Description of Film:
Eddie Murphy (Shrek, Doctor Dolittle, Beverly
Hills Cop, 48 Hours) and Martin Lawrence (Big
Momma’s House, Bad Boys) collaborate in
a comedy that shows the lighter side of prejudice
and discrimination in the judicial system in
the 1930’s. Claude Banks (Lawrence) and
Ray Gibson (Murphy) have an unpleasant encounter
with a New York kingpin over an unpaid debt.
Ray and Claude find themselves deep in the backwoods
of Mississippi, transporting moonshine for the
gangster in a bargain to save their lives. While
in the South, Ray and Claude get falsely accused
of a murder by a racist Sheriff. The judge hands
them life sentences, to be spent on chain gangs
in the state of Mississippi. While fulfilling
their sentences, they experience life as underprivileged
Life was directed by Ted Demme (American History
X) and written by Robert Ramsey and Matthew
Stone. This movie was rated R for language.
Why I Recommend This Film:
This film gives viewers a chance to explore
hate, prejudice, and discrimination from a comedic
perspective. It sheds light on the type of judicial
system that was in place during the 1930’s.
Although one may laugh at the fact that two
men had to spend their lives in prison after
being framed for murder, this situation is not
entirely fictional. Such situations were allowed
to occur because of the racist, prejudiced,
and privileged judicial system that was common
not only in the South, but all over the United
States at the time. Today, new evidence and
DNA test have contributed to the release of
many people who were convicted in such systems
but who were actually innocent.
Why This Film is Important:
This film can be used as teaching tool
that shows discrimination can be based on anything.
Although it focuses on discrimination based
on race, it also shows discrimination based
on sexual preferences and geographical region.
Ray Gibson (Murphy):“How much will it
cost to turn one of those ‘white only' pies
into ‘Negro’ pies?”
Sales Clerk:“How ‘bout I turn yawl into
This quotation shows how strongly Southerners
felt about keeping segregated establishments.
Blacks couldn’t go into “white only” businesses
for any reason in those days.