John Coffey – Did He Commit The Crime? Explained

May 11, 2023 (Last updated: 6 days ago)
Amanda Guarragi 0
Features, Film, RSC Originals

John Coffey – Did He Commit The Crime? In this exclusive feature, we discuss one of the most tragic film plot points in history. 

The Green Mile is a 1996 serial novel written by Stephen King. It tells the story of death row supervisor Paul Edgecombe’s encounter with John Coffey. He is an obscure inmate who displays healing and empathetic abilities.

In 1999, director Frank Darabont adapted the novel with Stephen King as co-writer. The focus was obviously on John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), who had these special abilities. The supernatural elements are what make Coffey a much more interesting character because of the effect he has on other inmates he encounters.

Edgecombe (Tom Hanks) takes special notice and keeps him under his watchful eye, first because of the alleged crime he committed but also because of his spirit.

The film is not easy to watch, and it’s not because of the runtime. The story is just so devastating because audiences get to know Coffey through his supernatural powers and not through the alleged crime he committed.

Hanks and Clarke Duncan give incredible performances, and this is possibly King’s most critically acclaimed adaptation of the films that he has been part of working on.

John Coffey – Did He Commit The Crime?

Did John Coffey Get Framed?

In 1935, John Coffey was imprisoned in the Cold Mountain Penitentiary. He was convicted for a crime he did not commit. He allegedly raped and murdered two girls.

When watching the film and getting to know Coffey through the eyes of Edgecombe, it’s impossible to think that this man would ever do something like this.

Was John Coffey Guilty in The Green Mile? 

Paul Edgecombe did have his suspicions that Coffey was innocent, and when he found out who framed him, it made much more sense to him as to the injustice in that courtroom.

It’s unsettling to think that someone could be framed in this way just because of the racism within the judicial system. There has always been unfairness, and it’s sad to see that the vicious cycle still hasn’t been broken.

Who is the Real Killer in The Green Mile? 

The real killer is named Will ‘Wild Bill’ Wharton is the real killer in The Green Mile. He is a dangerous multiple-murderer who is on his last leg and wants to stir up some trouble before he is executed.

Is John Coffey Based on a True Story?

John Coffey is not based on a true story, although this has happened multiple times in America. Stephen King’s novel is pure fiction, but when he creates Coffey, he uses supernatural elements with his powers to layer the story through magical realism.

The powers King gives Coffey are internal and affect the mood of those in the penitentiary with him. In simple terms, King went through the history of the judicial system and its injustices to create the story.

The reason why the character of Coffey works so well is that everyone is quick to judge on appearances instead of the character or soul of the person in any situation. It’s a heartbreaking story, and even though there are supernatural elements, King ground his work on the dark history of America with Black men and unjust incarceration.

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