Poster of The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) is one of the greatest films ever produced. It appears on top of almost every best movie of the all-time list. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) is a prison break crime drama that is based on Stephen King’s 1982 novel Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. The Shawshank Redemption follows the story of a banker, Andy Dufresne, who is given a life sentence in prison for his wife’s and her lover’s murder, though he says that he is innocent. In the prison, he becomes friends with a fellow prisoner Ellis “Red” Redding. He also gets involved and helps the prison warden Samuel Norton in his illegal money laundering business.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) stars Tim Robbins in the lead role as Andy Dufresne, Morgan Freeman in the lead role as Ellis “Red” Redding, Bob Gunton in a supporting role as Samuel Norton, and Clancy Brown in a supporting role as Byron Hadley. The renowned Hollywood director Frank Darabont directed and wrote the screenplay for the film, and it was produced by Niki Marvin. Roger Deakins did the cinematography of the film. Castle Rock Entertainment’s production company granted Darabont a $25 million budget, fourteen days after he submitted his script for the film. The film is set in Maine, Mansfield, in the state of Ohio. The Ohio State Reformatory served as the Shawshank Prison.

Andy Dufresne meets Ellis 'Red' Redding for the first time in The Shawshank Redemption (1994).

The film premiered on September 10, 1994, at the Toronto International Film Festival, and released in the United States on September 23, 1994. Although The Shawshank Redemption received very promising (positive) reviews upon its release, it did not do well at the box office. With its budget of $25 million, it only grossed $18 million on its initial theatrical release. The critical acclaim, good reviews, and award nominations gave the film a second chance. On its theatrical re-release, it went to gross over $58 million worldwide. The distribution company of the film Columbia Pictures sent over 320,000 VHS copies throughout the United States.

All thanks to word of mouth and award nominations, The Shawshank Redemption became one of 1995’s top rented films. The Shawshank Redemption is one of the greatest films ever made. It has been almost 30 years since its release, and it is still being broadcast regularly, and it is popular in many countries.  

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) sitting in 
 guard's office in the 1994 crime film The Shawshank Redemption.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994): Watch Now

The Shawshank Redemption (Rating and Reception)

 The Shawshank Redemption (1994) is one of the highest-rated films on every film rating website. With a rating of 9.3/10, it is the highest-rated film on IMDb, with 2.5 million ratings which are also the most ratings for a film. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes The Shawshank Redemption holds a 91% approval rate and it holds an 80% rating on Metacritic. It is also on #1 on IMDb’s Top Movies Chart.

Andy Dufresne and captain Hadley.

The critics loved the film and gave it great reviews, and many included it in their top 10 movies list. The performances by Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins also received critical acclaim. They loved the story, the screenplay, the music, the dialogs, and just everything about the film. Roger Deakins also received very good reviews for his cinematography in the film.

Awards and Nominations

  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994) received seven academy award nominations; Best Picture for Niki Marvin, Best Actor in a Leading Role for Morgan Freeman, Best Cinematography for Roger Deakins, Best Film Editing for Richard Francis-Bruce, Best Music and Original Score for Thomas Newman, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published for Frank Darabont, and Best Sound.
  • The Shawshank Redemption received two Golden Globe nominations in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion – Picture Drama category for Morgan Freeman, and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture category for Frank Darabont.
  • It also received two Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role category for Morgan Freeman and for Tim Robbins in the same category.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) received 43 nominations and 21 awards from different local and international award shows.

Tim Robbins, Frank Darabont and Morgan Freeman at the Oscars 1995.

Production Company:                   Castle Rock Entertainment

Director:                              Frank Darabont

Producer:                            Niki Marvin

Film Duration:                  142 minutes

Release Date:                    September 10, 1994 (TIFF), September 23, 1994 (United States)

Plot

A former genius banker Andy Dufresne is found guilty of the murder of his wife and her lover and is given two life sentences in the Shawshank State Penitentiary. In the prison, he becomes friends with a fellow prisoner Ellis “Red” Redding. He also gets involved with prison warden Norton’s money-laundering operation. He must keep going and survive in the prison and never lose hope, and do everything he can to get out of prison.

The prison warden discovers that Andy has escaped from the prison in the 1994 crime film The Shawshank Redemption.

Amazing Facts about Shawshank Redemption

Many great actors of the time were considered for the role of Andy Dufresne in the film such as Kevin Costner, Tom Hanks, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, Jeff Bridges, and Tom Cruise.

The prison yard scene when Dufresne talks to Red for the first time took almost 9 hours to shoot. The lead actor Morgan Freeman kept throwing the baseball as required for the scene, without complaint. The next day he showed up on set with his arm in a sling.

The Shawshank Redemption is Morgan Freeman’s favorite film of his own. And it is also Stephen King’s favorite film adaptation based on his own work.

All prisoners listening to Opera that Andy Dufresne played.

There is a mugshot of younger Red in the film, which is actually a mugshot of Morgan Freeman’s son, Alfonso Freeman. Alfonso Freeman also appeared in the film as a prisoner in the scene when prisoners are shouting “Fresh fish, Fresh fish.”

Though The Shawshank Redemption (1994) is one of the greatest films ever created, it was a box office failure. Its initial earnings of $18 million did not even meet its production budget. Thanks to good reviews and award nominations that it went to gross around $58 million.

The Cast of Shawshank Redemption (1994).

There are many theories why the film did not do good on the box office such as; because of its competitor movies Forest Gump (1994) and Pulp Fiction (1994), the prison movies were not so popular at the time, lack of female characters, and its title.

The lead actor of the film Morgan Freeman said in an interview that the reason The Shawshank Redemption was a box office failure was its difficult name. As he explained that at the time word of mouth meant a lot in the success of a film because there was no internet back then.

Tim Robbins, who played Andy Dufresne, in the film locked himself in solitary confinement to prepare for the role. He said that he wanted to get a feel about what it was like in prison.

Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne in the 1994 prison break crime film The Shawshank Redemption.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) is the first film on IMDb to receive over 2 million votes, and still is the film with the most votes.

Hope is the last word spoken in the film, which is the theme of the film.

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) breaks out of prison in The Shawshank Redemption (1994).

For being “Historically, Culturally, and Aesthetically significant”, the United States Library of Congress selected The Shawshank Redemption for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2015.

The Empire Magazine listed The Shawshank Redemption (1994) on #4 on its list of 500 Greatest Movies of all time in 2015.

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