Why it’s famous:
The Shawshank Redemption has an epic emotional storyline that we can all relate to, as it focuses on the human psyche as it relates to friendship.
The film follows two imprisoned men, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding (Morgan Freeman) who bond during their time in jail. Freeman’s smooth, deep voice is stellar (as always), and gives the movie the organic feel it needs.
This was also director Frank Darabount’s breakout work, who went on to become one of Hollywood’s finest.
Why you haven’t seen it:
The success that The Shawshank Redemption saw was mostly through word of mouth. As a box office failure, it didn’t reach many audiences while in theatres, even with its critical acclaim. Most of its fame came afterwards through showings on television. Later garnering seven Oscar nominations, including “Best Picture”, the movie enjoyed more critical acclaim after leaving theatres.
Why it might be tough to get through:
With its limited array of action and slower story, this film can annoy viewers hoping to see a dramatic prison life. It’s not a Prison Break-type film, and that doesn’t appeal to everyone.
The 142-minute runtime may also seem daunting, especially with the lack of action and with the focus primarily on human relationships and character development. But if you can get past the lack of car chases and explosions, it’s entirely worth it.
Why you should watch it anyways:
Aside from the critical acclaims and long list of nominations, the movie also plays on some interesting issues. Many have noted it to be a contemporary twist on existentialism. It also plays with aspects of Leo Tolstoy’s work, God Sees Truth, But Waits.
But more importantly, it’s an outstanding movie about friendship that will make you want to call up your best friend and tell them that you love them, while wiping away tears as the credits roll.
Red: (narrating) “Forty years I been asking permission to piss. I can’t squeeze a drop without say-so.”
Heywood: “The Count of Monte Crisco…”
Floyd: “That’s ‘Cristo’ you dumb shit.”
Heywood: “… by Alexandree Dumb-ass. Dumb-ass.”
Andy Dufresne: “Dumb-ass? ‘Dumas’. You know what it’s about? You’ll like it, it’s about a prison break.”
Red: “We oughta file that under ‘Educational’ too, oughten we?”
The movie’s rights were bought off of Stephen King for $1.
The first-choice cast was very different, with roles offered to Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, and Brad Pitt.
Only two women had speaking roles in the movie.