The Shawshank Redemption

User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 1214 Ratings

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User Reviews

  1. Sep 15, 2013
    10
    I'm not going to go through a whole review, since there are plenty of reviews detailing why this is the greatest movie of all time. I'm just gonna give a quote:

    "The Shawshank Redemption is the best movie I have ever seen because of its ability to capture raw emotion." I'm also going to elaborate on the three biggest reasons people dislike this movie. 1. It's too slow. The
    I'm not going to go through a whole review, since there are plenty of reviews detailing why this is the greatest movie of all time. I'm just gonna give a quote:

    "The Shawshank Redemption is the best movie I have ever seen because of its ability to capture raw emotion."

    I'm also going to elaborate on the three biggest reasons people dislike this movie.

    1. It's too slow.

    The Shawshank Redemption may be a tad slow, but it is justified. I believe director Frank Darabont wanted to show Andy's time at Shawshank by showing how slow prison time really is. Some movies are just slow; this movie does it for a deeper reason, adding to Shawshank's genius.

    2. Andy Dufresne barely shows emotion.

    Those people obviously didn't get what kind of character Andy was. Tim Robbins did this on purpose. Andy was quiet, mellow, and was obviously quite shocked and angry he was going to prison for a crime he didn't do. Did you really expect the man to jump up and start singing "Kumbaya"? No! So I don't get what the problem is. The fact that he acted like this just added to the realistic atmosphere of the movie.

    3. This is not realistic.

    Oh yes your right, since these men in prison smoked, cursed, drank, and kept their eyes peeled in the shower room for potential rapists. That is not realistic at all. (sarcastic) Overall, I think some of the hate on Shawshank is solely because it is the highest rated movie on IMDb, for a fact. (User rating is 9.3 to this date). I think some people hate this movie because everyone else loves it, and that is a bad way to think about anything, not just movies.

