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The Shawshank Redemption
Year:
1994
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama
IMDB rating:
9.3
Director:
Frank Darabont
Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne
Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding
Bob Gunton as Warden Norton
William Sadler as Heywood
Clancy Brown as Captain Hadley
Gil Bellows as Tommy
Mark Rolston as Bogs Diamond
James Whitmore as Brooks Hatlen
Jeffrey DeMunn as 1946 D.A.
Neil Giuntoli as Jigger
Brian Libby as Floyd
David Proval as Snooze
Joseph Ragno as Ernie
Jude Ciccolella as Guard Mert
Joe Ragno as Ernie
Storyline: Chronicles the experiences of a formerly successful banker as a prisoner in the gloomy jailhouse of Shawshank after being found guilty of a crime he did not commit. The film portrays the man's unique way of dealing with his new, torturous life; along the way he befriends a number of fellow prisoners, most notably a wise long-term inmate named Red.
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Reviews
Relentless Storytelling
I reviewed this film recently with a specific question in mind. At this writing, this film is ranked by IMDB viewers as the second best film ever made. The SECOND BEST EVER MADE!

Why? This was my question.

The acting is good. Robbins and Freeman are quality craftsmen in the Caine and Hackman tradition. But these are not truly great actors and in any case, they are only asked to play appealing persons, deliberately less-dimensional than real (as opposed to believably hyper-real which is much harder).

The director is a first-timer, and it shows. There is simple framing and staging here. In fact, there seems to be a deliberate strategy to be as plain as possible. And that is the core of where I think people find the appeal of this film.

The story is very tight in the sense of narrative flow. All the chunks are the same size, with no fancy rhythm. There is no distracting backstory. No element has irony, not writing, acting, shooting, even the score.

Now for me, I expect and demand art in my films -- that's why I register this as plain. But I think it is well liked because it is totally without pretense. It is straight and honest; people seem hungry for honesty, and this has the appearance of what they need at just the right time.

Is a film great because it merely fulfills? I hope many people think not, and dream that this film moves down the list to be replaced with more intelligent efforts.
2000-11-04
really superb
i watched this movie just to pass out some good time... and you know what.. i had sore and wet eyes at the end.. i don't know why but the movie's end, couldn't stop myself..

andy's portrayal by tim robbins and red's by morgan freeman was absolutely great..

i like and love andy's philosophy that "hope is a good thing.." .. and i have tried to inculcate that in me.. i just loved the movie.. i was like.. whats this, its ended so fast.. i didn't it want to end.. i am not a con and neither i wanna be.. but it has shown even the guys out there in the prisons also can be innocent.. and to prove their innocence they can go to any lengths.. i mean that they also have got something in them.. their hearts.. the spirit shown by andy was absolutely great.. it shows that when you want to do something, do it with full heart.. i have just finished it..but i'm sure i m gonna watch this very often, and am not going to forget it for a long length of time..
2006-10-24
The greatest movie ever made and to be made
The Shawshank Redemption is a story of life itself. It is not about a person in prison, it is about the soul and the battle it accepts and carries on to deserve the life it has been given by God. I watched the movie for the first time some months ago. That evening I was about to go out with some friends but out meeting was canceled and I had to stay home. Being unhappy about that, I started watching the movie on the TV just by chance, not knowing about its existence before that at all. At first I was skeptic, I admit that. But oh God, at the end of it I was screaming and jumping in my room at 1 AM! It gave me so much emotions and so much hope, I had never felt before that. I could hardly believe that a movie could make me feel that way - so excited, so happy about my life, leaving me believing so much in my own self. It is a great story of what the strength of your thoughts can make you do. In The Shawshank Redemption desire does not make you weak, just the opposite - gives you wings to fly away from fear, fly closer and closer to freedom. Morgan Freeman's voice is just another advantage that makes the movie even more impressive. Tim Robbins' act is just beyond perfection! I bought the DVD this summer and every time I feel weak or just bad about something, I watch the movie. It has become my personal shrink, making me feel strong enough anytime I watch it. Can never imagine a better movie made anywhere in the world even after 1000 years!
2006-12-23
What a beautiful movie!
All is perfect : the complexity of the characters, the suspense, the principals themes like friendship, loneliness, injustice, redemption, vengeance, freedom... The most complete movie that i've ever seen. Tim Robbins is great, sensitive, brilliant: in one scene, he can feel a thousand of feelings. Freeman is very correct and seems to be really "Red". Gunton, Sadler and all the others seemed to have fun playing in this master of peace. Titanic is pure entertainment and received 11 oscars. This movie deserves 30 oscars because it shows what is really important in life. No action, more realistic, more useful than the other films. It was really a BIG BANG in my head the first time i saw it. When i see it again, I think and I realize the incredible power that the cinema's industry have. In a different way, only Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan and some others have the same impact.
1998-12-24
Good , But It Is Overrated By Some
In recent years the IMDB top 250 movies has had THE GODFATHER at number 1 while THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION has remained at number 2 . The only exception was early in 2002 when FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING topped the chart for a couple of months then dropped down to number 2 for a couple of more months . I`ll probably make myself very unpopular for saying this but I don`t think SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION deserves to be so high

!!!!!! SPOILERS !!!!!!

