In flashback, the elderly Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) tells his friend Elaine about the summer of 1932 when he was a corrections officer in charge of Death Row inmates in Louisiana's Cold Mountain Penitentiary. His domain was called the "Green Mile" because the condemned prisoners walking to their execution are said to be walking "the last mile"; here it is on a stretch of green linoleum to the electric chair.
One day, a new inmate arrives, John Coffey, a seven-foot-tall black man convicted of raping and killing two young white girls. Upon being escorted to his cell, he immediately demonstrates "gentle giant" character traits: keeping to himself, fearing darkness, and being moved to tears on occasion. Soon enough, John reveals extraordinary healing powers by healing Paul's urinary tract infection and resurrecting a mouse. Later he also heals the wife of the warden, who is terminal.
It turns out he is also innocent of the crimes he was convicted of. The real perpetrator was another death row member called Bill "Wild Bill" Wharton, who he killed for that. Still he was executed for them, partly because he wanted it. He was tired of living in this world with his heightened senses and see all the uglyness in it.
Sixty years have passed since then. Paul is a very old man now. Still he is quite healthy. He is convinced, that it is a byproduct of John´s healing and asks himself, when he will die next, especially after having to think about the mouse John healed and that is still alive.
- Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb
- Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey
- David Morse as Brutus "Brutal" Howell
- Bonnie Hunt as Jan Edgecomb
- James Cromwell as Warden Hal Moores
- Michael Jeter as Eduard Delacroix
- Graham Greene as Arlen Bitterbuck
- Doug Hutchison as Percy Wetmore
- Sam Rockwell as Bill "Wild Bill" Wharton
- Barry Pepper as Dean Stanton
- Jeffrey DeMunn as Harry Terwilliger
- Patricia Clarkson as Melinda Moores
- Harry Dean Stanton as Toot-Toot
- Eve Brent as Elaine Connelly
- Dabbs Greer as Old Paul Edgecomb
- Gary Sinise as Burt Hammersmith
The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, though won none:
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role; Michael Clarke Duncan
- Best Picture; David Valdes, Frank Darabont
- Best Sound Mixing; Robert J. Litt, Elliot Tyson, Michael Herbick, Willie D. Burton
- Best Adapted Screenplay; Frank Darabont
The film was also nominated for five Saturn Awards, winning three:
- Best Supporting Actor; Michael Clarke Duncan (winner)
- Best Supporting Actress; Patricia Clarkson (winner)
- Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film (winner)
- Best Director; Frank Darabont
- Best Music; Thomas Newman