    I would rate it higher if I could.
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  2. Nov 28, 2012
    10
    What to say about the "Shawshank Redemption"? I shouldn't really have to say anything because when most people hear about it, they already have a pretty good idea of how incredible it is. This movie is freakin' immaculate. Darabont and Co. have created not only the most inspiring film in ages, but one of the most emotionally significant films to date. The movie teaches things to us that weWhat to say about the "Shawshank Redemption"? I shouldn't really have to say anything because when most people hear about it, they already have a pretty good idea of how incredible it is. This movie is freakin' immaculate. Darabont and Co. have created not only the most inspiring film in ages, but one of the most emotionally significant films to date. The movie teaches things to us that we need to know - messages on hope, perserverance, and friendship - and it does it with marvelous eloquency. By far, one of the greatest films I have ever seen - a master work of art. Expand
  3. Sep 10, 2011
    9
    "Shawshank Redemption", a sensational movie containing a strong plot, powerful performances, and the ultimate theme of good and evil, is a masterpiece.
  4. Jul 9, 2014
    10
    With themes of hope, life, and especially of death, 'Shawshank' is a masterful drama about life in prison and one man's hope that drives him to achieve what he wants; freedom. The performances are both realistic and emotional, with Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman both delivering us their greatest on screen. The script is engaging and fits the tone of the movie, which makes the two hoursWith themes of hope, life, and especially of death, 'Shawshank' is a masterful drama about life in prison and one man's hope that drives him to achieve what he wants; freedom. The performances are both realistic and emotional, with Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman both delivering us their greatest on screen. The script is engaging and fits the tone of the movie, which makes the two hours run by so quick you'll have wished you'd seen more of it. Expand
  5. Apr 13, 2013
    10
    Perhaps it can be frowned upon to view a prison drama in such high regard, it may indeed paint a false picture of real life situations, but at the end of the day, the entertainment value and lasting effect of The Shawshank Redemption, a truly emotional discovery and, well, redemption.
    Everything aside, the film is simply about a friendship under the most unorthodox of circumstances.
    Andy
    Perhaps it can be frowned upon to view a prison drama in such high regard, it may indeed paint a false picture of real life situations, but at the end of the day, the entertainment value and lasting effect of The Shawshank Redemption, a truly emotional discovery and, well, redemption.
    Everything aside, the film is simply about a friendship under the most unorthodox of circumstances.
    Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is locked up in Shawshank prison in 1947, being convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. He is initially given a hard time as being the new guy, but his generally laid back attitude catch the attention of Red (Morgan Freeman).
    As Andy and Red get to know each other, Red soon realises that perhaps there is more than meets the eye with his new acquaintance, as Andy slowly begins to change the lives of the people closest to him. Unfortunately as time goes on, Andy's impatience starts with his life inside starts to show, he seems more reckless and outspoken, regardless of how he has made small but significant changes to the prison itself and of course its inmates.
    We are left to watch Andy's journey through the wonderful narration of Morgan Freeman's Red, who is constantly but pleasantly surprised at Andy's personality and reactions to his surroundings. The true friendship lies where these two are completely different, Red has made peace with his situation, accepting his fate and serving life, but Andy is determined to "Get busy living".
    Tim Robbins perfectly portrays a character who is purposely isolated from everyone, he can very much take care of himself and show is intelligence and cunning nature at many shining moments in this remarkable film. Morgan Freeman is very much the good guy who followed the wrong path, he gets on with almost everyone who is worth getting on with and doesn't cause trouble, apart from being the "go to' guy in the prison.
    The word perfect could indeed give the justice this movie deserves. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is powerful and absorbing, he is always trying to make you become part of the walls that these prisoners call home, his various shots including a few prisoners sitting on top of the roof in the early morning drinking beer and another when Andy manages to play Mozart through the tannoy system speaks waves to the capabilities not necessarily by the actors, but to the scenery that they are surrounded by, and it is truly breathtaking.
    It's just a show that is too good to miss, it emerged out of nowhere and really hit home on an emotional level, there is no action in it, simply life lessons that need to be heard, each character has a vibrant role to play that will make us concerning of their situations, and Frank Darabont has created a perfectly diverse cast to blend in with this masterful and commanding film.
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  6. May 29, 2016
    9
    The Shawshank Redemption delivers a constant anticipating feeling, mostly because of how well Morgan Freeman's script was wrote. A great narrator in a film causes a very realistic notion, as if a viewer feels like the narrator is having a conversation with them.
  7. Jul 26, 2015
    10
    Thanks to remarkable direction, all-star performances from the cast and a powerfully moving script, "The Shawshank Redemption" is not only marvelous entertainment but also a stunning achievement for Hollywood.
  8. Apr 29, 2013
    10
    Before, I never understood why this movie was #1 on the imdb top 250s list, but now i understand why. This movie was a beautifully crafted story on friendship, redemption and hope. The storyline was really well-crafted, and putting in these unforgettable characters made it even better. From Red to Andy to Norton, they we're all just wonderful and enjoyable characters, especially Red andBefore, I never understood why this movie was #1 on the imdb top 250s list, but now i understand why. This movie was a beautifully crafted story on friendship, redemption and hope. The storyline was really well-crafted, and putting in these unforgettable characters made it even better. From Red to Andy to Norton, they we're all just wonderful and enjoyable characters, especially Red and Andy. The relationship between those two is what really holds the balance of the movie. And putting in characters such as Warden Norton and Captain Hadley makes the story riveting and (in a sense) dark. It's not like any other movie out there. Overall, it's a classic Stephen King story. Expand
  9. Apr 17, 2016
    10
    One of the best movies of all time. Don't deprive yourself of the pleasure of watching such a stellar movie. Go now and watch this movie if you have never seen it. Perfect casting, amazing story, emotional performances. Just perfect.
  10. Jul 14, 2015
    10
    I remember the first time i watched this movie when i was a kid. Superb movie about hope,intelligence and friendship! So deep,intense and interesting. Masterpiece!
  11. May 24, 2013
    9
    Based on a short, non-horror, novel by Stephen King The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a young banker sentenced to life imprisonment for apparently murdering his wife and her lover.

