The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Poster


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Andy and Red's opening chat in the prison yard - in which Red is pitching a baseball - took 9 hours to shoot. Morgan Freeman pitched that baseball for the entire 9 hours without a word of complaint. He showed up for work the next day with his arm in a sling.
In the scene with Andy arriving in the library as Brooks' assistant while 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 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.
Morgan Freeman's favorite film of his own.
Stephen King sold the film rights for his novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, for $5,000. He never cashed the check. Years after Shawshank came out, the author got the check framed and mailed it back to the director Frank Darabont with a note inscribed: "In case you ever need bail money. Love, Steve."
Although a very modest hit in theaters, it became one of the highest grossing video rentals of all time.
Director Frank Darabont watched Goodfellas (1990) every Sunday while shooting Shawshank and drew inspiration from it on using voice-over narration and showing the passage of time.
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!"
Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman and Robert Redford were all considered for the part of Red. In the original novella, 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.
Although it is never directly stated in the film, allegedly Brooks is in prison for murdering his wife and daughter after a losing streak at poker.
Tom Hanks, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp and Charlie Sheen were all considered for the part of Andy Dufresne. Hanks turned it down because he was committed to Forrest Gump (1994). Costner liked the script a lot but was then embroiled in the filming of Waterworld (1995).
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 out of and the warden's office.
Kevin Costner turned down the role of Andy Dufresne, a decision he strongly regretted later on.
Raquel Welch - whose One Million Years B.C. (1966) poster plays a significant role in the film - is a big fan of the finished movie.
Director Frank Darabont decided not to have the deleted scenes on the DVD release of the film because he's embarrassed by them and doesn't want them to be seen publicly.
The film's initial gross of $18 million didn't even cover the cost of its production. It did another $10 million in the wake of its Oscar nominations but the film was still deemed to be a box office flop.
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.
Tim Robbins thought of the idea of his character, Andy Dufresne, turning up the volume of the record player in the scene where he plays the Opera music over the PA.
In Stephen King's original story, Red was written as a white Irishman. In the movie, they left the line, "Maybe it's 'cause I'm Irish", in as a joke, even after they had cast Morgan Freeman as Red.
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.
Stephen King has said that his original novella was a culmination of all the memories he had from watching prison movies when he was a child.
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 40 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 3 weeks.
Stephen King sold the rights to the novella Rita Hayworth & 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.
The American Humane Association monitored the filming of scenes involving Brooks' crow. During the scene where he fed it a maggot, the AHA 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.
The most rented video of 1995.
The role of Tommy Williams was intended for Brad Pitt, who instead played the lead role in Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) the same year.
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 wouldn't work in a prison film. So extras were found at a halfway house, some of them real-life ex-cons.
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.
In the closeup 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 closeups were filmed during post production, notably because Darabont felt that only he could do exactly what he wanted in the closeups.
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.
One of the reasons why they didn't employ the full title of the Stephen King novella - "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" - was because there was a perception in Hollywood that this was actually going to be a biopic of Rita Hayworth. Indeed, Frank Darabont even received solicitations of audition request from several actresses and supermodels and their agents about playing the lead.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #72 Greatest Movie of All Time. It was the first inclusion of this film on the list.
In the movie Red says "I committed murder." when Andy asks him what he's in Shawshank for. The source 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.
The role of Andy Dufresne was originally offered to Tom Hanks, who couldn't accept due to scheduling conflicts with Forrest Gump (1994). Hanks did, however, work on Frank Darabont's next film, The Green Mile (1999).
Frank Darabont took a pay cut in order to be allowed to shoot his own script.
Frank Darabont wrote the script in eight weeks.
Despite its box office failure, Warner Brothers shipped 320,000 rental copies to US video stores, a figure a spokesman freely admitted was "out of whack" with the film's performance in the theaters.
The character Andy Dufresne had a cameo appearance in 'Apt Pupil', another Stephen King novelette. Andy handled the investments for Dussander, the Nazi in hiding.
Voted #4 on Empire magazine's 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time (September 2008).
James Whitmore was cast in the part of Brooks because he was one of Frank Darabont's favorite character actors.
