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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. more...

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This movie is primarily about Andy Dufresne's life in prison after being convicted of the murder of his wife and her lover, despite his protests of innocence.

The Shawshank Redemption has repeatedly been voted as the second greatest movie ever made, according to the Internet Movie Database Top 250 Movies of All Time. Rated over 170,000 times, it has the second most votes of any of the 250 movies on the IMDb list. This list is derived from the votes of IMDb registered users.

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 failed to win a single one.

Surprisingly, the film performed poorly in its theatrical run, but it is now one of the most famous examples of a film becoming a major success via the home video market. The poor box office performance was partially a result of competition from other films.


The movie begins with Andy Dufresne being wrongly convicted, despite persistent pleas of innocence, for the murder of his wife and her lover. He is sent to the fictitious Shawshank Prison (the prison the movie was filmed in is the old, abandoned Ohio State Reformatory), to serve his sentence.

At the prison he befriends Red (Morgan Freeman), and several other prisoners (including Brooks Hatlen, James Whitmore). Andy is very soft spoken, and his steady voice and calm demeanor aid in the trust of men in the prison. His pre-prison, professional life as a banker, and his knowledge of accounting and income taxes earns him the trust of the captain of the guard, Captain Hadley (Clancy Brown), and eventually, the warden (Bob Gunton).

In prison, Andy endures injustice and mistreatment by the guards and repeated rapes at the hands of fellow prisoners. He decides that everyone in the prison needs to have some enjoyment in their life as he locks himself in the wardens office and blasts music over the loudspeakers to all of the prisoners. The calming effect of the music hits everyone except the warden who breaks into his office and places Andy in solitary confinement for over a month. Andy's life in prison was brutal and unforgiving, but he takes each blow in stride because he has a brilliant plan brewing that no one knows about until the end of the film.

Andy brings a sense of civility to his prison life through his hobby of working with rocks, treating others with civility, and continually defying authorities through simple acts of decency. Through his years and years of being confined in the prison Andy has been working every night on his escape. He chips away at the rock in his cell a little each night to form a tunnel that eventually leads to his freedom. On the night of his escape Andy crawls through a sewage pipe to come out clean on the other side of the prison. Being a free man he retrieves the money he has been collecting under a different name and escapes to Mexico.

Red, Andy's best friend in prison waits for his life sentence to be up. After Andy has gone, Red takes on Andy's "hopeful" spirit and decides to make the most of his life in and out of prison. Daring to refer to one of the parole guards as "sonny", Red learns something about himself and the world Andy had demonstrated through his stay at Shawshank — that there is a place inside yourself and outside the prison that isn't made of stone. There are things to hope for — things greater than prison will lead you to believe.

Nearing the end of the film, Red is released and finds himself going down the same path Brooks had taken years before; living in the same boarding house and working at the same job. It is a promise he made to Andy, however, that saves him from Brooks' fate. It is in this scene that Red understands a quote Andy muttered once in the prison yard, "Get busy living or get busy dying," to which Red responds, "That's damn right." Red decides to take his life into his own hands and for once live it to his own ability. He leaves Shawshank prison an old man with only one thing left to hope for, freedom.


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