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.
Andy and Red’s opening chat in the prison yard, in which Red is throwing a baseball, took nine hours to shoot. Morgan Freeman threw the baseball for the entire nine hours without a word of complaint. He showed up for work the next day with his left arm in a sling.
Why do I want to write the 234th comment on The Shawshank Redemption? I am not sure – almost everything that could be possibly said about it has been said. But like so many other people who wrote comments, I was and am profoundly moved by this simple and eloquent depiction of hope and friendship and redemption.
The only other movie I have ever seen that effects me as strongly is To Kill a Mockingbird. Both movies leave me feeling cleaner for having watched them.
I didn’t intend to see this movie at all: I do not like prison movies and I don’t normally watch them. I work at a branch library and one day as I was checking The Shawshank Redemption out to one of our older patrons, she said to me, “Whenever I feel down or depressed, I check out this movie and watch it and it always makes me feel better.” At the time, I thought that was very strange. One day there was nothing on TV except things I absolutely would not watch under any circumstance or things that I had seen too many times already. I remembered what she said, so I watched it. I have watched it many many times since then and it gets better with every showing.
No action, no special effects – just men in prison uniforms talking to each other.
The Shawshank Redemption and To Kill a Mockingbird are the best movies I have ever seen. I do not judge it by it’s technical merits – I don’t really care about that. I have read that Citizen Kane or The Godfather or this or that movie is the best movie ever made. They may have the best technique or be the most influential motion pictures ever made, but not the best. The best movies are ones that touch the soul. It takes a movie like The Shawshank Redemption to touch the soul.