The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 movie, written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. The film stars Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne and Morgan Freeman as Ellis "Red" Redding.

The plot of Shawshank revolves around Andy Dufresne's life in prison after being convicted of the murder of his wife and her lover. Despite a poor box office reception (partially due to competition from the commercial success of films such as Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, and Speed), Shawshank received favourable reviews from critics and enjoyed a remarkable life on cable television, home video, and DVD, and continues to be noticed by popular culture. It is consistently ranked amongst the best movies of all time.

Having been wrongly convicted of murdering both his wife and her lover, Andy Dufresne is sentenced to two life sentences, and is sent to the notoriously harsh Shawshank Prison. During his first night, the barbaric treatment by prison guards, most notably the chief guard Byron Hadley, leads to the death of a fellow new inmate. About a month later, Dufresne becomes acquainted with Ellis Redding, also known as Red, and his friends. A friendship begins after Red, "the man who knows how to get things" procures a rock hammer for Dufresne, an object he wishes to own in order to pursue a hobby in rock collecting.

Over the first few years of his imprisonment, Dufresne works in the prison laundry service, and is dogged by threats and harassment, and instances of rape by a group of sadistic homosexuals known as the "Sisters". Andy's former life as a banker and his knowledge of accounting and income taxes come to the attention of Hadley during an outdoor work detail, and after assisting the chief guard with an inheritance sum, Andy is moved to work with Brooks Hatlen in the library, where he shortly sets up a make-shift office to deal with finance related queries brought to him by various guards. His practice becomes so popular that even opposing guard teams in an inter-prison baseball match bring work to him. While working within the library, Dufresne begins to canvas support for improving the library at a relentless pace. When Andy is brutally raped again, the prison guards commit vigilante punishment against the offender, and it becomes clear that they are now protecting Dufresne from the mistreatment. When the rapist is permanently hospitalized, Andy's victimisation comes to a close.

Warden Samuel Norton soon capitalises on Dufresne's ability and deduces a program to put prison inmates to work for local contracts in construction, road-building, and other labour intensive projects. Dufresne is corruptly employed to hide the embezzled funds for Norton, and he does this by 'creating' an alternate fraudulent identity through which all the paperwork is completed. In the same year, the prison library is extended and Dufresne begins educating inmates to pass high school diplomas. A young prisoner named Tommy enters Shawshank in 1965 who corroborates Andy's tale of innocence. Fearing the loss of the lucrative criminal funds that Andy administers, Norton has Tommy killed and Andy sent to solitary confinement. Two months later, Andy returns to the main enclosures a seemingly broken man, giving abstract instructions to Red, and his friends are concerned that he may commit suicide. The following morning, he is missing from his cell and an investigation is launched.

Following the events that led to his departure, it becomes clear that Andy Dufresne escaped the prison having tunnelled through the walls with the rock hammer given to him shortly after his arrival. Having chronicled the corruption within the prison, he sends his notes to a local newspaper, and walks away with Norton's fortunes, dressed as the man 'with the bank accounts'. Refusing to be arrested, Norton commits suicide. When Red finally is released from prison, he follows the instructions given to him by Andy to find a further note hidden beneath a tree, which eventually leads him to meet Andy on the coast of Mexico.


* Tim Robbins: Andy Dufresne
* Morgan Freeman: Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding
* Bob Gunton: Warden Samuel Norton
* William Sadler: Heywood
* Clancy Brown: Captain Byron Hadley
* Gil Bellows: Tommy Williams
* Mark Rolston: Bogs Diamond
* James Whitmore: Brooks Hatlen
* Jeffrey DeMunn: District Attorney (1946)
* Bill Bolender: Elmo Blatch
* Dion Anderson: Head Bull Haig

Darabont secured the film adaptation rights in 1987 from Stephen King after impressing the author with his short film adaptation of "The Woman in the Room" in 1983. This is one of the more famous Dollar Deals made by King with aspiring filmmakers. Darabont later directed The Green Mile, which was based on another work by Stephen King.

The Shawshank Redemption was filmed in and around the city of Mansfield, Ohio, located in north-central Ohio. The prison featured in the film is the old, abandoned Ohio State Reformatory immediately north of downtown Mansfield. The Reformatory buildings have been used in several other films, including Harry and Walter Go to New York, Air Force One and Tango and Cash. Most of the prison yard has now been demolished to make room for expansion of the adjacent Richland Correctional Institute, but the Reformatory's Gothic-style ("Castle Dracula") Administration Building remains standing and, due to its prominent use in films, has become a tourist attraction. Several scenes were also shot in Portland, Maine and Lucas, Ohio. The real warden of the Richland Correctional Institute had a cameo appearance in Shawshank as the prisoner seated directly behind Tommy on his bus ride to prison.

The photo of a young Red on his parole forms is that of Morgan Freeman's son, Alfonso. Alfonso is also seen in the yard when Andy's load of prisoners is first dropped off, shouting enthusiastically "Fresh Fish! Fresh Fish" whilst reeling in an imaginary line. Alfonso later played a parody of his father's character, Red, in a short spoof titled The Sharktank Redemption, available on the second disc of the 10th anniversary DVD.

Roger Ebert suggests that the integrity of Andy Dufresne is an important theme in the story line, especially in prison, where integrity is lacking. Andy is an individual of integrity (here referring to adherence to a code of morality) among a host of criminals with little integrity.

Some critics have interpreted the film as a Christian parable due to its handling of hope and redemption, and some Christian reviewers have referred to it as a film "true to Christian principles." In the director's commentary track on the tenth anniversary DVD, Darabont denies any intent to create such a parable, and calls such interpretations of the film "fantastic."

In 1999, film critic Roger Ebert listed Shawshank on his "Great Movies" list, and in reader polls by the film magazine Empire, the film ranked fifth in 2004 and first in 2006 on the lists for greatest movie of all time. The film has also repeatedly been voted by the registered users of the Internet Movie Database as one of the greatest movies ever made. According to the database's list of "Top 250 Movies of All Time", it is one of only two movies with a 9.1 average rating (the other being The Godfather). However, according to the page which lists the movie's information, it ranks a 9.2, surpassing the The Godfather in the average and calling into judgment why IMDB's Top 250 Movies of All Time does not list the same information. It also has the most votes of any of the movies on the list. At times, it is the highest rated film on IMDB and the Yahoo movies database.

In the 1994 Academy Awards the movie was nominated for seven awards (Best Picture, Best Actor–Morgan Freeman, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Sound) but, in the shadow of 1994's big winner Forrest Gump, failed to win a single one.

In the Stephen King novella, Apt Pupil, Arthur Denker mentions that the banker who helped him buy stocks was named Andy Dufresne, and in the movie adaptation of the King novel Dolores Claiborne, the titular character threatens her abusive husband with a "term at Shawshank." Shawshank State Prison is also mentioned in It.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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