American filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola once said – “I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians.” Cinema is not just a set of moving images but is something which has the capacity to rise up the innate emotion of the viewer, and Frank Darabont’s ‘The Green Mile’ (1999) truly condenses this emotion.
Adapted from American author Stephen King’s ‘The Green Mile’, published in 1996, the film chronicles the life of Paul Edgecomb, a death row corrections officer during the Great Depression of America and the supernatural events he experienced during his time. Brought on to the screenplay by Darabont, the narrative is fashioned through flashbacks. The film is the second feature of the director and holds many qualities of the reputed ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ (1994). The dimly lit cinematography by British cinematographer David Tattersall and the firm editing by Australian film Editor Richard Francis-Bruce complement the aura of supernatural and the slow-burning atmospherics of a prison.
‘The Green Mile’, while being a technically sound film, weaves the innate emotionality which connects the audience to the work. From themes of crime, hope and courage, the film utilizes the aforementioned narrative of flashbacks and magic realism. If you’re looking for films that explore similar themes, ideas and concepts, then we’ve got you covered. Here’s the list of best movies similar to ‘The Green Mile’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like ‘The Green Mile’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
“You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.” – A line said by Will Smith’s Chris Gardner which captures the emotion of the film. Directed by Italian filmmaker Gabriele Muccino, ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ (2006) is a biographical drama film which chronicles the life of struggling salesman Chris Gardner as he takes the custody of his son after being evicted from his life by his wife. Now forced to deal with extreme challenges, Gardner takes on the determination to begin a life-changing professional career. The film steers through the aspects of the power of familial bonds through the strong performances by Will Smith and Jaden Smith, for which both received immense appreciation.
9. Life of Pi (2012)
There are few directors whose filmography varies thematically like Ang Lee’s. From taking on a Jane Austen classic, ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1995) to directing a definitive “wuxia” film, ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ (2000), the Taiwanese film director has built a career by transcending the cultural boundaries. Adapted from Canadian author Yann Martel’s 2001 novel of the same name, ‘Life of Pi’ (2012) is a survival drama film about the titular character “Pi” Patel who survives a disaster at sea but losses his entire family.
However, now plunged into the vast ocean, Pi slowly forms a new perspective of life and develops an unexpected bond with a fellow survivor, which is a Royal Bengal Tiger. The film teems with glorious cinematography by Chilean cinematographer Claudio Miranda and resounding music by Canadian composer Mychael Danna. The film resonates with the themes of hope, nature and survival, which form Martel and Lee’s magnificent vision. Adding to that, in a time of excessive use of CGI, ‘Life of Pi’ is one of the best works which utilizes technology in its most artistic sense.
8. Midnight in Paris (2011)
Perhaps only Woody Allen can beautifully merge the conventions of postmodernism and the gorgeousness of the classic era of art. A fantasy comedy film, ‘Midnight in Paris’ (2011) follows Owen Wilson as Gil Pender, a screenwriter who is forced to confront the stagnancy of his relationship with his materialistic fiancée when he finds himself travelling back in time in midnight in the stunning city of Paris. The film is built upon the elements of nostalgia as Pender slowly realizes his true love after meeting the greats of art and literature — Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein. The film also broke the string of poor reception to Allen’s films and brought him back to critical and commercial success. Among its many praises and awards, ‘Midnight in Paris’ was mainly appreciated for the imaginative and consistent screenplay written by Allen himself, for which he received an Oscar and a Golden Globe.
7. The Truman Show (1998)
Kicking off the gamut of films which helped comedic legend Jim Carrey to break the stereotype of slapstick comedy, ‘The Truman Show’ (1998) has since gone on to be regarded as one of the most original and idiosyncratic pieces of works. Directed by Australian filmmaker Peter Weir, ‘The Truman Show’ is the story of Truman Burbank, an insurance salesman who slowly comes to the realization that his whole life is a reality T.V. Show and thus tries to escape it. The peculiar premise of the film is aided by a solid screenplay written by New Zealandic screenwriter Andrew Niccol as it delves into themes the power of media, television and concept of the “American Dream”. The technical foundation of the film is complemented by a balanced performance by Jim Carrey who shapes his character with drops of comedy as well as drama, thereby giving a relatable character to the viewers.
