 1972. See more »

Goofs

When Claude and Rayford are driving to pick up some bootleg liquor, the camera switches over from one side of the car to the other, each time Rayford's shirt is constantly changing from, buttons tied to the top to having the top two buttons undone. See more »

Quotes

Rayford Gibson: Now you're sure it was him?
Claude Banks: Some faces you just don't forget. Warren Pike is one of 'em.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Bloopers are shown during the closing credits. See more »


Soundtracks

Let Me Roll Your Lemon
Written by Bo Carter (as A. Chatmon)
Performed by Bo Carter
Courtesy of Shanachie Entertainment Corp.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Life is a serious matter
30 June 2001 | by jlacerraSee all my reviews

After reading the user comments on this movie, it appears that the main complaint is that it is not the rollicking laugh-a-minute comedy that fans of the two leads expected. Once you let that expectation go, this is a great movie! It succeeds as a drama with comic tone. There have been some great ones that do this, and we mistakenly classify them as comedies. For example, M*A*S*H, Mr. Roberts, It's a Wonderful Life. These are pictures that provide comic overtones to people struggling to get through a very serious and overwhelming event: war, contemplated suicide, and in the case of Life, life imprisonment.

I was surprised at how good Murphy is in this flick.Not one of my favorites, he convinces as he ages and grows under the burden his character carries, that of an entire life stolen from him. And he survives with a certain dignity. Lawrence is almost as good, but he does labor a bit with the dramatic parts, seeming a bit uncomfortable shedding his comic bent. Note that when these characters are shown as old men, Murphy actually becomes an old man, Lawrence is still a young man in oldster's make-up.

Let's not overlook an interesting small role expertly understated by Ned Beatty, and the charm of Bokeem Woodbine as Can't Get Right. Life is well-mounted and the sets are as convincing as any I've seen. Comedies are rarely as dirty and sweaty as this movie.

I thoroughly enjoyed this picture, realizing early on that it was a very serious movie wrongly hyped as a comedy.


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