Dead Man Walking

Matthew Poncelet has been in prison six years, awaiting his execution by lethal injection for killing a teenage couple. He committed the crime in company with a man named Carl Vitello, who received life imprisonment as a result of being able to pay for a better lawyer.
Now Poncelet appeals to Sister Helen as the day of his execution comes closer and closer. He wants her to help him with a final appeal.

She decides to visit him, and he comes across as arrogant, sexist and racist, apparently not even pretending to feel any kind of remorse. Instead he affirms his innocence, insisting it was Carl who killed the two teenagers.

Convincing an experienced attorney to take on Matthew's case pro bono, Sister Helen tries to achieve lifelong confinement for Poncelet. Over time, after many visits, she establishes a special relationship with him.
While doing that she gets to know Poncelet’s mother and the victims’ families. The victims’ families don’t understand Sister Helen's efforts to help Poncelet, claiming she is "taking his side." Instead they desire "absolute justice," as they call it, namely his life for the lives of their children.

Sister Helen’s application is declined, so the day of the execution comes closer and closer. The only salvation for Poncelet is – so Sister Prejean thinks – a confession.
It’s not until the end he admits having killed the boy and raped the girl. Just before his execution, he appeals to the boy's parents for forgiveness and tells the girl's parents he hopes his death brings them peace. In the end, Poncelet is administered lethal injection and given a proper burial. The murdered boy's father attends the ceremony and begins to pray with Sister Helen, ending the film. By

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Dead Man Walking (1996)