A Lesson Before Dying (1999)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Don Cheadle, Mekhi Phifer, and Cicely Tyson star in this drama set in the 1940s about a black man sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit and teacher who is to counsel him as he awaits execution. A Lesson Before Dying is based on a novel by Ernest J. Gaines.
PG-13 (for a scene of violence, brief strong language and some sensuality)
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Written By:
In Theaters:
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Don Cheadle
as Grant Wiggins
Cicely Tyson
as Tante Lou
Mekhi Phifer
as Jefferson
Irma P. Hall
as Miss Emma
Brent Jennings
as Rev. Ambrose
Lisa Arrindell Anderson
as Vivian Baptiste
Frank Hoyt Taylor
as Sheriff Guidry
Stuart Culpepper
as Henri Pichot
Patty Mack
as Inez
Elijah Kelley
as Clarence
Wynton Yates
as Louis Washington
Von Coulter
as Farrell Jareau
Jameelah Nuriddin
as Irene Cole
Cierra Meche
as Estelle
Walter Breaux Jr.
as Joe Claiborne
Dana Ivey
as Edna Guidry
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Critic Reviews for A Lesson Before Dying

All Critics (4)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

May 29, 2001
AV Club
Top Critic

This riveting drama stands far above most straight-to-tube efforts; in fact, its many virtues surpass many films that receive theatrical release.

Full Review… | January 12, 2007

No excerpt available.

July 6, 2005

No excerpt available.

March 27, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

What the film lacked was a tension; everything seemed too dry and predictable except for the theme, which was right on the money.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for A Lesson Before Dying


Great book made into a good movie. It's the story of a young man named Jefferson who has been convicted of a murder he did not commit and a school teache Mr Wiggins road to redemption.

Misty Smith
Misty Smith

The movie is like a bird with a broken wing. It has so much potential to sour but can never get off its feet. Don Cheadle talents aren't full realized, as in Hotel Rawanda. It's a dry and boring movie that crawls all the way to the last twenty minutes.

Martin Tam
Martin Tam

The book is better. This is a worthy attempt at making a successful adaption of the great Novel by the same title. The performances are pretty good, and the cinematography is well done. The overall idea is pretty depressing, but that's what this movie is, depressing. Also, uplifting at the same time? I wasn't necessarily impressed or appalled by the end of this film. I wouldn't recommend it

Aaron Jones
Aaron Jones

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