6. Groundhog Day (1993)
Often regarded as one of best comedies till date, ‘Groundhog Day’ (1993) is the story of Phil Connors – essayed by Bill Murray – a TV weatherman who, while covering the annual Groundhog Day event, realizes that he is caught in a time loop, thus repeatedly reliving the same day every day. Directed by American filmmaker and comedian Harold Ramis, ‘Groundhog Day’ explores the themes and motifs of self-improvement and spiritual awakening. The film is steered into comedic brilliance by the legendary Bill Murray who seamlessly brings out all the stops of wit and amusement. The strong cultural impact led to a new generation of writers finding inspiration from Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin’s writing style to replicate the humongous success.
5. Forrest Gump (1994)
There are a few films which have the ability to transport the boundaries of age, culture and language to become a beloved piece of work and ‘Forrest Gump’ is certainly one of them. Directed by American filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, ‘Forrest Gump’ chronicles the life of the titular character through the lens of several greatest historical events of the 20th century which are unfolded to have been influenced by him in some or the other way.
Adapted from American author Winston Groom’s novel of the same name, the film is led by the dazzling performance of Tom Hanks, which seasoned his reputation of being one of the best actors of generation after the critical success of ‘Big’ (1989) and ‘Philadelphia’ (1993), and earned his second Academy Award for Best Actor. The film focuses on how society changes through time with new political ideologies and social contracts and comments upon it through the childlike eyes of Gump. The blockbuster film has since surpassed its mere materialistic standing to become one of the most quoted and most beloved films in recent memory.
4. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Adapted from Robert Mulligan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, the 1962 film stars Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South who takes up the task of defending a black man who has been falsely accused of rape charge and his children against prejudice. One of the defining films in American cinema, the film utilizes the genre of courtroom drama to full effect. The film holds a strong foothold in resounding monologues delivered astutely by Peck which shape Lee’s social narrative.
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, while shaping to the mould of a courtroom drama, explores the various facets of racism, class and the corruption within the legal system. Among its many praises, film journalist Bosley Crowther praised the balanced social commentary, calling it “sober-minded and earnest, but never letting its social conscience get in the way of gripping drama.” The enormous critical and commercial success led the film to receive three Academy Awards and three Golden Globes, with Peck nabbing the Best Actor category.
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
A romantic science fiction drama, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ stars Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet as an estranged couple who choose to undergo a medical procedure to erase each other from their memories. Directed by French filmmaker Michel Gondry, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ is built upon the strong foundation on the screenplay by the veteran Charlie Kaufman, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The narrative is developed from the literary elements of psychological thriller and non-linearity to explore the nature of love, romance and memory. The screenplay is further carried forth by the charming yet hard-hitting performances of Carrey and Winslet. ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, while being a moderate success at the time of release, has seasoned to be the go-to film for aspiring writers and filmmaker because of its intrinsic narrative construction.
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Directed by Czech filmmaker Miloš Forman, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ (1975) stars Jack Nicholson as Randle McMurphy, a new patient at a mental hospital who takes upon the challenge to rally up with his fellow patients to rebel against the authoritative Nurse Ratched, essayed by Louise Fletcher. Considered as one of the greatest films ever made, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ brims with pure brilliance, credited to the stupendous acting performances by Nicholson and Fletcher, a cohesive screenplay co-written Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldmanm all of which cumulate in Forman’s taut direction. The comedy-drama film explores the themes of authority, love, compassion and enjoyment. Adapted from American novelist Ken Kesey’s 1964 novel of the same name, the fabulous teamwork has resulted in the film being one of the few to have won the “Big Five” at the Academy Awards and to have achieved the legendary status in cinema.
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1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Directed by the same director of ‘The Green Mile’, Frank Darabont, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ (1994) is perhaps one of the few films which can boast of the moniker of being “the best film of all time”. Adapted from Stephen King’s novella ‘Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption’, this 1994 classic is the story of Andy Dufresne, who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for murdering his wife and her lover. While he claims of innocence, Dufresne gradually learns to adapt into the lifestyle of the prison over the course of two decades, and befriends fellow prisoner Ellis “Red” Redding. He later becomes a vital figure in a money laundering operation led by the prison warden Samuel Norton and becomes a respected prisoner amongst the captain of the prison guards and his fellow prisoners.
With a balanced and quiet performance by Tim Robbins, beautiful narration and performance by Morgan Freeman and the taut direction by Darabont, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ checks out all the boxes of being a classic. While the film was a huge financial disappointment, it has since established itself as being one of the all-time greats.
Read More: Movies Like The Shawshank Redemption