    Shawshank Prison is a depressing place where brutality from guards and other prisoners is commonplace. With help from friend Red (the brilliant Morgan Freeman) he is able to gradually
    Based on a short, non-horror, novel by Stephen King The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a young banker sentenced to life imprisonment for apparently murdering his wife and her lover.

    Shawshank Prison is a depressing place where brutality from guards and other prisoners is commonplace. With help from friend Red (the brilliant Morgan Freeman) he is able to gradually win both prisoners and guards over to his side. Above all this movie is a story of hope but the brilliant central relationship between Andy and Red lifts it well above virtually any other film. Add that to top notch production values and a fantastically satisfying ending and you have one of the best movies in cinema history.
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  12. Feb 23, 2013
    10
    Morgan Freeman is in it! What more do you need to want to see this movie? Well besides that it`s a classic! It`s one of those movies you can watch over and over, and still be interested.
  13. Aug 1, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Shawshank Redemption is a story about a man who goes to jail after they accuse him for killing his wife and her lover. At first when he went to that prison he had problems and they raped him all the time after a while he made probably the best friendship he ever had in that prison. It is an interesting tale about friendship despite the differences of each people my opinion as I think the 'white people' used to have problems with the 'black people'. It will amuse the audience and it will touch you. It is interesting and it keeps you. Morgan freeman as usually he is the narrator. Tim Robbins gave a great performance and in overall The Shawshank Redemption it is a must-watch and probably one of the best of its kind. Expand
  14. Aug 23, 2010
    10
    Banker gets two life sentences for killing his wife & her lover, quiet in jail, gets beaten up, makes friends with "fixer", does the books for the guards, upsets prison boss, prison boss makes things unpleasant....
    Terrific film which I had never seen all the way through. Quality acting throughout from all the cast (Clancy Brown is scary whatever he plays) & it really does drag you in from
    Banker gets two life sentences for killing his wife & her lover, quiet in jail, gets beaten up, makes friends with "fixer", does the books for the guards, upsets prison boss, prison boss makes things unpleasant....
    Terrific film which I had never seen all the way through. Quality acting throughout from all the cast (Clancy Brown is scary whatever he plays) & it really does drag you in from the start.
    It's funny, tragic & heart warming, very well written & a film you could go back to again & again.
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  15. Dec 15, 2011
    9
    An 80 overall by critics shows how stupid they are. Shawshank Redemption is an amazing film that is a must see for any film buff. Untouchable performanc by Tim Robbins and a great supporting role by Morgan Freeman.
  16. Jun 12, 2013
    10
    Has to be the best prison movie ever. Yes, it's even better than the Green Mile. I've been putting off watching this movie forever, thinking it was going to be boring and sappy. But it's far from it. This movie wraps you up in its story and it always feels very real due to superb filmmaking. The acting couldn't get any better, and in the end this is one of the most uplifting moviesHas to be the best prison movie ever. Yes, it's even better than the Green Mile. I've been putting off watching this movie forever, thinking it was going to be boring and sappy. But it's far from it. This movie wraps you up in its story and it always feels very real due to superb filmmaking. The acting couldn't get any better, and in the end this is one of the most uplifting movies ever made. Yes it's very long, but it without a doubt justifies its length. Expand
  17. chw
    Jul 18, 2014
    10
    The Shawshank Redemption is a very excellent film that is written and directed by Frank Darabont, the man behind The Green Mile and The Walking Dead, and based on a short story by Stephen King.
  18. Apr 4, 2016
    9
    There are standard ways to stage a prison film and standard ways to tell a story by Stephen King. But "The Shawshank Redemption," based on a King novella and set in the correctional institution of the title, succeeds in avoiding the familiar.