An agent once claimed he had read the whole script and loved it. He then proceeded to prove otherwise when he requested an audition for his supermodel client for the role of "the main character" Rita Hayworth.
The man sitting behind Gil Bellows (Tommy Williams) on the bus is Dennis Baker, a former warden of the Ohio State Reformatory, where the primary filming took place.
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 the prison.
The opera song that Andy Dufresne plays over the loud speakers is "Canzonetta sull'aria" from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro".
This movie was released in Taiwan as "1995: Fantastic" (it was released in Taiwan in 1995). Many viewers thought it would be an action movie.
The final scene was filmed on the U.S. Virgin islands in the Caribbean, but in the film it is supposed to be the Pacific Ocean.
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.
The original story appears in Different Seasons, a collection of short books by Stephen King that also includes Apt Pupil (1998), "The Body" (filmed Stand by Me (1986)) and The Breathing Method. The latter is the only entry which has not been adapted into a film as of 2014. 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.
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.
Beer bottles didn't have screw tops in 1949.
The name of Andy Dufresne's wife is Linda Collins-Dufresne. In the movie, she wasn't identified at all.
Every picture, except for the big posters, in Andy's cell were all hand picked by actor Tim Robbins himself.
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.
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.
Among the changes that Frank Darabont made to the story from the original novella was that there were originally three wardens and that Brooks' poignant story was conveyed in one paragraph.
Voted #1 Must See Movie of all time by listeners of Capital FM in London.
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 City of Mansfield, Ohio held all day open auditions for extras. So much interest was shown that they accepted no more people after 3pm.
Since filming schedule was very tight in Mansfield, Ohio anyone who held up production time were threatened to be fined. Both Tim Robbins and William Sadler showed up late once but were never fined. Filming in Mansfield, Ohio finished ahead of schedule.
The prison is located in the flightpath of C-130 Hercules aircraft of the 179th Airlift Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, which caused all sorts of sound problems.
The Israeli title for the movie is "Homot Shel Tikva", which means "Walls of Hope".
Clancy Brown, who plays Captain Hadley in this film, played another character named Captain Hadley in The Guardian (2006).
The Italian title for the movie is "Le ali della libertà", which means "The Wings of Freedom".
On the wall in Andy Dufresne's cell is a picture of Albert Einstein. Tim Robbins, who portrayed Andy Dufresne also played in the fictional movie about Einstein, I.Q. (1994).
The Rita Hayworth movie the prisoners are watching is Gilda (1946).
Warden Norton whistles Martin Luther's signature hymn "Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott", or "A Mighty Fortress is Our God".
Both Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman won Best Supporting Actor Oscars for films directed by Clint Eastwood: Robbins in Mystic River (2003) and Freeman in Million Dollar Baby (2004).
The Norwegian title for the movie is "Frihetens Regn", which means "The Rain of Freedom".
The Romanian title for the movie is "Închisoarea îngerilor", which means "Angels' Prison".
In Denmark the movie was titled "En Verden Udenfor", which translates to "A World Outside".
In Mexico, the title for the movie is "Sueños de Fuga", which means "Dreams of Escape".
The prisoners are drinking Stroh's beer on the roof.
Stephen King optioned the story "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" to Frank Darabont for $1000.
The original story, "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption", appears in Stephen King's book, 'Different Seasons', along with three other short novellas. Only one of them, 'The Breathing Method', has not been turned into a movie.
The Hungarian title of the movie is "A Remény Rabjai" which means "The Prisoners of Hope".
(May 14 - June 20, 2009) The world premiere theatrical adaptation of the film was staged at Dublin's Gaiety Theatre featuring, Kevin Anderson (Andy), Reg E. Cathey ("Red") and Keir Dullea (Brooks). Adapted by Owen O'Neill and Dave Johns, the play was directed by Peter Sheridan.
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 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.
On Andy's first night at Shawshank, there is a shot of the prison from outside. This shot is from right near the creek which Andy runs through when he escapes 19 years later. Frogs in the creek can also be heard.
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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 about 1990. It's now a property of the Capital Trailways, based in Montgomery, Alabama.
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The green grass outside the Shawshank prison walls represent hope.
The Spanish title for the movie is "Cadena Perpetua", which means "Life Imprisonment".
