The Shawshank Redemption is a film written and directed by Frank Darabont. It is a 1994 American crime drama based on Stephen King’s novel, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. Tim Robbins stars as Andrew Dufresne (Andy) and Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd Redding (Red). The potential gap between initial box office success and ultimate popularity is exemplified by this movie. Despite the fact that the movie grossed just enough to cover its budget it received positive from critics and has ranked high in sales of home videotape and DVD. IT was only after fifteen years of its release that it was ranked among the greatest film of all time.
In the film Andy spends almost two decades in a fictional penitentiary called the Shawshank State Prison. The story builds up in 1947 when Andy, a banker, is convicted for murdering his wife and her lover. After having served twenty years, an inmate Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding is refused parole shortly before Andy’s arrival. Red who is know for smuggling in contraband soon gets acquainted with Andy, who requests him for a rock hammer .In 1949 Andy helps the captain of the prison guard to evade taxes. Soon afterwards he renders his financial advisory services to almost the entire prison staff. In return for this he is provided protection from ‘the Sisters’ a gang of prisoners who sexually abused him. The warden capitalises on Andy’s skill to launder money that he earns by exploiting the prisoner’s free labour. As the plot progresses a series of events lead to the warden’s suicide and Andy’s escape from prison.
The movie was filmed in the city of Mansfield, Ohio, located in north central Ohio. The prison shown in the movie is actually an old Ohio State Reformatory which has also featured in films like Harry and Walter Go to New York, Air Force One and Tango and Cash.
The score of the movie composed by Thomas Newman was nominated for the Academy Award for the Best Original Score. Most of the score consists of piano music and the main theme is an inspirational and dramatic score. “Letter duet” by Mozart is feature in the climax.
Some critics feel that an important theme in the story is the integrity of Andy Dufrense as against the lack of the same in the criminals and guards. Some also feel that the movie has a Christian parable. The movie deals with a lot of important themes like hope, sin, redemption and faith. The tearful arrest of Hadley, the warden’s suicide and the use of a Bible by Andy to escape from prison are all examples of the same. The movie truly portrays how someone can be free even in prison and be a captive in the free world. However on the tenth anniversary on the DVD director Frank Darabont denied a parable but welcomed such interpretations.
Despite the fact that the movie wasn’t a box office success it gained nominations for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor – Morgan Freeman, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Sound. Due to stiff competition from Forrest Gump it failed to win any Oscars. It was only in the year 2007 that the movie finally got a place in American Film Institute’s list of greatest movies of all time. Till this day the movie continues to intrigue and amaze millions of movie buffs, teaching us some very important lessons for life.