Andy and Red's opening chat in the prison yard, in which Red is pitching a baseball, took nine hours to shoot. Morgan Freeman pitched that baseball for the entire nine hours without a word of complaint. He showed up for work the next day with his arm in a sling.
When Andy goes to the library to begin work as Brooks' assistant and Brooks' crow, Jake, is squawking, Tim Robbins had to time his line, "Hey, Jake. Where's Brooks?" so that the crow wouldn't squawk over him, since the bird could not be trained to squawk on cue. Robbins was able to adapt to this and time his line perfectly by learning the bird's squawking patterns, for which Writer and Director Frank Darabont praised him. Robbins' improvisation is noticeable, as he watches the bird carefully while approaching it, waiting for it to squawk, and doesn't begin his line until after it does so.
Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman, and Robert Redford were all considered for the part of Red. In the original novel, Red is a middle-aged Irishman with graying red hair. However, Frank Darabont always had Morgan Freeman in mind for the role, because of his authoritative presence, demeanor and deep voice. Darabont alluded to the casting choice, by having Red jokingly reply to Andy's inquiry about his nickname with the line, "Maybe it's because I'm Irish."
The mugshots of a young-looking Morgan Freeman that are attached to his parole papers are actually pictures of Morgan's younger son, Alfonso Freeman. Alfonso also had a cameo in the movie as a con shouting, "Fresh fish! Fresh fish today! We're reeling 'em in!" (bottom left). A year after The Shawshank Redemption (1994), he appeared as a Fingerprint Technician in another Morgan Freeman movie, Se7en (1995).
One of the reasons why the full title of the Stephen King novella, "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption," was not employed was because there was a perception in Hollywood that the film was actually going to be a biopic of Rita Hayworth. Indeed, Frank Darabont even received solicitations of audition requests from several actresses and supermodels and their agents about playing the lead.
Clancy Brown said that he received several offers from real-life corrections officers to work with him to make his portrayal of Captain Hadley more realistic. He turned them all down because Hadley was an evil character and he didn't want to misrepresent real corrections officers.
After the film gained popularity, Ted Turner sold the television rights to TNT, his own network, for much lower than normal for such a big film. Because it is so inexpensive to show, the film is broadcast on TNT extremely often.
At the end of the movie, there is a dedication to Allen Greene. He was Frank Darabont's agent and also a close personal friend. He died just before the completion of the movie due to AIDS complications.
The film's initial gross of eighteen million dollars could not even cover the cost of its production. It did another ten million dollars in the wake of its Oscar nominations, but the film was still deemed to be a box-office failure.
Unusually, the voiceover narration was recorded before filming began and was then played on set to dictate the rhythm of each scene. The guide track was recorded in an Iowa recording studio by Morgan Freeman in only forty minutes. Unfortunately, there was a minor hiss to the track, which sound engineers in Los Angeles were unable to eradicate. Consequently, it had to be re-recorded in a proper studio; this time it took three weeks.
The American Humane Society monitored the filming of scenes involving Brooks' crow. During the scene where he fed it a maggot, the AHS objected on the grounds that it was cruel to the maggot, and required that they use a maggot that had died from natural causes. One was found, and the scene was filmed.
In the movie, Red says, "I committed murder," when Andy asks him why he's in Shawshank. The novella explains in detail; Red is serving three life sentences for murdering his wife, his neighbor's wife, and his neighbor's son. Red disconnected the brakes on his car in order to kill his wife, to collect on an insurance policy; he did not plan on two other people joining his wife for her ill-fated drive.
In the close-up of Andy's hands loading the revolver in the opening scenes, the hands are actually those of Frank Darabont. Later in the film, while Andy carves his name into his cell wall (seen twice in the film), Darabont's hands are used again for the insert shot. These close-ups were filmed during post-production, notably because Darabont felt that only he could do exactly what he wanted in the close-ups.
Rob Reiner loved Frank Darabont's script so much, that he offered 2.5 million dollars 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.
