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The Shawshank Redemption
Year:
1994
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama
IMDB rating:
9.3
Director:
Frank Darabont
Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne
Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding
Bob Gunton as Warden Norton
William Sadler as Heywood
Clancy Brown as Captain Hadley
Gil Bellows as Tommy
Mark Rolston as Bogs Diamond
James Whitmore as Brooks Hatlen
Jeffrey DeMunn as 1946 D.A.
Neil Giuntoli as Jigger
Brian Libby as Floyd
David Proval as Snooze
Joseph Ragno as Ernie
Jude Ciccolella as Guard Mert
Joe Ragno as Ernie
Storyline: Chronicles the experiences of a formerly successful banker as a prisoner in the gloomy jailhouse of Shawshank after being found guilty of a crime he did not commit. The film portrays the man's unique way of dealing with his new, torturous life; along the way he befriends a number of fellow prisoners, most notably a wise long-term inmate named Red.
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Reviews
The greatest movie ever!
The Shawshank Redemption is easily my favorite movie of all time. It has every single element that should be looked for in a film. A brilliant script (with the best dialogue ever written), a perfect cast (not one bad performance), and not to mention an original, complex and ultimately uplifting story.

Based on the Stephen King novel, Shawshank Redemption is a delight from first scene to last. The opening is a brilliantly done sequence with Andy's (Tim Robbins) trial intercut with his actions on the night of his crime. This leads to him being taken to Shawshank with one of the best shots ever captured on film, with the camera sweeping from behind the prison bus in the air and diving into the middle of the prison yard. There Andy meets Red (Morgan Freeman) and others, and a gradual friendship begins to develop.

This movie has that certain indefinable screen magic, every line of dialogue spoken has real conviction and meaning, and the performances in this movie are nothing short of magnificent. Tim Robbins delivers his best screen performance ever, as the quietly spoken Andy. Here is a character like no other, so vivid, so real, that you can't help but like him. Morgan Freeman also delivers his best work ever as Red, Andy's friend. Freeman, while playing a different character from Robbins, is also able to give off a quiet dignity for his character.

The supporting cast is perfect. From Bob Gunton, chillingly evil, but never over the top as to become cartoonish, as the Warden. Clancy Brown, as the prison Guard Hadley is brilliant, as is Veteran James Whitmore, as Brooks, who while given relatively small screen time is brilliant as the lifer con who's sad journey the film details.

There is not a dull moment or poor line of dialogue in this film. Credit first time director Frank Darabont for this remarkable piece of work. He is a director of the future. I still can't believe this was his first movie!, he will find it hard to top this masterful film. Special mention must be made of the music score by Thomas Newman, who has composed a simple, but perfect score for this film. His scoring of the scene with Andy and Red sitting up against the wall discussing their plans for release is nothing short of brilliant, as is the rest of his score.

I encourage everyone who has not seen this to grab it now, as it is surely not only the best movie of the 90's but the best movie of all time.

***** out of *****
1998-08-10
Relentless Storytelling
I reviewed this film recently with a specific question in mind. At this writing, this film is ranked by IMDB viewers as the second best film ever made. The SECOND BEST EVER MADE!

Why? This was my question.

The acting is good. Robbins and Freeman are quality craftsmen in the Caine and Hackman tradition. But these are not truly great actors and in any case, they are only asked to play appealing persons, deliberately less-dimensional than real (as opposed to believably hyper-real which is much harder).

The director is a first-timer, and it shows. There is simple framing and staging here. In fact, there seems to be a deliberate strategy to be as plain as possible. And that is the core of where I think people find the appeal of this film.

The story is very tight in the sense of narrative flow. All the chunks are the same size, with no fancy rhythm. There is no distracting backstory. No element has irony, not writing, acting, shooting, even the score.

Now for me, I expect and demand art in my films -- that's why I register this as plain. But I think it is well liked because it is totally without pretense. It is straight and honest; people seem hungry for honesty, and this has the appearance of what they need at just the right time.

Is a film great because it merely fulfills? I hope many people think not, and dream that this film moves down the list to be replaced with more intelligent efforts.
2000-11-04
"I Had To Go To Prison To Learn To Be A Crook"
None of the usual otherworld creatures that populate the works of Stephen King are to be found in The Shawshank Redemption. But the real world of that Maine prison has some bizarre rules of its own and there's a whole new reality within those walls.

In the tradition of Cool Hand Luke and Birdman Of Alcatraz comes Tim Robbins who was a banker on the outside, but when he caught his wife cheating on him with a golf pro from their country club, he's convicted of putting eight bullets in them, four apiece and tried and sentenced to two consecutive life terms in Shawshank prison. Like Luke and Bob Stroud he works out his own rehabilitation and rebels against the prison system.