    Without a single riot scene or horrific effect, it tells a slow, gentle story of camaraderie and growth, with an ending that abruptly finds poetic
    There are standard ways to stage a prison film and standard ways to tell a story by Stephen King. But "The Shawshank Redemption," based on a King novella and set in the correctional institution of the title, succeeds in avoiding the familiar.

    Without a single riot scene or horrific effect, it tells a slow, gentle story of camaraderie and growth, with an ending that abruptly finds poetic justice in what has come before. The writer and director, Frank Darabont, tells this tale with a surprising degree of loving care.

    There are times when "The Shawshank Redemption" comes dangerously close to sounding one of those "triumph of the human spirit" notes. But most of it is eloquently restrained. Despite an excess of voice-over narration and inspirational music, Mr. Darabont's film has a genuine dignity that holds the interest. It is helped greatly by fine, circumspect performances from Morgan Freeman as a rueful lifer named Red and Tim Robbins as Andy, the new kid on the cellblock. The film spans nearly 20 years of friendship between these two.

    When Andy is convicted of his wife's murder, the judge pronounces him "a particularly remorseless and icy man." He sustains that chill when he first arrives at Shawshank, remaining aloof from other inmates even when those inmates threaten him with physical harm. "I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight," says Red, who knows Andy has been gang-raped by fellow prisoners, in one of the film's only halfway-brutal episodes. "I wish I could tell you that, but prison is no fairy-tale world."

    Needless to say, the heroes of such stories usually do succeed in defending themselves, at least when Hollywood is telling the fairy tale. But "The Shawshank Redemption" has its own brand of iconoclasm, with Mr. Darabont's direction as quiet, purposeful and secretive as Andy is himself.

    Eventually Andy begins to fit in, especially after he wows the guards with skills left over from his pre-prison banking career. From the first time he advises one guard to make a one-time-only tax-free gift to his wife, Andy gets a new lease on life as "a convicted murderer who provides sound financial planning."

    Andy does special fiscal favors for the warden. ("You know, the funny thing is, on the outside I was an honest man, straight as an arrow," he says about this. "I had to come to prison to be a crook.") He also makes the occasional dramatic gesture, like commandeering the prison's loudspeaker and playing a Mozart aria for all his fellow inmates. The film has a tendency to wax romantic at such moments, but more often it sustains an intelligent reserve.

    Mr. Freeman is so quietly impressive here that there's reason to wish Red's role had more range. As written, he spends his time observing Andy fondly and describing prison life. But Mr. Freeman's commanding presence makes him a much stronger figure than that. Mr. Freeman is especially moving when he suggests how dependent Red has become on the prison walls that give shape to his life. Even so, Red has kept his ruefulness. "Only guilty man in Shawshank," he jokes about himself.

    Mr. Robbins has the trickier role of someone whose still waters run deep, but whose experience doesn't add up until an exposition-packed denouement. (The film's swift, enjoyably farfetched closing scenes are a sharp reminder of who is the author of this story, after all.) Andy's is the more subdued role, but Mr. Robbins plays it intensely, and he ages effectively from newcomer to father figure during the story. One of Andy's projects is improving the prison library, which once contained nothing but the equivalent of books by Stephen King.