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Frank Darabont): [old movie clips]: The inmates are seen watching Gilda (1946). In the novella, the prisoners watched The Lost Weekend (1945). Because the rights to this were owned by a different studio, Darabont looked to see which old films he could show without incurring costs. He was delighted to see that one that he was able to use was Gilda, one of the greatest hits of Rita Hayworth, whose image plays a pivotal role in the story.
Stephen King sold the rights to the novella "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" very cheaply, out of his friendship with Frank Darabont. They had originally become friends, when Darabont adapted a short story of King's called The Woman in the Room (1983) (King has a policy stating that any aspiring filmmaker can adapt his short stories for a buck) and King was thoroughly impressed. They maintained a pen-pal relationship and didn't actually meet, until Darabont optioned Shawshank.
While Mansfield locals were eager to be extras, many weren't available during the day due to their jobs or were only available for one day, which obviously would not work in a prison film. So, extras were found at a halfway house, some of them real-life ex-cons.
There were numerous deleted scenes from the film, mainly cut for pacing purposes, including: . A sequence where the convicts find Jake (Brooks's pet crow) dead in a field sometime after Brooks has left the prison, and the convicts give Jake a funeral and burial. This deletion ends up providing a subtle thematic shift; as scripted, both Brooks and Jake represent the dangers of institutionalization, but as depicted on screen, Jake ends up foreshadowing Andy's successful escape in the climax of the film. . Tommy's young wife visiting him, their conversations providing a more vivid illustration into why Tommy decides to turn his life around, and approaches Andy to work on getting his G.E.D. . After Andy's escape, an unfortunate guard is sent into his tunnel to see where it leads, and when he sees the sewage pipe broken, and smells the overwhelming odor of shit, he vomits - loudly. Red hears this happen from his own cell, and cracks up laughing. He's sent to solitary confinement for two weeks, where he continues laughing, thus learning for himself what Andy (in the aftermath of the loudspeaker incident) had meant about "easy time" in the hole. . Red's feelings on the 1960s after he is paroled, as well as a panic attack in the grocery store, that sends him running for a bathroom cubicle that calms him down because it reminds him of his cell - thus making his choice to find the tree and rock wall more meaningful, because it runs counter to Brooks' choice.
Shawshank prison is a staple of Stephen King's writing, most of which is set in Maine. While it only appears in this story, several other books and short stories mention characters who were sentenced to serve time at Shawshank. Shawshank prison is mentioned in another Stephen King movie (Dolores Claiborne (1995)) when Dolores (played by Kathy Bates) yells at her husband that he will do time in Shawshank for (inappropriately) touching his daughter. They only mention the prison, they don't show it.
Many critics have spotted many allegorical themes in the film, generally along the lines that Andy Dufresne is a latter day Jesus Christ. Frank Darabont refutes all such claims, although he is delighted that so many people have read so much into his film.
Red says he has no idea what the ladies in The Marriage of Figaro are singing about. Actually, they're composing a letter to the husband of one of them inviting him to an assignation with the other in order to expose his infidelity.
According to Morgan Freeman, the shoot was fraught with "extreme tension" as there were constant differences between the actors, the producers, and Frank Darabont. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said the atmosphere was "very strange" and he refused to talk about it any further.
The exteriors were filmed at the defunct Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio. The prison was in such poor condition, renovations had to be made prior to filming. However, most of the interiors were shot on a sound stage, because they determined it would be cheaper to build duplicates of the interiors rather than renovating the interiors of Mansfield.
The original story appears in Different Seasons, a collection of short books by Stephen King that also includes Apt Pupil (1998), "The Body" (filmed as Stand by Me (1986)) and The Breathing Method. The last one is the only entry which has not been adapted into a film as of 2015. The Apt Pupil story briefly mentions that Andy Dufresne handled the finances of Apt Pupil's main bad guy Kurt Dussander between 1945 and 1947.
Initially, Frank Darabont was planning to make his directorial debut with a Child's Play (1988) type of horror movie, although he wasn't particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of doing so. Instead, he decided to adapt Stephen King's atypical short story. The resulting script soon became a hot ticket around Hollywood, attracting interest from stars like Nicolas Cage and Tom Cruise.
