Dead Man Walking

Dead Man Walking (1995)

Plot summary

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Matthew, played by Sean Penn, is a convicted rapist/murderer who is counselled by a nun named Sister Helen, played by Susan Sarandon.

Sister Helen is determined to reach Matthew on an humanistic level to help him to understand himself and his actions and truly repent them before he is executed.

She manages to break through his uneducated and ignorant exterior and leads him to salvation in the nick of time.

He is executed while Sister Helen stands strong to give him comfort; the victims' parents' grief is somewhat eased, but everyone learns from the experience of the poisonous power of hate.

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Mistakes

In the film, the character of Sister Helen is played by Susan Sarandon. Midway through the movie, there is a scene where several people are congregated outside the building where Poncelet's appeals are being held. Sister Helen is talking to her laywer friend, who, at the end of their conversation says, "OK, see you later, Susan."

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Trivia

The movie is loosely based on Sister Prejean's experiences with two real death row inmates, Robert Lee Willie and Elmo Patrick Sonnier. Both men were electrocuted. In the movie, however, Sean Penn's fictional character was killed by lethal injection--because the image of a man strapped down to be injected allows for all that Christ symbolism.

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