He may be a con, but Robbins still has all his knowledge of finances and pretty soon he's made himself quite invaluable to the warden and the rest of the staff at the prison. At the same time he and the cell block scrounger Morgan Freeman develop a close personal relationship. In the end they beat the system in a most unique way.

There have been some classic prison films made ever since The Big House at the dawn of the talkies. Two I've already mentioned. My favorite prison film is Robert Redford's Brubaker, but The Shawshank Redemption comes pretty close. As does The Green Mile which was also directed by Frank Darabont.

Darabont got an Oscar nomination as did the film itself and as did Morgan Freeman for Best Actor. The Shawshank Redemption was in for a flock more Oscar nominations in 1994. A couple other good performances are that of James Whitmore the institutionalized con who is there for 50 years and paroled and just can't make it on the outside. He will break your heart as will Gil Bellows who plays a fresh, but rather likable young con who runs afoul of the warden.

Speaking of which Bob Gunton as the warden will positively chill you with his corruption. You would have to go back all the way to the James Cagney classic, The Mayor Of Hell where Dudley Digges was the warden of boys reformatory to find a warden that is as sanctimonious and as corrupt as Gunton. This is a man who gives Bibles out to each inmate hoping that the reading of the Good Book will improve the moral fiber of the convicts. At the same time he's raking in money every which way he can and a rather special punishment is meted out to him by Robbins.

The Shawshank Redemption may not have monsters and other worldly creatures that normally characterize a Stephen King story. But the world of Shawshank prison is bizarre enough for any normal person if you see this wonderfully crafted and acted film.
2011-02-17
Awesome movie - The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
It's very rare that you find such diversity in a movie now days. I like the story and it's concept.A thumping good ode to friendship, hope, wit, wiles and wisdom, brimming with crackling characters and topped with the most twister of twists since "The Crying Game." The Shawshank Redemption is a powerful and uplifting, not to mention Oscar-worthy film. In 2006, it was ranked as the greatest film ever by Empire, a film magazine. The year it came out it was nominated for 7 academy awards but did not win a single one because of a movie you may all remember, Forrest Gump. It's the no-bull performances that hold back the flood of banalities. Robbins and Freeman connect with the bruised souls of Andy and Red to create something undeniably powerful and moving. Some of "The Shawshank Redemption'' comes across as outrageously improbable. Yet the film keeps pulling you back with its sense of striving humanity slowly turning the tables against evil.
2013-07-15
information
Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) bides his time during twenty years' imprisonment for the murder of his wife in this adaptation of a Stephen King story. And being Stephen King, the setting is once again Maine, though you'll find 'Shawshank State Prison' in Ohio. It's the forbiddingly Gothic Mansfield Reformatory, 100 Reformatory Road, Mansfield, on US Route 30, about 80 miles southwest of Cleveland.

Built between 1886 and 1910, the reformatory remained in operation until 1990 and was scheduled for demolition when the film was made. In fact, much of the prison yard has now gone to make room for the adjacent Richland Correctional Institution, but the striking Administration Building lives on as a tourist attraction. Find it just north of downtown Mansfield, off South Olivesburg Road.
2013-07-14
For the first time the Movie defeats the Book!
As an omnivorous reader movies are always second to books to me. I believe....movie can never defeat the book because while reading book we use our own imagination....and movie narrows down the imagination.....it only allows us to see how the director has imagined the book.

But Believe me...this is not the case of The Shawshank Redemption...which I rate as the best movie I have ever seen.For the first time in history the book(the Stephen King Novella) has been defeated by its movie version.After watching the movie I was crazy about reading the book....I thought wow!the movie is so good...how will be the book!!To tell U frankly,the book is good, but the movie is best.There are some unforgettable scenes in the movie which were not in the book.Some examples are: The scene when Andy locks up the guard and play the opera on the microphone.The narration goes on like.."I didn't understand a single word that Italian lady was singing...but I tell U..for that single second every soul in the Shawshank prison felt free..."The scene just fill my heart with Andy's yearn for freedom...I was kinda shocked when I didn't find it in the original book version.

I can remember another scene.While Andy creates the prison library and starts listing books sent to prison from charity organizations...a fellow inmate tries to read a name on the book...Alexandre Dumas as "Dumb-Ass". Andy says...."its not Dumb-ass...its Dumas..and U may like the book..The Count of Monty Cristo...its about a jailbreak.And the category it falls is Fiction" Then Red says.."Why don't we put it on Educational category?"(Right before Andy listed an engineering handbook as "Educational" category).As Count of Monticristo is one of my favorite books, I was hysteric watching this sophisticated joke.This was also not in the book.