Since the filming schedule was very tight in Mansfield, Ohio, anyone who held up production time were threatened to be fined. Tim Robbins and William Sadler showed up late once, but were never fined. Filming in Mansfield, Ohio finished ahead of schedule.
The Shawshank prison, in the book, and in the movie, was loosely based on Thomaston prison, an aging prison located in Thomaston, Maine. That real life prison closed in 2004, due to its small size, and dilapidated structure.
Frank Darabont dropped the "Rita Hayworth" element of the novella's title, because he thought he'd receive resumés from actresses, thinking the movie was a Hayworth biopic. It didn't do any good. During casting, Darabont received a call from an agent who represented a supermodel; he swore the script was the best she had ever read, and that she'd be perfect for the (non-existent) part of Hayworth.
In French, Dufresne means "ash" or "ash tree." The ash tree in folklore and symbolism is typically representative of healing, while also a sign of death and rebirth, all of which apply to Andy, his sentence, and his eventual escape from Shawshank.
Although it is never stated in the film, Brooks is in prison for murdering his wife and daughter after a losing streak at poker. Meanwhile, in the book, Red's life term is not because of a botched robbery-turned-fatal-shooting, but for murdering his wife by disabling her brakes, which accidentally killed a neighbor and child, as well as her.
Although set in Maine, the success of the movie helped boost the fortunes of Mansfield, Ashland, and Upper Sandusky, Ohio, three towns that share thirteen sites used as locations. Tourism has increased every year since Shawshank had its premiere, and according to the Mansfield/Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the movie brought in more than 18,000 visitors, and produced an estimated three million dollar boost to the local economy in 2013.
There are only two female speaking parts in the entire film. One is the customer who complains about Brooks' service at the grocery store, and the other, is the bank teller who attends to Andy at the bank following his escape.
As of July 23, 2016, the white oak tree featured near the end of the movie has fallen down on Pleasant Valley Road near Malabar Farm in Ohio due to strong winds. The oak tree survived a lightning strike occurred on July 29, 2011.
When Andy is making his escape, he crawls through a drainage tunnel filled with raw sewage. The sludge was actually a mixture of chocolate syrup, sawdust, and water, and two decades later, the pipes still smell like cocoa.
There's now a Shawshank Trail for tourists, and local businesses have jumped on the bandwagon. In that part of Ohio, you can pick yourself up some Reformatory "Red" Wines, Shawshank Bundt Cakes, and the local Two Cousins' Pizza sells Redemption pie.
The original story, "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption", appears in Stephen King's book, "Different Seasons", along with three other novellas. Only one of them, "The Breathing Method", has not been turned into a movie.
The Trailways coach in the last scene is a GM PD-4104, built in 1960 and delivered to the Carolina Scenic Trailways. The late Jon Hobein, the owner of the Blue Ridge Trailways, found and restored it around 1990. It's now property of the Capital Trailways, based in Montgomery, Alabama.
Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction opened on same date October 14, 1994. Both the movies were nominated for 7 Academy awards each, both the movies gained cult status in following years and both are listed within top 10 in IMDb's top 250 movies. (As of February 2017)
The quote, "Get busy living or get busy dying," inspired the title of the song 'Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part to Save the Scene and Stop Going to Shows)' by Fall Out Boy from their 2005 album 'From Under the Cork Tree'.
The Royal River is mentioned in several of Stephen King's novels, including The Body, when the boys cross it, only to be attacked by leeches, as well as Salem's Lot, and Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, as the river into which Andy threw his gun.
This film is the second time that James Whitmore (who plays Brooks in this film) plays an incarcerated character who fears release. The first, was The Twilight Zone episode: On Thursday We Leave For Home (1963).
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Frank Darabont): [Heywood Floyd]: Heywood and Floyd are the names of two Shawshank inmates. Heywood Floyd is a space explorer in books written by Arthur C. Clarke, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, and 2010: Odyssey Two.
