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Dead Man Walking Movie Review

penn sarandon awards sister

Susan Sarandon is Sister Helen Prejean, death row inmate Matthew Poncelet's (Sean Penn) last chance at spiritual salvation. Poncelet murdered two young people in cold blood and is numb to the horror of his crime. Seeing Sister Helen is better than nothing, so he asks her to keep visiting him at Angola prison in New Orleans where he waits to die. On an early visit, he tries to hit on her, but she slaps him down with a sarcastic verbal retort and continues with the serious work of saving his soul. Although Sister Helen is opposed to the death penalty, Oscar nominee Tim Robbins’ superb film shows both sides with careful, non-judgmental attention. The victims’ parents are in agony, Poncelet has a shattering change of heart due to Sister Helen's steady influence, and there is a vivid sequence showing his emotion-charged encounter with his family at the prison. Penn won an Oscar nomination as Matthew Poncelet and, after a career filled with outstanding performances, Sarandon won her first Academy Award for her unforgettable portrait of Sister Helen Prejean. Scott Wilson (Chaplain Farley) starred as Dick Hickock in 1967's In Cold Blood.

1995 (R) 122m/C Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Robert Prosky, Raymond J. Barry, R. Lee Ermey, Celia Weston, Lois Smith, Scott Wilson, Roberta Maxwell, Margo Martindale, Barton Heyman, Larry Pine; D: Tim Robbins; W: Tim Robbins; C: Roger Deakins; M: David Robbins. Academy Awards ‘95: Best Actress (Sarandon); Independent Spirit Awards ‘96: Best Actor (Penn); Screen Actors Guild Award ‘95: Best Actress (Sarandon); Nominations: Academy Awards ‘95: Best Actor (Penn), Best Director (Robbins), Best Song ("Dead Man Walking”); Australian Film Institute ‘96: Best Foreign Film; Golden Globe Awards ‘96: Best Actor—Drama (Penn), Best Actress—Drama (Sarandon), Best Screenplay; Independent Spirit Awards ‘96: Best Supporting Actress (Weston); MTV Movie Awards ‘96: Best Female Performance (Sarandon); Screen Actors Guild Award ‘95: Best Actor (Penn). VHS, LV, DVD

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