The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption is an American drama film that was written and directed by Frank Darabont. The film was released in 1994 and is based on Stephen King’s novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. The film’s star-studded list of actors features Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, William Sadler, and Clancy Brown.

This film is considered a classic and regarded by many to be the top-rated movie of all time. This movie is not your ordinary Hollywood blockbuster. It is a poignant story about hope and life, freedom, and kindness.

In 1947, Andrew “Andy” Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a young, successful banker, is convicted of murdering his wife and her tennis pro lover under strong evidence. As a result, Andy is sentenced to two life sentences at the fictional Shawshank State Prison in Maine. Even though evidence placed him at the scene of the crime on the night of the murders, Andy maintains his innocence throughout his 19-year tenure at Shawshank. 

Adjusting to prison life is difficult for Andy at the beginning because many of the prisoners think he’s a snob. “The Sisters,” a gang of fellow prisoners who frequently attack and rape him in the laundry room, make his life miserable. Andy tries to fight the Sisters, even though it always lands him in the infirmary and sometimes solitary confinement.

Despite these hardships, however, Andy never complains or loses his confidence. He keeps to himself most of the time but is eventually befriended by Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, an inmate serving a life sentence. Red has been at the prison for many years because he cannot gain parole. 

Red is the one who “can get things.” He can acquire contraband from the outside world. He supplies the other inmates with items like cigarettes, magazines, and, in Andy’s case, a rock hammer and a Rita Hayworth poster. Andy uses the rock hammer to maintain his rock collection hobby and as for Rita, a guy could use some company, you know?

Though other prisoners consider Andy “a really cold fish,” Red sees something in Andy and likes him from the moment he arrives at Shawshank. Red believes Andy may intend to use the hammer to escape, but when the tool arrives, and he sees how small it is, and Red puts aside the thought. 

After a few years, the guards catch wind of Andy’s former profession as a banker. With his considerable accounting skills, Andy begins helping the warden and guards with their taxes and other financial issues and is suddenly vaulted into the position of “teacher’s pet”. Matters become complicated with the warden asks Andy to assist him with shady dealings.

Over time, Andy courageously finds a way to fully live his life even in the confines of a cell. He leaves a message for all that while the body may be locked away, the spirit can never be imprisoned.