April 16th, 1999


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Still of Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence in LifeStill of Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence in LifeEddie Murphy at event of LifeEddie Murphy and Brian Grazer in LifeStill of Eddie Murphy and Michael Taliferro in LifeStill of Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence in Life

The story of two criminals (Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence) who discover the value of life after being sentenced to life imprisonment.

Release Year: 1999

Rating: 6.2/10 (19,521 voted)

Critic's Score: 63/100

Director: Ted Demme

Stars: Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Obba Babatundé

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.

Writers: Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone

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

Taglines: Share it with someone you love.


Official Website: Universal |

Release Date: 16 April 1999

Filming Locations: Front Street, Norwalk, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $75,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $20,414,775 (USA) (18 April 1999) (2594 Screens)

Gross: $63,844,974 (USA) (8 August 1999)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

When Rayford (Eddie Murphy) is getting beat up in a fight, he says: "I know a bitch named Della who hits harder than you." This is a reference to Harlem Nights, in which Murphy's character is beat up in a fight with a madame played by Della Reese.

Anachronisms: About halfway through the film, the prisoners are watching a newsreel about World War II. After that, Can't Get Right arrives, and is scouted by a scout from the Pittsburgh Crawfords. The team existed from 1930-1938, three years before the US entered World War II.

Willie Long: I didn't see nothing special the first time Ray and Claude walked into the cage. To me, they were just a couple of fools whose luck had run out. 'Course, I was wrong about that.

User Review

One of Eddie Murphy's best films.


If you're not a fan of Eddie Murphy's humor, then skip this one.

The movie begins in modern times, 1997, with the main characters' funerals. The movie then flashes back to 1932 to begin telling their story, and continues as they age in prison in Mississippi.

They were "petty criminals" but were sentenced to life in prison for a murder they did not commit. However, being black in 1930s Mississippi did them no favors. The story that unfolds is irreverent and funny and has enough twists along the way to keep things very interesting.

I can't understand why the average rating of this movie is below "6". I give it "8" of "10" for its overall entertainment value, plus a few "life's little lessons" thrown in. I think it is one of Eddie Murphy's best movies.