When Andy first gets reassigned to the prison library, the first officer who comes to him for investment help approaches him by saying, "I'm Dekins." Roger Deakins was the Cinematographer for the movie. While this is the case, Frank Darabont wrote the character of Dekins into the original script, before he hired his crew, as the same character was in the novella, and the different way of spelling confirms this.
In the middle of the film, when the bus is bringing Tommy Williams to Shawshank, the man sitting behind him on the bus is Dennis Baker, who had been the real-life warden of the Ohio State Reformatory (where Shawshank was filmed).
The movie is based on a Stephen King novella, "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption", published as a collection of four short stories, titled Different Seasons. The book also included The Body and Apt Pupil, both were also adapted into films.
When Boggs returns to his cell after spending time in the hole, to find the guard in his cell, there is a book called "Calamity Range" visible on the shelf. Written in 1939 by Paul Evan Lehman, "Calamity Range" is described as a fiction publication about finding retribution and vendetta, set in the western United States.
In the film, Andy's prisoner number is 37947, but in the novella, it is 81433. The possible meaning of the number is 3-7-947. Andy's wife went to the golf course in July 1947, and the year of Stephen King's birthdate is 1(947).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Red says that Andy broke out in 1966. This was the same year as the landmark Miranda v. Arizona case before the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was decided that a defendant must be informed of his or her rights, when being arrested. That's why at the end of the film, when they arrest Captain Hadley (Clancy Brown), the officer is reading his Miranda rights from a piece of paper.
The 370,000 dollars Andy stole from the Warden in 1966, may not seem like a huge amount for twenty years incarceration, but adjusted for inflation to 2014, Andy stole the equivalent of 2,703,467 dollars.
Stephen King sold the film rights for one thousand dollars. He never cashed the check. Several years after the movie came out, King got the check framed, and mailed it back to Frank Darabont with a note inscribed, "In case you ever need bail money. Love, Steve."
Frank Darabont preferred to end the film with Red searching for Andy. In fact, if he had been allowed to shoot the ending as he wanted, the closing shot would have been Red on the bus heading for the field. Darabont wanted to end on an open, ambiguous note. But Castle Rock insisted on a reunion between the two to please audiences. So instead of showing us a teary reunion, the film observes it from a distance -- Darabont's response to Castle Rock's demands.
The prison that played Shawshank, the Ohio State Reformatory, now serves as a museum. Because it was scheduled for demolition at the time of filming, several set pieces remain intact in the prison, including the tunnel Andy crawled through, and the Warden's office.
The rock wall where Red's "treasure" is buried, was built specifically for the film and stood for many years. It was built by hand, by the art department several months before filming began. This allowed for the alfalfa to grow, to make it look weathered. Eventually, the wall was sold on eBay, one rock at a time, by the farmer who owned the land, on which it stood. The tree at the end of the wall, stood until it was cleaved in two by a lightning strike in 2011. A portion of its remains now stands, propped up, by the pond on the grounds of the Ohio State Reformatory.
Andy and Red escape to Zihuatanejo, a Mexican paradise in the Pacific coastal state of Guerrero. In 1966, it was still a small fishing village, which matches how Andy first described it to Red, but has since grown into a large tourist city. The U.S. Virgin Islands stood in for Zihuatanejo in the film.
When the warden flips through Andy's Bible after his escape, he finds the cut out space where Andy's digging tool was hidden starting in the book of Exodus, which tells the story of Hebrew slaves escaping from Egypt. Exodus literally means "to escape or depart."
There are several similarities to the Alexandre Dumas novel, "The Count of Monte Cristo" (which is also mentioned during the film). The Dumas novel involved a man falsely imprisoned for a crime, who later makes a daring escape. After escaping, he acquired hidden treasure which he learned about in jail, and executed a plan of revenge against those who imprisoned him.