    To raise funds for this undertaking, Andy is steady and patient, writing weekly letters to state officials until he gets what he wants. Mr. Darabont, a screenwriter making an impressive directorial debut, works in much the same quietly persistent way. "The Shawshank Conspiracy" takes shape slowly and carefully, displaying an overall subtlety that's surprising in a movie of this genre. In the end, like Andy and Red, it gets to where it wanted to go.
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  19. Apr 23, 2015
    9
    With a legion of titles like Pet Sematary, Firewalker, Sleepwalkers, Maximum Overdrive, and Children of the Corn, it's reasonable not to expect much from Stephen King-inspired motion pictures. Adaptations of the prolific author's work typically vary from mildly entertaining to virtually unwatchable. There are a few notable exceptions, however; two of which (Stand by Me, Misery) wereWith a legion of titles like Pet Sematary, Firewalker, Sleepwalkers, Maximum Overdrive, and Children of the Corn, it's reasonable not to expect much from Stephen King-inspired motion pictures. Adaptations of the prolific author's work typically vary from mildly entertaining to virtually unwatchable. There are a few notable exceptions, however; two of which (Stand by Me, Misery) were crafted by widely-respected director Rob Reiner. While The Shawshank Redemption is not a Reiner movie per se, it is a production of Castle Rock Pictures (Reiner's film company), and ranks among the best filmed versions of any King stories to date. (This statement has not changed since I first wrote it in 1994.)

    Filmed on location in a disused Ohio prison, The Shawshank Redemption is set in a place of perpetual dreariness. What little color there is, is drab and lifeless (lots of grays and muted greens and blues), and there are times when the film is a shade away from black-and-white (give credit to cinematographer Roger Deakins, a longtime Cohen brothers collaborator). It's ironic, therefore, that the central messages are of hope, redemption, and salvation.

    First time feature director Frank Darabont helms a fleet of impressive performances. Tim Robbins, as Andrew Dufresne, plays the wrongly convicted man with quiet dignity. Andy's ire is internal; he doesn't rant about his situation or the corruptness of the system that has imprisoned him. His unwillingness to surrender hope wins him the admiration of some and the contempt of others, and allows the audience to identify with him that much more strongly.

    Ellis Boyd Redding (Morgan Freeman), or "Red" as his friends call him, is the self-proclaimed "Sears and Roebuck" of the Shawshank Prison (for a price, he can get just about anything from the outside). His is the narrative voice and, for once, the disembodied words aid, rather than intrude upon, the story. Serving a life sentence for murder, Red is a mixture of cynicism and sincerity - a man with a good soul who has done a vile deed. His friendship with Andy is one of The Shawshank Redemption's highlights.

    Unfortunately, following a solid two hours of thought-provoking drama, the movie deflates like a punctured balloon during its overlong denouement. The too-predictable final twenty minutes move a little slowly, and writer/director Darabont exposes a distressing need to wrap up everything into a tidy little package.

    "Salvation lies within," advises Warden Norton at one point. It is the presentation of this theme that makes The Shawshank Redemption unique. Prison movies often focus on the violence and hopelessness of a life behind bars. While this film includes those elements, it makes them peripheral. The Shawshank Redemption is all about hope and, because of that, watching it is both uplifting and cathartic.
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  20. Mar 26, 2014
    7
    The Shawshank Redemption is a powerful film on every level, but seriously overrated. The film was good, but not perfect (Certainly not enough for a 9.3) It was very, very good in fact amazing, but just really overrated. Don't let it stop you from watching the film!---you will find none like it.
  21. Aug 27, 2010
    10
    This movie makes being cliche look badass, and is so well constructed on top of that, you pretty much have to give it credit as one of the movie masterpieces of our time. But seriously, it's not the greatest movie ever made *cough*imdb*cough*
  22. Nov 8, 2013
    10
    Such a strong narrative. All the ingredients of what makes a good drama in the right proportions. The goodness inside people in the most Godforsaken places, and the moral corruption some of us could suffer from if given power over condemned people.

    You have to make your own mind about Andy, whether he is innocent or not. He believes so, but all evidence points to the contrary. Robbins
    Such a strong narrative. All the ingredients of what makes a good drama in the right proportions. The goodness inside people in the most Godforsaken places, and the moral corruption some of us could suffer from if given power over condemned people.