What I don`t like about it is the amount of cliches . New prisoner arrives and finds a maggot in his food , prison cliche 37 . New prisoner gives maggot to old prisoner to feed his pet bird , prison cliche 43 . It`s revealed at the end that the prisoner who has spent so many years inside is innocent after all , prison cliche numero uno . Did anyone believe during any part of this movie that Andy Dufresne was guilty ? Neither did I . Maybe that`s why I love the American prison series OZ because all the inmates there are totally guilty . There`s other things wrong with the movie . It`s about half an hour overlong , and there`s rather unrealistic bits like the warder having someone killed after finding out Dufresne is probably innocent. Oh and how many prison friendships has there been between a black man and a white man ?

Maybe that last point shouldn`t be taken as a criticism because the performances of Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins are very good and make the movie . Neither of them give a flashy performance ( Again not a criticism ) but both are very subtle in their roles , can you imagine how different this movie would have been if we`d had Tom Cruise and Denzil Washington as the stars ? Perhaps because Freeman`s character of Red does seem to have been written as a white character he`s so good in the role . Am I alone in thinking Freeman has been the best black actor in Hollywood for the last decade because he`s more interested in exploring the character instead of playing someone who`s black ?

There`s also some outstanding touches from director Frank Darabont . Witness the scene early in the film where Andy spends his first night in prison with the darkness falling upon the prisoners faces . It`s almost like the artwork of Andy Dogg as the prisoners look out onto the landing as they search for fresh prey , and there is quite a touching sequence as Red leaves prison out into the harsh outside world to the strains of Thomas Newman`s score

I gave THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION eight out of ten . It is a classic feel good movie but unfortunately being a cynic I do think it`s slightly overrated by IMDB voters
2004-08-12
Great story, wondrously told and acted
At the heart of this extraordinary movie is a brilliant and indelible performance by Morgan Freeman as Red, the man who knows how to get things, the "only" guilty man at Shawshank prison. He was nominated by the Academy for Best Actor in 1995 but didn't win. (Tom Hanks won for Forrest Gump.) What Freeman does so beautifully is to slightly underplay the part so that the eternal boredom and cynicism of the lifer comes through, and yet we can see how very much alive with the warmth of life the man is despite his confinement. Someday Morgan Freeman is going to win an Academy Award and it will be in belated recognition for this performance, which I think was a little too subtle for some Academy members to fully appreciate at the time.

But Freeman is not alone. Tim Robbins plays the hero of the story, banker Andy Dufresne, who has been falsely convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. Robbins has a unique quality as an actor in that he lends ever so slightly a bemused irony to the characters he plays. It is as though part of him is amused at what he is doing. I believe this is the best performance of his career, but it might be compared with his work in The Player (1992), another excellent movie, and in Mystic River (2003) for which he won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.

It is said that every good story needs a villain, and in the Bible-quoting, Bible-thumping, massively hypocritical, sadistic Warden Samuel Norton, played perfectly by Bob Gunton, we have a doozy. I want to tell you that Norton is so evil that fundamentalist Christians actually hate this movie because of how precisely his vile character is revealed. They also hate the movie because of its depiction of violent, predatory homosexual behavior (which is the reason the movie is rated R). On the wall of his office (hiding his safe with its ill-gotten contents and duplicitous accounts) is a framed plaque of the words "His judgment cometh and that right soon." The irony of these words as they apply to the men in the prison and ultimately to the warden himself is just perfect. You will take delight, I promise.

Here is some other information about the movie that may interest you. As most people know, it was adapted from a novella by Stephen King entitled "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption." Rita Hayworth figures in the story because Red procures a poster of her for Andy that he pins up on the wall of his cell. The poster is a still from the film Gilda (1946) starring her and Glenn Ford. We see a clip from the black and white film as the prisoners watch, cheering and hollering when Rita Hayworth appears. If you haven't seen her, check out that old movie. She really is gorgeous and a forerunner of Marilyn Monroe, who next appears on Andy's wall in a still from The Seven Year Itch (1955). It's the famous shot of her in which her skirt is blown up to reveal her shapely legs. Following her on Andy's wall (and, by the way, these pinups figure prominently in the plot) is Rachel Welsh from One Million Years B.C. (1966). In a simple and effective device these pinups show us graphically how long Andy and Red have been pining away.