The film is generally faithful to the Stephen King novella. Here are some of the differences: - The novella specifies that Andy smuggled one hundred dollars into the prison in his rectum; exactly how he pays Red the agreed-upon price of ten dollars for the rock hammer is never made clear in the film. - Andy orders a second rock hammer from Red in the novella, after the first wears down. This does not occur in the film. - Multiple wardens oversee the prison in the novella. They are combined into the character of Norton in the film. For example, in the novella, the warden who agrees to mail Andy's letters, and the warden who treats him so harshly at the end, are not the same person. - In addition to Red being a white Irishman, the novella also gives details of his crime that the film doesn't. - In the film, Hadley and his guards beat up Boggs as a favor to Andy for all his financial tips. In the novella, Andy uses the money he smuggled into the prison to pay thugs to do it. - Tommy's story is also slightly different. He tells Andy that his old cellmate bragged that the double-murder he committed was pinned on a lawyer, rather than a banker, and Andy latches onto the idea that the two professions were commonly confused at that time. - Tommy is also not killed in the novella; after agreeing not to testify on Andy's behalf, he is sent to another prison. The ending received perhaps the most significant changes. -The narrative Red gives of the time Andy spent in prison is different. In the novella, Andy spent 26 years in prison before his ultimate escape. In the film, he spends 19, as Red narrates "...Andy did it (picked through the wall in his cell) in less than 20." -When Red is released from Shawshank Prison, he finds a package Andy left for him in a hayfield. In the film, he simply goes directly to it; while in the novella, his hunt for the appropriate hayfield is a fairly substantial piece of the plot. -The final scene of Andy sanding a boat on the beach as Red meets him again, is not present in the novella, which ends with Red on his way South to meet Andy. The matter of whether they found each other again is left ambiguous.
Bob Gunton pointed out that Tim Robbins' towering 6'5" height narrowed down the number of actors who could play Warden Norton, since Andy's escape plan is dependent on stealing and wearing Norton's suit.
When Andy and Red are talking in the library, about how the money that the warden scams is laundered, Andy mentions "second cousin to Harvey the rabbit". This is a reference to Harvey, a play published in 1944, about a six foot three inch invisible rabbit, who can only be seen by the main character, Elwood P. Dowd.
In 2007, two inmates of Union County Prison escaped from their prison using similar techniques to those featured in the movie. Their (partially) successful escape led to the suicide of prison guard Rudolph Zurick. When the two convicts were recaptured, they denied responsibility for Zurick's death.
Buxton, where Andy says he proposed to his wife, and buried the "treasure" for Red under the tree, is a real-life small town in Maine (population 7,452 as of the 2000 census), about fifteen miles west of Portland, where Andy was a banker.
The Finnish title for the movie is "Rita Hayworth - Avain pakoon" which literally means "Rita Hayworth - The Key to Escape." This restores the Rita Hayworth part of the source novella's title. "Shawshank Redemption" was deemed unsuitable for Finnish translation as no Finns would have the slightest idea what a "shawshank" is, and there is no sensible way to translate the Latin word "redemption" into Finnish, a language with no Latin roots. The Hungarian title of the movie is "A remény rabjai" which means "Prisoners of Hope". The Italian title for the movie is "Le ali della libertà", which means "The Wings of Freedom." The Norwegian title for the movie is "Frihetens Regn", which means "The Rain of Freedom." The Spanish title for the movie is "Cadena Perpetua", which means "Life Imprisonment." The Mexican title for the movie is "Sueños de Fuga", which means "Dreams of Escape." The Israeli title for the movie is "Homot Shel Tikva", which means "Walls of Hope." In Denmark the movie's title is "En Verden Udenfor", which translates to "A World Outside." The Romanian title for the movie is "Închisoarea îngerilor", which means "Angels' Prison." The Portuguese title for the movie is "Um sonho de liberdade" which in English means "A dream of freedom". The French Canadian title "à l'ombre de Shawshank" means "into the Shadow of Shawshank". The French title for this movie is 'Les Evadés' meaning "The Escapees" (and spoiling the movie's ending). In Greece the film named 'Teleutea Exodos - Rita Hayworth' meaning 'Last Exit - Rita Hayworth' which is kind of spoiler. The Swedish title for the movie is "Nyckeln Till Frihet", which translates to "The Key To Freedom". The German title for the movie is "Die Verurteilten", which means "The Convicts."