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Garland Greene (Steve Buscemi)

Garland Greene (Born 1953) is a convict in Con Air. Originally depicted as a villain, he was later revealed to be more of a comedic anti-hero, who recovers from his insanity at the end of the film and is the only convict from the Jailbird who escapes alive and well.

He was portrayed by Steve Buscemi.

Con Air[]

Greene is portrayed as being an insane serial killer, notably for the murder of close to thirty individuals along the eastern coast of the United States. One of his most noticeable physical features are his blue bug-like eyes.

Greene is brought to Carson City for a prison transfer aboard the plane "the Jailbird". Unknown to the guards, the plane had been hijacked by its own prisoners, led by Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom. Greene was transported from a heavy security vehicle, with numerous restraints, causing a stir among the disguised convicts posing as guards. Parolee and ex-military hero Cameron Poe is mutually shocked by Greene's presence on the plane. His prison friend "Baby-O" is also disturbed by Greene's murders, identifying him as "the Marietta Mangler" and that his killings made "the Manson Family look like the Partridge Family."

Shortly after escaping Carson City, Grissom orders Nathan "Diamond Dog" Jones to release Greene, whom he considers a "national treasure", praising his crimes. Diamond Dog is visibly shaken by Greene's intimidating features. Later, Greene sits next to Poe, musing about fellow prisoner Billy Bedlam's mental behavior. A while later, Poe is forced to kill Bedlam, who became aware of Poe's status as a free man. Greene deduces the aftermath and discusses the semantics of murder and insanity, much to Poe's disgust.

When the Jailbird lands at Lerner Airfield, Greene separates himself from the other criminals and meets a girl playing by herself in an abandoned swimming pool. The girl invites him to play with her, but soon questions his unhealthy-looking appearance. When Greene explains there is no medicine for his condition, the girl invites him to sing "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." It looks grim for the girl, but later, when Grissom's plans to escape are foiled, he orders the Jail Bird to take off, Greene having rejoined the other prisoners, carrying a doll given to him by the little girl, who is last seen waving goodbye to the plane.

When the Jailbird is forced to make a landing in Las Vegas, Greene is again singing merrily "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" during the descent. The plane eventually crashes into the Sands Hotel and Casino, Greene evades capture by the police. He is last seen playing craps at a casino, wearing a jacket and enjoying a drink, feeling lucky and his appearance looking more healthy and sane.


  • Con Air director Simon West and Steve Buscemi studied the lives and cases of five real-life killers for the role of Garland Greene and managed to incorporate many of their elements into the character:
    • Ed Gein: Butchering corpses and keeping decapitated heads along with dismembered body parts, wearing clothing and apparel made of human skin
    • Ted Bundy: Homicidal tendencies, driving through states to avoid law enforcement
    • Charles Manson: murderous instincts, cult personality
    • Jeffrey Dahmer: Calm demeanor and insanity
    • John Wayne Gacy: child murder

Con Air Characters
Heroes Cameron Poe - Vince Larkin
Villains Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom - Nathan "Diamond Dog" Jones - Francisco Cindino
Allies Mike "Baby-O" O'Dell - Sally Bishop - Duncan Malloy
Henchmen William "Billy Bedlam" Bedford - Johnny "Johnny-23" Baca - Swamp Thing - Pinball
Other characters Garland Greene - Tricia Poe - Casey Poe