The Radio Times logo

A Lesson before Dying

  • Drama
  • 1999
  • Joseph Sargent
  • 97 mins

Summary

In the 1940s South, an African-American man is wrongly accused of the killing of a white store owner. In his defense, his white attorney equates him with a lowly hog, to indicate that he didn't have the sense to know what he was doing. Nevertheless convicted, he is sentenced to die, but his godmother and the aunt of the local schoolteacher convince the schoolteacher to go to the convicted man's cell each day to try to reaffirm to him that he is not an animal but a man with dignity.

Advertisement
Powered By
IMDB

Review

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

Don Cheadle is the teacher attempting to restore dignity to a condemned man in this Emmy-winning TV movie, based on Ernest J Gaines's novel. Set in rural 1940s Louisiana, Cheadle reluctantly visits a young African-American (Mekhi Phifer) due to be executed for a murder he did not commit. Unlike most movies in this genre, this is not about the search for an 11th-hour reprieve but rather an attempt to reconcile Phifer to his fate - however undeserved. Writer Ann Peacock's solid script, Joseph Sargent's thoughtful direction and a first-rate cast, including veteran Cicely Tyson, make this heart-rending movie memorable.

How to watch

Loading

Credits

Cast

rolename
Grant WigginsDon Cheadle
Tante LouCicely Tyson
JeffersonMekhi Phifer
Miss EmmaIrma P Hall
Reverend AmbroseBrent Jennings
Vivian BaptisteLisa Arrindell Anderson

Crew

rolename
DirectorJoseph Sargent

Details

Languages
English
Available on
DVD
Formats
Colour
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content