This DVD is my favorite gift I give my friends. And after they watch it....they always thank me . Like many other IMDb friends commenting on this movie..I would also like to say.."Shawshank Redemption is the best movie I have ever seen in my life".Thanx to all.
2006-06-17
Some birds aren't meant to be caged.
The Shawshank Redemption is written and directed by Frank Darabont. It is an adaptation of the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. Starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, the film portrays the story of Andy Dufresne (Robbins), a banker who is sentenced to two life sentences at Shawshank State Prison for apparently murdering his wife and her lover. Andy finds it tough going but finds solace in the friendship he forms with fellow inmate, Ellis "Red" Redding (Freeman) . While things start to pick up when the warden finds Andy a prison job more befitting his talents as a banker. However, the arrival of another inmate is going to vastly change things for all of them.

There was no fanfare or bunting put out for the release of the film back in 94, with a title that didn't give much inkling to anyone about what it was about-and with Columbia Pictures unsure how to market it, Shawshank Redemption barely registered at the box office. However, come Academy Award time the film received several nominations, and although it won none, it stirred up interest in the film for its home entertainment release. The rest, as they say, is history. For the film finally found an audience that saw the film propelled to almost mythical proportions as an endearing modern day classic. Something that has delighted its fans, whilst simultaneously baffling its detractors. One thing is for sure, tho, is that which ever side of the Shawshank fence you sit on, the film continues to gather new fans and simply will never go away.

It's possibly the simplicity of it all that sends some haters of the film into cinematic spasms. The implausible plot and an apparent sentimental edge that makes a nonsense of prison life, are but two chief complaints from those that dislike the film with a passion. But when characters are this richly drawn, and so movingly performed, it strikes me as churlish to do down a human drama that's dealing in hope, friendship and faith. The sentimental aspect is indeed there, but that acts as a counterpoint to the suffering, degradation and shattering of the soul involving our protagonist. Cosy prison life you say? No chance. The need for human connection is never more needed than during incarceration, surely? And given the quite terrific performances of Robbins (never better) & Freeman (sublimely making it easy), it's the easiest thing in the world to warm to Andy and Red.

Those in support aren't faring too bad either. Bob Gunton is coiled spring smarm as Warden Norton, James Whitmore is heart achingly great as the "Birdman Of Shawshank," Clancy Brown is menacing as antagonist Capt. Byron Hadley, William Sadler amusing as Heywood & Mark Rolston is impressively vile as Bogs Diamond. Then there's Roger Deakins' lush cinematography as the camera gracefully glides in and out of the prison offering almost ethereal hope to our characters (yes, they are ours). The music pings in conjunction with the emotional flow of the movie too. Thomas Newman's score is mostly piano based, dovetailing neatly with Andy's state of mind, while the excellently selected soundtrack ranges from the likes of Hank Williams to the gorgeous Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart.

If you love Shawshank then it's a love that lasts a lifetime. Every viewing brings the same array of emotions-anger-revilement-happiness-sadness-inspiration and a warmth that can reduce the most hardened into misty eyed wonderment. Above all else, tho, Shawshank offers hope; not just for characters in a movie, but for a better life and a better world for all of us. 10/10
2010-07-24
A movie revolution upon all others
We have all see movies, comedies, action and dramas. We all liked ones, hated others, got into some other even and felt like part of it. In Shawshank Redemption; you start slowly, after a while you get attached, by the time you reach the middle of the movie you simply totally forget about anything outside the screen and feel a mixed stream of emotions going through you head before anything else! then comes a last 20 minutes of heart storming that is surely enough to raise the adrenaline to extreme levels even in diabetics! I felt warm, strong, happy and all other emotions one can think of, I felt I was the one who won, who got out of prison, i was simply fully satisfied.

This movie must be used as an Anti-depression by therapists! this movie proves that Oscars are either money bought gifts! or that who ever in charge of them are so smart that they couldn't give any Oscar to The Shawshank Redemption knowing that the movie is on different - much higher- rating scale than the Oscars.. it's simply over qualified!
2006-09-07
Redemptive Masterpiece; Masterful Redemption
Despair or determination; crying or fighting; obedience or inner freedom; resignation or patience; fear or hope...difficult choices in life make us all more powerful human beings. Experience makes us richer; hardship makes us stronger, friendship makes us better. Although we may be deprived of everything, only our own choices may truly deprive us of human dignity... These words ring the bell for the majority of people; yet, seldom do they appear so unique, so real and so concrete as in this wonderful film...

Based on the novella by Stephen King RITA HAYWORTH AND SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, the story appears to be unlike any other movie, unlike any other adaptation of Stephen King's stories onto screen, unlike most productions of the world cinema. Why?

