Director: Frank Darabont
Cast: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
Box Office: Made $28 mil in the U.S. Though a modest hit, it became the highest rental gross movie of all time.
Trivia: Stephen King sold the rights to the movie very cheaply out of his friendship with Frank Darabont. They had originally become friends when Darabont adapted a short story of King’s called “The Woman in the Room” (King has a policy stating that any aspiring filmmaker can adapt his short stories for a buck) and King was thoroughly impressed. They maintained a pen pal relationship and didn’t actually meet until Darabont optioned Shawshank.
[Red places his bet on Andy]
Red: That tall drink of water with the silver spoon up his ass.
[on Red’s harmonica playing]
Andy Dufresne: Here’s where it makes the most sense. You need it so you don’t forget. Forget that there are places in the world that aren’t made out of stone. That there’s a – there’s a – there’s something inside that’s yours, that they can’t touch.
Captain Hadley: What the Christ is this happy horseshit?
Prisoner: Hey, he took the Lord’s name in vain! I’m tellin’ the warden!
Captain Hadley: You’ll be tellin’ the warden about my baton up your ass!
Red: King me.
Andy Dufresne: Chess. Now there’s a game of kings.
Andy Dufresne: Civilized. Strategic…
Red: …and a total fuckin’ mystery. I hate it.
[watching Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946)]
Red: I love when she does that shit with her hair.
Andy Dufresne: Get busy living, or get busy dying
A Timeless Classic!
Most people forget that the book was written by Stephen King under the name of Richard Bachman. Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins are brilliant in this. It won 7 Academy Award nominations. The story is touching, clever and compact, and if you haven’t yet seen it I’m not sure what you’re waiting for. No matter how many times I have seen it, every time it’s on television it’s like I have to watch it. This should have won Best Picture, but alas it was up against another great film “Forrest Gump” which won instead.
Frank Darabont’s masterpiece is a quiet, unassuming drama that is so understated, you have to see it a few times to truly appreciate how great it is, and just when you think this is just a simple character study, the story takes an unexpected turn that provides a wonderful payoff for all the time you’ve invested in these characters. The ending is magical, it always makes me teary eyed, and it is one of the top five movie endings of all time.