Andy Dufresne's Prison ID Number is 37927.
To prepare for his role as Andy Dufresne, Tim Robbins actually spent some time in solitary confinement.
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Both Clancy Brown (Captain Hadley) and Mark Rolston (Boggs Diamond) have voiced the character of Lex Luthor in various "DC Animated Universe" projects.
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One of the film's signature setpieces - when Dufresne barricades himself in the Warden's office and serenades the prison with some opera - is not in the original Stephen King novella.
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Frank Darabont wrote the screenplay on spec in an attempt to lift himself out a rut of writing horror sequels like The Fly II (1989) and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987).
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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.
Frank Darabont:  [Heywood Floyd]  Heywood and Floyd are the names of two Shawshank inmates. Heywood Floyd is a space explorer in books and movies written by Arthur C. Clarke, including 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and 2010 (1984).


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 Supreme Court, where it was decided a defendant must be informed of their rights (i.e. right to remain silent, right to an attorney, etc.), when put under police custody. That's why at the end of the film, when they arrest Captain Hadley (Clancy Brown), the officer is reading the Miranda rights from a piece of paper.
For the sewage tunnel sequence, Tim Robbins initially refused to immerse himself in the muddy water at the end of the pipe after a chemist tested the water and dubbed it lethal.
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 $370,000 Andy stole from the Warden in 1966 may not seem a huge amount for 20 years incarceration but adjusted for inflation to 2014, Andy stole the equivalent of $2,703,466.67.
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".
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 months before filming began. This allowed for the alfalfa grass 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 it stood on. 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.
Red describes Andy's dream as a "shitty pipe dream". During his escape to live that dream, Andy crawls through the sewer pipe of the prison, literally a "shitty pipe".
The ambulance that took Boggs away had to be pushed as its engine had died.
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 US Virgin Islands stand in for Zihuatanejo in the film.
There are only two women with speaking roles in the film: the customer who complains about Brooks' service at the grocery store, and the lady who attends to Andy at the bank following his escape.
Author Trademark: [Stephen King]: [237]: After Andy has escaped, the warden wants them to question Red. When they call to open Red's cell they shout, "Open 237!" This is the same number as the room in The Shining (1980) and the amount of change ($2.37) the four boys in Stand by Me (1986) collect between them.
There are several similarities to the Alexandre Dumas père 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 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.
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 7452 as of the 2000 census) about 15 miles west of Maine's largest city of Portland, where Andy was a banker.
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.
The film is generally faithful to the Stephen King novella "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption." Here are some of the differences:
  • The novella specifies that Andy smuggled $100 into the prison in his rectum; exactly how he pays Red the agreed-upon price of $10 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 in the Norton of the film. For example, 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 the novella.

  • 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 Bogs as a favor to Andy for all his financial tips. In the novella, Andy uses the money he smuggled in the prison to pay thugs to do it.

  • Tommy's story is slightly different. He tells Andy that his old cell mate 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. 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; that ends with Red on his way south to meet Andy, the matter of whether they found each other again left ambiguous.
The candy tin with money and a letter that Andy buries features a picture of the ocean liner The Queen Mary. It was issued in the 1950s as part of a series by a British company called Benson's.
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 the movie Harvey (1950) a six foot three inch imaginary rabbit who can only be seen by the main character Elwood P Dowd played by James Stewart
When Warden Norton opens his wall safe near the end of the film, and he opens Andy's bible, the bookmark ribbon is on the first page of the book of Exodus (which tells the story of the flight of the Jews from Egypt). Exodus is also where Andy began cutting out the pages to hide his rock hammer during spot inspections.
The headline on Norton's newspaper after Andy's escape reads: "CORRUPTION, MURDER AT SHAWSHANK! D.A. Has Ledger. Indictments Sought."
The beach-set reunion at the end was shot at the studio's insistence.
Body count: 6 (two of which are unseen)
There are only two female speaking parts in the entire film: the woman who pesters Brooks at the Food-Way, and the bank receptionist who serves Andy toward the end of the film.
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At the end of the movie we see Andy driving a Pontiac convertible. This escape was 1966 and the car used was the later model 68 to 70
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