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Films to See Before You Die: #14 The Shawshank Redemption


The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Director: Frank Darabont

Cast: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Clancy Brown, Bob Gunton

Synopsis: In 1947, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a banker in Maine, is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, a golf pro. He is given two life sentences and sent to the notoriously harsh Shawshank Prison. Andy always claims his innocence, but his cold and measured demeanor led many to doubt his word. During the first night, the chief guard, Byron Hadley (Clancy Brown), savagely beats a newly arrived inmate because of his crying and hysterics. The inmate later dies in the infirmary because the prison doctor had left for the night. Meanwhile Andy remained steadfast and composed. Ellis Redding (Morgan Freeman), also known as Red, bet against others that Andy would be the one to break down first and loses a considerable amount of cash. About a month later, Andy approaches Red, who runs contraband inside the walls of Shawshank. He asks if Red could find him a rock hammer, an instrument he claims is necessary for his hobby of rock collecting and sculpting. Red doesn’t think too much of Andy at first thinking that the general way about him didn’t suit Shawshank. Andy become quite friendly with Captain Hadley after he helps him with his taxes which eventually leads to an uncomfortable alliance with Warden Norton (Bob Gunton). After spending many years there dealing with the harsh reality of being in prison Andy finally has enough and plans his escape.

Trivia: Director Frank Darabont watched Goodfellas every Sunday while shooting Shawshank and drew inspiration from it on using voice-over narration and showing the passage of time. Rob Reiner loved Frank Darabont’s script so much that he offered $2.5 million for the rights to the script so he could direct it. Darabont seriously considered Reiner’s offer but ultimately decided that it was his “chance to do something really great” by directing the movie himself. Reiner wanted Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise to play Red and Andy respectively.

Why I think you should see this: I am not as well acquainted with this film as I am with most films on this list having only watched this movie twice but it was obvious about 30 minutes into my first viewing that this was something special. Morgan Freeman is just incredible as Red and Tim Robbins is amazing as Andy Dufresne. The narration of this movie set off a chain reaction of which almost any movie or documentary needing a voice over narration at least offered it to Morgan Freeman his voice is just perfect. I loved Clancy Brown as the sadistic Captain Hadley. This is one of the best movies ever and most people have seen it so check it out again for fun.


About Trevor

Hi my name is Trevor and this is my blog! Films are a passion of mine. I am a total film geek. I own over 700 films and the collection is ever growing. I studied Film Studies and Scriptwriting in College. What I have learned about films is mostly self taught.

10 responses to “Films to See Before You Die: #14 The Shawshank Redemption

  1. jazfagan

    I soooooooooooo Loved this movie………Jaz

    • Trevor

      Hey Jaz, so I picked up Legend on Blu-ray and rewatched it but I watched the directors cut which is like 20 minutes longer. I kind of preferred the directors cut because it gave you more time with this beautiful world Ridley Scott had constructed. Have you seen the directors cut and if so which version did you prefer?

  2. noa834 ⋅

    Me too. Powerful powerful powerful and the ending is so satisfying.

  3. One Of The Best Films, Period. Loved Loved LOVED IT!

  4. jmount43 ⋅

    Classic in every sense of the word.

  5. Didn’t know about the Goodfellas connection. Interesting. Great film!

  6. Fantastic film! Powerful, griping, sad, and a great redemption. 🙂

  7. This is one of the movies I like to watch over and over. I always think books are better than movies, but this is one time when they’re equal. The sound of the music floating through the prison is something that can’t be captured on the page nearly as well as it is on screen.

  8. The thought of Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise as those two characters is a casting nightmare. I know it’s easy to say without any possible proof or refutation but I can’t imagine the movie would have been a tenth as good or successful with those two, even though they may be great actors elsewhere.

    Great list, I’m enjoying it, but wishing I had a way to watch movies now!

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