The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 16 mins

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Taut and thrilling, this exemplary tale of hope, loss, friendship, loyalty focuses on the fluctuating fortunes in the life of Andy Dufresne, a young and successful banker from Maine. His whole life is turned upside down when he is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife and her lover. Set in the 1940's, the film shows how Andy, with the help of his friend Red, the prison entrepreneur, turns out to be a most unconventional prisoner. Will Andy, who has had no criminal background and lead a life of luxury, be able to take the terrors and hardship piled upon him in the harsh environment of the prison? Can he ever find a way to prove his innocence and breathe free air once more?
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Cast: Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins

Crew: Frank Darabont (Director), Roger Deakins (Director of Photography), Thomas Newman (Music Director)

Rating: A (India)

Genres: Crime, Drama

Release Dates: 23 Sep 1994 (India)

Tagline: Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

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Did you know? 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. Read More
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Dolby Digital
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24 fps
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Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.
Audio/Video Mismatch
When the inmates are at the table wondering if Andy Dufresne wants to commit suicide, one of them says "No, no, Andy would never do that." But his mouth movements correspond with Dufresne rather than Andy.

Character Error
Andy Dufresne is obviously a very intelligent man and fond of playing chess. However if you take a good look at the shot of the (nearly) completed chess board in his cell, you see that he put up the chess board the wrong way. The board should be turned 90 degrees in order to have the pieces stand right. The square on the lower left should be black, the one on the upper right too, which they are not, they are white. Anyone fond of playing chess would never make that mistake.

Character Error
On the newspaper front page announcing the "corruption" story, the word "indictment" is misspelled as "indictement".

Character Error
The narrator says "Five hundred yards. The length of five football fields. Just shy of half a mile." There are 1760 yards in a mile. 880 yards is half a mile. 500 yards is not even a third of a mile, a long way from 'Just shy.'

A friend of the warden bribes him with a pie made by his wife which was baked in a disposable aluminum pan. The warden later gives the pie to Andy, who shares it with Red. While Red's eating it, the pan is now made of strong metal.

When Red and Andy meet for the first time, an extra is seen behind each of them. It is the same scene but as the lines were filmed at different times, the extra is wearing different shirts - one prisoner shirt the day that Red's lines were shot, and a different shirt behind Andy the day his lines were filmed.

When Brooks delivers the rock hammer to Andy's cell, he continues to push the cart in the same direction and we hear wheels squeaking for a few seconds as the camera changes angle, to Andy's POV. Later, when the warden leaves Andy's cell, we can see the end of the aisle on the cells' tier just outside Andy's cell. Brooks had nowhere to push that cart.

When they're tossing the cells, Hadley knocks over the small stone-works Andy has made. The bishop is alternately standing up/knocked over between shots.

At the very beginning of the film Andy (while sitting in his car) goes to grab his bottle and the gun in his lap vanishes and reappears between shots.

In the aerial shot where Andy's bus approaches the prison, next to the gate is a red brick building and it's sidewalk is strewn with debris. As the bus pulls in seconds later and we see the gate and same brick building from the vantage point of guards who hurried from a tower, the sidewalk is clean.

Andy's library has received donations of 78-rpm albums, and he selects a record from such an album before he locks himself in and broadcasts Le Nozze di Figaro. The record he plays, however, is a 33 1/3 rpm, which is clear from the position of the needle on the disk.

Crew/Equipment Visible
Towards the beginning of the film, during a beautiful aerial shot of the bus entering Shawshank Prison, the camera flies over the buildings, where we see the prisoners on their way to "greet" in the new inmates. As the camera circles around, at the top of the frame, in an area of green grass, near a building, the shadow of the camera's helicopter is clearly visible.

There is a typo in the credits of the film. The title for "Additional ADR Recordists" is misspelled as "Aditional ADR Recordists."

Revealing Mistakes
When Red is sitting in his chair in his apartment with the compass you can tell he has done the scene over and over again. When he opens the compass it does not spin. With that type of compass when it is closes it locks the compass needle in place. So when you open it it spins until it settles on North. When he opens it however it is pointing perfectly north and does not spin.

Revealing Mistakes
If you look at the prison buildings in the background of most outdoor shots, you'll notice many of the panes of glass are missing. It's most obvious when Andy is being dangled from the roof of the number plate factory and again in the scene where the prisoners are in the yard listening to the opera music.

When Brooks hangs himself by kicking the table away, his feet barely lower at all, yet in the next shot we see that he should have fallen a considerably greater distance. Also as he is carving his name in the beam, his head is high enough that he would not have to stand on his toes to put the rope around his neck, as he is shown doing.

The bullet hole under the warden's chin is in a different location than where he placed the gun barrel a moment before he committed suicide. In the 10th Anniversary release, director Frank Darabont admits that this was an error, it has bugged him for 10 years, and they had it fixed in the 2004 release.

When Norton is about to load the revolver you can see a black and white photograph in a white frame on the desk. In the next scene when Norton has shot himself, you can see that the picture has now moved across the desk and is leaning against the lamp.

When Norton is walking to Andy's cell after his escape, he tells the guards to question "that friend of his... him!" and he points to Red with the index finger on his left hand. The shot then cuts to a frontal shot of Red in his cell, and Norton is now pointing at Red with the index finger on his right hand.

Revealing Mistakes
When the top of the pipe is broken open, it shoots a fountain, indicating that it is pressurized (if only by gravity). But then the pipe drains nearly empty. It should only have drained to the lowest point in the hole broken at the top.
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.

Morgan Freeman's favorite film of his own.

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.

Although a very modest hit in theaters, it became one of the highest grossing video rentals of all 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!"

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."

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

Kevin Costner turned down the role of Andy Dufresne, a decision he strongly regretted later on.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.