The 1999 American comedy film ‘Life’ is a classic example of how two people who fought finally became friends and ended up overcoming a challenging situation together. The film is about two black-American New Yorkers who were wrongfully convicted of a murder they did not commit. They end up spending 65 years in jail as a result even if they barely knew each other before they were accused of the crime.
Ray Gibson, played by Eddie Murphy, is a hustler and a petty thief who usually pick pockets people in some of the finest New York entertainment establishments of the day. On the other hand, Claude Banks, played by Martin Lawrence, is an honest, hard-working, and often selfish man who has just landed a job as a bank teller in one of the biggest banks in the city.
Claude invites his girlfriend to a nice restaurant for dinner so that he could give her the big news about his new job. He also wants to propose to his girlfriend on this momentous occasion. Before he pops the question, he heads over to the bathroom where two men assault him he owes money. Since he cannot pay for his dinner, he ends up in the bad graces of the restaurant’s owner. Ray is also in trouble because he has been running numbers in the mob boss’s territory. To pay off their debt, they both agree to do some bootlegging.
Throughout their journey south of New York, they are constantly bickering with Ray making jokes about Claude. Claude is also condescending towards Ray because he perceives himself to better due to his higher education. They reach an establishment where they plan to spend the night. Here, a man swindles Ray in a card game but he runs away before Ray can catch up to him. When the duo leave the establishment, the body of the swindler is thrust against Claude and some rednecks appear. The pair is taken to jail and they are convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
In prison, the duo is inseparable as they continuously plot ways of escaping from jail. However, at first Claude wanted to get out of jail legally by himself. He asks his girlfriend Daisy to talk to his attorney to file an appeal on his behalf. The appeal fails, and to make the matters worse, Daisy ends up falling in love with the lawyer and they are planning to get married. Daisy is obviously put off by how selfish Claude is by trying to get himself out and not his ‘friend’ Ray as well. Ray includes Claude in all of his escape plans demonstrating how unselfish he could be.
They end up in a fight over one of their escape plans and do not speak for the next 28 years. They only begin talking when they are moved into the Superintendent’s house where they would live and work. During their stay here, they encounter Sheriff Warren Pike, the man who framed them those many years ago. He brags about framing them and is consequently shot by the Superintendent. The Superintendent believes in their innocence and is set to write pardon papers but he dies of a heart attack on the day he was supposed to do so.
They remain in jail as a result and Claude is content with dying in the prison. When they are 90 years old and living in the infirmary, Ray devises another plan to escape but Claude will not have it. On that same night, the infirmary catches fire and everyone manages to escape except the duo. Everyone believes that the two are dead but it turns out it was one of Ray’s escape plans. They stole two bodies from the morgue and planted them in the infirmary. When the firefighters were called, they hid in their trucks and departed with them in the morning. When the two bodies were discovered, everyone thought it was Claude and Ray.
The last scene of the movie, we see the two elderly men in a Yankees baseball game. The film ends by showing that the two are back on good terms again but they still constantly bicker. The film is an epic example of how two people fighting can become friends in the end