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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 52 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. Acting rarely gets better than this.
  2. 100
    Sarandon delivers one of her very best performances; her shock at encountering the wrath of the victim's family is registered beautifully. And Sean Penn, who for too long has suffered with the label of being a "bad boy," gives an Oscar-caliber performance.[12 January 1996, Friday, p.B]
  3. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    An intimate chamber piece for two, superbly acted by Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, this is a mature, well-crafted movie.
  4. Reviewed by: Gary Kamiya
    Possesses that rarest of qualities: moral humility.
  5. Reviewed by: Alison Macor
    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: David Ansen
    No simple diatribe against capital punishment, it's a strong film, made stronger by two terrific performances.
  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
    This made me change my views on the Death Penalty. Amazing film.
  2. SalmanH.
    Oct 15, 2005
    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
    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
    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
    Challenging, affecting, and uncommonly well-performed, "Dead Man Walking" earnestly displays a worthwhile and incisive loyalty to its powerful source material. Collapse
  6. May 30, 2012
    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 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