The Shawshank Redemption

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Sony/Columbia Released 1994

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neomichel

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9.2
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Movie Summary

Director:
Frank Darabont
Released:
1994
Rating:
R

The Shawshank Redemption is a drama film released on September 23, 1994. The film was written and directed by Frank Darabont. The Shawkshank Redemption centers around banker Andrew "Andy" Dufresne (Tim Robbins). Due to circumstantial evidence, Andy is arrested for the murders of his wife and her lover, though he claims he is innocent. A jury finds him guilty and sentences him to two consecutive life sentences at Shawshank State Penitentiary, located in Maine. Andy soon becomes friends with inmate Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman) and spends his time working in the prison's library. Because Andy is good with finance, the prison's warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton) has Andy launder money, against his better judgement. As the film continues, Andy tries to keep his persona as a good guy who was wrongly accused of a brutal crime, but that proves to be difficult when he keeps the company of rough inmates.

Metacritic Score

  • 90

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    There are times when The Shawshank Redemption comes dangerously close to sounding one of those "triumph of the spirit" notes. But most of it is eloquently restrained. [23 Sept 1994...

  • 88

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    If the film is perhaps a little slow in its middle passages, maybe that is part of the idea, too, to give us a sense of the leaden passage of time, before the glory of the final re...

  • 50

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Paradoxically, it is Shawshank's zealousness in trying to cast a rosy glow over the prison experience that makes us feel we're doing harder time than the folks inside. [23 Sept 1994]

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  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Zihuatanejo, the Mexican paradise where Andy and Red go after prison, actually exists. It is now a tourist city in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero. But in 1966, when Andy escaped, it was still a small fishing village which matches how Andy first described it to Red.

    • The $370,000 Andy stole from the Warden in 1966 may not seem a huge amount for 20 years incarceration but adjusted for inflation to 2010, Andy stole the equivalent of $2,599,855.25.

    • The prisoners are drinking Stroh's beer on the roof.

    • Andy Dufresne's Prison ID Number is 37927.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Red: (narrating) Not long after the warden deprived us of his company, I got a postcard in the mail. It was blank, but the postmark said Fort Hancock, Texas. Fort Hancock... right on the border. That's where Andy crossed. When I picture him heading south in his own car with the top down, it always makes me laugh. Andy Dufresne... who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side. Andy Dufresne... headed for the Pacific.

    • Red: (narrating) I could see why some of the boys took him for snobby. He had a quiet way about him, a walk and a talk that just wasn't normal around here. He strolled, like a man in a park without a care or a worry in the world, like he had on an invisible coat that would shield him from this place. Yeah, I think it would be fair to say... I liked Andy from the start.

    • Red: (narrating) Sometimes it makes me sad, though... Andy being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend.

    • Red: (narrating) And that's how it came to pass that on the second-to-last day of the job, the convict crew that tarred the plate factory roof in the spring of forty-nine wound up sitting in a row at ten o'clock in the morning drinking icy cold, Bohemia-style beer, courtesy of the hardest screw that ever walked a turn at Shawshank State Prison.
      Captain Hadley: Drink up while it's cold, ladies.
      Red: (narrating) The colossal prick even managed to sound magnanimous.

    • Red: (narrating) We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the lords of all creation. As for Andy - he spent that break hunkered in the shade, a strange little smile on his face, watching us drink his beer.

    • Andy Dufresne: If they ever try to trace any of those accounts, they're gonna end up chasing a figment of my imagination.
      Red: Well, I'll be damned. Did I say you were good? Shit, you're a Rembrandt!
      Andy Dufresne: Yeah. The funny thing is - on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.

    • Red: (narrating) In 1966, Andy Dufresne escaped from Shawshank prison. All they found of him was a muddy set of prison clothes, a bar of soap, and an old rock hammer, damn near worn down to the nub. I remember thinking it would take a man six hundred years to tunnel through the wall with it. Old Andy did it in less than twenty. Oh, Andy loved geology. I imagine it appealed to his meticulous nature. An ice age here, million years of mountain building there. Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes really, pressure, and time. That, and a big goddamn poster. Like I said, in prison a man will do most anything to keep his mind occupied. Turns out Andy's favorite hobby was totin' his wall out into the exercise yard, a handful at a time. I guess after Tommy was killed, Andy decided he'd been here just about long enough. Andy did like he was told, buffed those shoes to a high mirror shine. The guards simply didn't notice. Neither did I... I mean, seriously, how often do you really look at a mans shoes? Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit smelling foulness I can't even imagine, or maybe I just don't want to. Five hundred yards... that's the length of five football fields, just shy of half a mile.

    • Red: (narrating) I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can't be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.

    • Red: (narrating) His first night in the joint, Andy Dufresne cost me two packs of cigarettes. He never made a sound.

    • Red: These walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That's institutionalized.
      Heywood: Shit. I could never get like that.
      Prisoner: Oh yeah? Say that when you been here as long as Brooks has.
      Red: Goddamn right. They send you here for life, and that's exactly what they take. The part that counts, anyway.

    • Red: (narrating) The first night's the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in naked as the day you were born, skin burning and half blind from that delousing shit they throw on you, and when they put you in that cell... and those bars slam home... that's when you know it's for real. A whole life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it.

    • Red: (narrating) I must admit I didn't think much of Andy first time I laid eyes on him, looked like a stiff breeze would blow him over. That was my first impression of the man.

    • 1967 Parole Hearings Man: Ellis Boyd Redding, your files say you've served 40 years of a life sentence. Do you feel you've been rehabilitated?
      Red: Rehabilitated? Well, now let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means.
      1967 Parole Hearings Man: Well, it means that you're ready to rejoin society...
      Red: I know what *you* think it means, sonny. To me it's just a made up word. A politician's word, so young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie, and have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?
      1967 Parole Hearings Man: Well, are you?
      Red: There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret. Not because I'm in here, or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try and talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone and this old man is all that's left. I got to live with that. Rehabilitated? It's just a bullshit word. So you go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a shit.

  • NOTES (3)

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More Info About This Movie

Themes

keeping secrets, isolation from society, high stake situations, pondering life, Crime