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80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 53 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Follows the relationship between a death-row inmate (Penn) and local nun (Sarandon) to whom he turns for spiritual guidance in the days leading up to his scheduled execution.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 26
  2. Negative: 2 out of 26
  1. A bold, searching, wrenching experience. It may be the most complexly impassioned message movie Hollywood has ever made.
  2. 100
    It's ironic that a film with this title should be among the most vital, alive, and challenging cinema experiences of the year.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    90
    It is a measure of its complexity--and of the forces Penn and Sarandon have held in reserve during their hypnotic struggle for his soul--that its final moments leave us awash in emotion.
  4. An extremely affecting experience, down to the last agonizing moment.
  5. Reviewed by: Alison Macor
    89
    Robbins' direction and script are nearly flawlessly rich. There are no easy answers on death row, and Dead Man Walking makes this painfully, powerfully clear.
  6. Reviewed by: Anne Harris
    80
    This isn't a crowd-pleaser in terms of subject matter -- you've got a convict and a nun, with no love scenes -- but Robbins keeps it interesting.
  7. The picture is cloudy in intent. That cloudiness is deepened by Susan Sarandon's performance as Sister Helen. If she were giving the role what it seems to demand, a glow of true religious light, the film would have some organic cohesion, a strong spiritual cord running through it. But Sarandon does little more than present her face. [Feb. 5, 1996]

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 2 out of 16
  1. Lissa
    Nov 24, 2006
    10
    This made me change my views on the Death Penalty. Amazing film.
  2. SalmanH.
    Oct 15, 2005
    10
    Awesome acting...not an easy movie to watch i must say....but thats the beauty of this movie....Penn and Surandon did deserved an award.
  3. Mary
    Mar 18, 2006
    8
    Makes you think again! Made me look this up to see what others thought because it clouded what I thought I knew for sure.
  4. Aug 11, 2014
    8
    Dead Man Walking has great performances, relevant messages about life and controversial topics like the death penalty, and a fine story.Dead Man Walking has great performances, relevant messages about life and controversial topics like the death penalty, and a fine story. However, the movie can be overly sentimental at times, plus it could've been cut a good 10 minutes. Nonetheless, it's worth a watch. Expand
  5. Apr 23, 2013
    8
    Challenging, affecting, and uncommonly well-performed, "Dead Man Walking" earnestly displays a worthwhile and incisive loyalty to its powerfulChallenging, affecting, and uncommonly well-performed, "Dead Man Walking" earnestly displays a worthwhile and incisive loyalty to its powerful source material. Expand
  6. May 30, 2012
    0
    Its was not an easy watch. Sean Penn's character almost never moves from the cell and talks to the nun from through bars. Structuring the filmIts was not an easy watch. Sean Penn's character almost never moves from the cell and talks to the nun from through bars. Structuring the film like this leads to a very boring script where nothing happens, it is predictable from start to finish. I would recommend this movie to someone who wants to consider the pro and cons of the death sentence, but it is definitely not an entertaining movie. Expand

See all 16 User Reviews

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