I think that every viewer has to answer this question oneself. What I am going to do in this review is not look at why it is so powerful, why it is so unique but rather focus on a certain aspect that, in a way, refers to this question. What absorbed me to the very core of my emotions and feelings is the main plot of Andy (Tim Robbins), the banker wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and her lover and sentenced to Shawshank prison where brutality and wretchedness really reign. At the spot where for many people, life actually ends, for Andy a new tedious struggle begins. Quickly befriended by "Red" (Morgan Freeman), actually the narrator of the story, both soon prove that even in the worst circumstances, within the "hell on earth" they can maintain human dignity and strive on their own way to freedom...

Here, let me refer to Roger Ebert's words who nicely described the character of Andy: he says that "Andy turns out to be a surprise to everyone in Shawshank, because within him is such a powerful reservoir of determination and strength that nothing seems to break him." Indeed, salvation lies within discipline for him...self-discipline...

Except for some other plots, including the touching yet tragic story of Tommy Williams (Gil Bellows) and of the sympathetic librarian Brooks Hatlen (James Whitmore), it is Andy and Red who supply us with the most unforgettable moments in the movie. It is, as a matter of fact, the story of their friendship, their dreams expressed at the wall of despair. They maintain hope around themselves and within the viewers. Here, a very powerful aspect of Red is his narration...our thoughts are directed towards his thoughts, towards his reflections and his perception of the events, his - the prisoner's. Swear words take on power to convey meanings and harshness becomes reality. Here, it is important to mention the inevitable brutality in the film. Thanks to the fact it is perceived by Red, it never appears to be unendurable or harmful for the emotions of the viewer. We, as observers, truly know what world we are led to...yet, there is no loss of hope!

The unforgettable scenes seem to evoke the most powerful associations and expectations that lie within us concerning the visual and sensual experience. With Thomas Newman's terrific music score consisting of dark piano music, we are supplied with intense emotions and effective thrill. Except for the symbolic and almost cult scene when Andy escapes the prison (mind you the almost claustrophobic effect), one cannot skip "The Letter Duet" scene when the excerpt of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro" is being played. The prison life stops for a while being awestruck by the glimpse of harmony, by the blissful moment of magnificence. At this moment, I was breathless and really second the powerful line: "Music makes you free!"

The performances are awesome and the depiction of characters is executed in an extraordinary way. There are no clichés which is a great merit of the film and where many films of the genre fall into that trap. Although there were many actors who had been cast for the role of Red, I think that no one would have done the job as well as Morgan Freeman. He is perfect in the role combining a certain quality of patience and distance with the emotional struggle for personal rights. Ironically, he portrays a re-socialized character...in fact, richer inside than any "corrupted decency." Tim Robbins also does a terrific job as Andy with all his features mentioned before. And Bob Gunton as a true villain, the boss of this hell of Shawshank will long remain in memory.

To sum it up, I agree with short but meaningful words said by Roger Ebert: "THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION is a movie about time, patience and harmony..." I would even add that it is the film about true life where people are really themselves, to the most extent themselves. There, within the harshest reality... Because only there, we truly behave according to our rules. There, we make choices even if everything that surrounds us seems to yell: "Salvation lies within blind discipline and fundamental Bible!" A redemptive masterpiece, a masterful redemption...desperate Brooks was here...and so was Red...yet, he brought a new dawn for dreams, a new dawn for friendship... Will he succeed?
2011-04-17
The shortest long movie I've ever seen. Kept me wanting more and more, minute by minute.
At first, before starting the movie, I thought "Sounds like a typical prison riot and break-out kind of movie". At the beginning of the movie, my thoughts was even more convincing. A large prison (Which immediately reminded me of the movie "The Last Castle" from 2001), housing people of all sorts, having it's guards, warden and of course, the inmates. The typical inmate; Roughneck, hard on the outside, broken on the inside. And they all claim their innocence, as an internal joke sort of speak.

It gets to a point where I started comparing it with others. That proved wrong in quite a short while, from the point where a prisoner, framed for murder of his wife and her lover, is being convicted and sentenced to life in prison. His name was Andy Dufresne. In short terms, a straight-up bank employee, excellent with numbers and taxes, which he also uses to benefit within the walls of the prison. His reputation as a numerological genius spreads out, and soon all kinds of people, inmates and guards, are coming to him for financial advice. He builds up a library, he maintains a strict surface. He has his hobbies, to keep his mind busy (as said in the movie). He carves chess pieces out of stone, using an axe as the tool. Seemingly, this is a nice and lucrative hobby, but underneath it all, he has a secret...

The movie keeps the viewer thrilled and excited, because in every minute, something could happen. The dialog is good, Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, both great actors, shows and outstanding play. The crew really did good work on the set, the right camera angles, the light, sounds and so on...it was almost like I could smell the prison!

A brilliant movie. Not too short, not too long. It's worth every minute watching! My highest recommendation for those who like drama, action and humor.
2002-12-20
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