This film was produced independently by Castle Rock Entertainment, but distributed by Columbia Pictures, which placed their logo at the beginning of the film. After the first video release, Castle Rock began to use Warner Bros. as their distributor. This film was then later re-issued on video and DVD by Warner Bros., which replaced the Columbia Pictures logo with their own. (The 1999 WB DVD uses no studio logo before Castle Rock [A Turner Company], and has no Columbia line-art logo at the end, just 10 seconds of blank screen as the music finishes. The 2004 WB DVD and theatrical rerelease, and 2010 Blu-ray, start with a very modern WB logo and an updated Castle Rock logo [A TimeWarner Company], and have the Columbia line-art logo in the crawl at the end followed by a quick, still, older WB logo. See also The American President.)
One HBO showing included three extra scenes introduced by Morgan Freeman. One of the extra scenes showed Red, after his release, marveling over the mistaken idea that women no longer wore bras. Another earlier deleted scene shows more of the uncovering of Andy's escape route, including a guard who is sent down the shaft and who throws up when he realizes the sewer has been breached. Upon hearing this, and realizing Andy's successful escape, Red begins laughing hysterically in his cell, for which he is sent to solitary confinement and where he continues to laugh.
In the 2004 10th Anniversary release and subsequent releases (including 2010 Blu-ray), a goof where the bullet hole under the warden's chin is in a different location from where he placed the gun barrel a moment before he committed suicide has been corrected. (See Goofs.)
Italian version is about 15 minutes shorter than the USA version and omits parts of the epilogue showing Red's everyday life after he has been released from prison.
In previous versions, when Tommy is killed, only two shots are heard and four bullet holes are seen. In the DVD version, four are heard.