Frank Darabont's direction is full of similar devices that clearly and naturally tell the story. There is Brooks (James Whitmore) who gets out after fifty years but is so institutionalized that he can't cope with life on the outside and hangs himself. Playing off of this is Red's periodic appearance before the parole board where his parole is summarily REJECTED. Watch how this plays out at the end.

The cinematography by Roger Deakins is excellent. The editing superb: there's not a single dead spot in the whole movie. The difference between the good guys (Red, Andy, Brooks, etc.) and the bad guys (the warden, the guards, the "sisters," etc.) is perhaps too starkly drawn, and perhaps Andy is a bit too heroic and determined beyond what might be realistic, and perhaps the "redemption" is a bit too miraculous in how beautifully it works out. But never mind. We love it.

All in all this is a great story vividly told that will leave you with a true sense of redemption in your soul. It is not a chick flick, and that is an understatement. It is a male bonding movie about friendship and the strength of character, about going up against what is wrong and unfair and coming out on top through pure true grit and a little luck.

Bottom line: one of the best ever made, currently rated #2 (behind The Godfather) at the IMDb. Don't miss it.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)
2004-05-20
This is a film that you live, not watch
To call The Shawshank Redemption a great film would be doing it no justice at all. This is a film that when I watched it the first time I couldn't believe how good it was. I expected a film that would pass the time by, and I got a film that I could identify with. If you are feeling sad, and you think the world's a rubbish place, this fills you with hope. I love the opening scene where the camera pans around the prison, and then the music kicks in, it makes you feel awe-inspired.

The acting was brilliant, you believed what everyone said (some films the words are delivered with such cheesiness and fake ness, that it makes you want to throw up). I have watched Spiderman, and even the lines in that make you feel that they mean nothing, they just sound good.

The film and book reciprocated the message 'Hope Springs Eternal', which means so much because we always live in hope that tomorrow it will be better, things might change for us, and hope never dies.

I think, when Tim Robbins speaks about music, how you can never take it away, because it's in your head. If I have a rubbish day at work, then it's true that music just lifts you, which is re-emphasised with the scene where he plays the music full blast around the prison (this of example of piece of script, which means, so much). The movie uses music to it's full potential to give more impact to the words and the characters.

This film cannot replicated, because the film is a piece of art, the Director wanted to make money, but he also wanted to make a piece of film that made you feel something, that had some effect on you after the movie was over. The movie has no bad points it's what a story should be about, it takes you somewhere that you nether been, and makes you feel you lived that experience, and you can learn from that experience. The lines delivered, will always be remembered 'Get busy living, or get busy dying' (this is the dilemma we face in everyday live). This will live in my memories forever, not like the sorry cash-ins of movies.

This is a brief synopsis of how great the movie is, but words just seem so little to explain the brilliance of this film.
2002-07-04
One of my all time favorites.
This film is really an amazing movie timeless.

One of my all time favorites.

About the long-can write something in a movie.

Masters said everything I needed There is not yet aware of the movie and I watched it for people to watch I would like to invite.

Than You.

Shawshank Redemption is a very moving story about hope and the power of friendship. The cast is first rate with everyone giving a great performance. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman carry the movie, but Bob Gunton and Clancy Brown are perfect as the Warden Norton and prison guard captain Hadley respectively. And James Whitmore's portrayal of an elderly inmate Brooks is moving. The screenplay gives almost every actor at least one or more memorable lines through out the film. As well as a very surprising "twist" near the end that almost knocked me out of my chair. If you have not seen this movie rent it or better yet buy it. As I bet you'll want to see this one more than once.
2013-07-18
The Shawshank Redemption
One of the finest films made in recent years. It's a poignant story about hope. Hope gets me. That's what makes a film like this more than a movie. It tells a lesson about life. Those are the films people talk about 50 or even 100 years from you. It's also a story for freedom. Freedom from isolation, from rule, from bigotry and hate. Freeman and Robbins are majestic in their performances. Each learns from the other. Their relationship is strong and you feel that from the first moment they make contact with one another. There is also a wonderful performance from legend James Whitmore as Brooks.

He shines when it is his time to go back into the world, only to find that the world grew up so fast he never even got a chance to blink. Stephen King's story is brought to the screen with great elegance and excitement. It is an extraordinary motion that people "will" be talking about in 50 or 100 years.
1999-03-25
My Best Movie
Most of the people here is the best movie in the world to join me. Watching very, very impressed. What it might be called the great stories of Stephen King anyway. Acting on cues can say is enormous. There's no posturing. Especially when Andy Dufrense incredible music that review still stands wandering on everyone's lips. Finale as you lose yourself in it is a movie you are getting into. Finals if he so exhilarating you a high-quality music. And finding that deserves really deserve. I watched this film very young age and it has taught me that the magic of cinema in a nice way. This film is one of the reasons I hate the Oscars. Will remain as the best film in more than 10 years, I believe wholeheartedly sites. Definitely my best movie 10/10.
2015-12-13
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