The Green Mile

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The only reason they come to see me is that I know that life is great—and they know I know it.
Clark Gable
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The Green Mile (1999), written by Stephen King (novel) and Frank Darabont (screenplay), directed by Frank Darabont

Paul Edgecomb

  • 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… that was also the year of… John Coffey and… the two dead girls.
  • [Repeated line] What happens on the Mile stays on the Mile. Always has.
  • 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.
  • A big man is ripping your ears off, Percy! I'd do as he says!
  • [Edgecomb talks to Warden Moores about sadistic guard 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.
  • And you, Elaine. You'll die, too. And my curse… is knowing that I'll be there to see it. It's my torment, you see. It's my punishment for lettin' John Coffey ride the lightnin'. For killin' 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.
  • And I think about all of us. Walking our own green mile; each in our own time.

John Coffey

  • [Coffey thinks of Top Hat as he's being strapped to the electric chair.]

[singing/sobbing] Heaven… I'm in heaven… heaven…

  • [Coffey is entraced watching Astaire and Rogers dancing "Cheek to Cheek" in Top Hat.]

Why, they's angels. Angels just like up in heaven.

  • [Repeated throughout the film]

John Coffey, just like the drink, but not spelled the same.

Wild Bill

  • (Singing) Bar-be-QUE! Me and you! Stinky-pinky, fue-fue-fue! Wen't Billy, Jilly, Hilly or Pa! It was a french-fried cajon named Delacroix! WOO!


  • [The day after Coffey cures Edgecombe's urinary infection, Edgecombe brings Coffey some cornbread.]
Paul Edgecombe: It's from my missus. She wanted to… thank you.
John Coffey: Thank me for what?
Paul Edgecombe: Well, you know. [looks around, then whispers] For helping me.
John Coffey: Helpin' you with what?
Paul Edgecombe: You know.
[Edgecomb looks down and points to his groin.]
John Coffey: Ohhhhh. Was your missus pleased?
Paul Edgecombe: Several times.

  • [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 a word]
Brutus "Brutal" Howell: Florida?
[Coffey nods.]
John Coffey: Boss Percy bad. He mean. He step on Del's mouse. I took it back, t'ough.

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

  • [Warden Moores storms into the room after Delacroix's excrutiatingly long electrocution.]
Hal Moores: 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 Edgecombe: [calmly] Can he carry a tune, Hal?
[Moores takes the hint and laughs grimly, regaining his composure.]
Hal Moores: Okay, boys, okay. Now, what in the hell happened?
Paul Edgecombe: An execution. A successful one.
Hal Moores: How in the name of Christ can you call that a success?
Paul Edgecombe: Eduard Delacroix is dead.
[Edgecomb looks at Percy.]
Paul Edgecombe: Isn't he.
Hal Moores: Percy? Something to say?
Percy Wetmore: [meekly] I didn't know the sponge was supposed to be wet.
Hal Moores: How many years you spend pissing on a toilet seat before someone told you to put it up?
Paul Edgecombe: [calmly] Percy fucked up, Hal. Pure and simple.
Hal Moores: That your official position?
Paul Edgecombe: Don't you think it should be? He's puttin' in for a transfer request to Briar Ridge tomorrow. Movin' on to bigger and better things. Isn't that right, Percy?
Percy Wetmore: Yeah. Yeah.
Wild Bill: [singing off-camera] Bar-be-QUE!

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

  • [Terwilliger out the foolishness of taking convicted murderer Coffey out of prison.]
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 Edgecombe: 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… a gift like that in the hands of a man who could kill a child.

  • Paul Edgecombe: Men under strain can snap. Hurt themselves and hurt others. That's why our job is talking, not yelling. You'd do better to think of this place like as an intensive care ward of a hospital.
Percy Wetmore: I think of it as a bucket of piss to drown rats in. That's all. Anybody doesn't like it… you can kiss my ass.

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

  • [Coffey seizes a suffering Edgecombe for a few moments, then spews a mysterious insect-like cloud, which dissipates.]
Paul Edgecombe: 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.

  • Paul Edgecombe: John… tell me what you want me to do. You want me to take you out o' here? Just let you run away? See how far you could get?
John Coffey: Why would you do such a foolish thing?
Paul Edgecombe: 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? [muttering] It was my job.
John Coffey: You tell God the Father it was a kindness you done.
[Coffey puts his hand on Edgecombe's wrung ones.]
John Coffey: 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 Edgecombe: Yes, John, I think I can.

  • [Feeding a slow but still active Mr. Jingles, Paul tells Elaine about the consequences of John's gift.]
Elaine Connelly: He infected you with life?
Old Paul Edgecombe: That's as good a word as any.

Major cast

See also

External links

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