    You have to make your own mind about Andy, whether he is innocent or not. He believes so, but all evidence points to the contrary. Robbins plays him in a subtle, laid-back manner. He's hard to figure out. Then there is Red, played by the masterful Freeman, who is in for the long haul and doesn't know if he is ever going to breathe free air again. These two characters make the heart and soul of the movie.

    There may be a message here. Without being overt, we sense as the years of these men's lives are wasted before our eyes, especially Andy since you can't really figure out if he is guilty or not. But the ways he finds to engage himself, do something good.

    There is plenty of humour and the drama never exceeds the limit where it might become painful. The action is sparse and is shown in an expository fashion. The tone is objective. And Freeman's voice guides you through every scene. The camera angles used, and the overall cinematography was genius. It was like being guided though a maze by an expert in the field. The dialogue was crisp and refreshing. The score quiet and unobtrusive. The world created, or in this case just the prison, seemed so real and complete. You could feel the inmates' emotions related to the place.

    All this may give the impression that it may be hard to sit through it, but quite surprisingly, like all great movies, despite the deep, absorbing discussions about life, the movie speeds through from scene to scene without effort. I had the feeling I have when I'm reading an especially engrossing novel I cannot put down. I guess this is what happens when the work of great directors, screenwriters and cinematographers fuses to deliver a product that exceeds anything that a single department could achieve at its best. This one did not just have effort put into it but also soul.
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  23. Nov 5, 2012
    6
    Aside from the iconic poster-on-the-wall scene, nothing about this movie is all that memorable. A crowd-pleasing story with a message that comes off like a sermon.
  24. Mar 24, 2015
    6
    I was expecting something else entirely to a better movie. Sorry not impressed me so even give birth. The only thing I liked was how they interpreted actors. Otherwise ... no comment.
  25. Apr 5, 2012
    9
    A delightful movie. It is not my favourite movie ever but it is one of those I will never forget. In its genre between 8.5 and 9 for me...there was room for improvement I believe. Great performances of both, Freeman and Robbins...Each character was clearly defined. Although, Freeman tends to play well those characters...because he is always performing similar ones.Yet, I would love toA delightful movie. It is not my favourite movie ever but it is one of those I will never forget. In its genre between 8.5 and 9 for me...there was room for improvement I believe. Great performances of both, Freeman and Robbins...Each character was clearly defined. Although, Freeman tends to play well those characters...because he is always performing similar ones.Yet, I would love to see him doing something a bit more daring. That said, I have no doubts that he is an excellent actor, and I applaud his talent! Expand
  26. Apr 23, 2014
    10
    I can understand why it is one of the highest praised movies of all time because it is one of the best movies of all time. Great cast with amazing chemistry throughout the whole movie. Really well acted and a fantastic storyline keeps you into this movie the whole time you watch it. It is one of those feel good stories that you have to like even if you don't like these types of movies. AndI can understand why it is one of the highest praised movies of all time because it is one of the best movies of all time. Great cast with amazing chemistry throughout the whole movie. Really well acted and a fantastic storyline keeps you into this movie the whole time you watch it. It is one of those feel good stories that you have to like even if you don't like these types of movies. And this movie has one of the best endings in cinema history so this is a definite must watch. Expand
  27. Jul 5, 2014
    9
    A beautiful movie about friendship, hope and redemption. It's full of great acting, writing and a nice soundtrack, also nice direction by Frank Darabont. Beautiful Ending
  28. Nov 14, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Bottom Line: #1-ranked masterpiece on IMDbâ Expand
  29. Dec 6, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Shawshank Redemption is easily one of my all time favorite movies,
    other than the fact that it's written by stephen king, it's also one of his best works.
    tim robins and morgan freeman were born to play these characters, and the story is not just about the life in prison but it's also about friendship and loyalty and you get so attached to these characters that it's leave an impact on you after the movie ends.
    also the escape scene is one of the best scenes in cinema history.
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  30. Aug 31, 2013
    10
    WOW!!! It's without any doubt, one of Darabont's best pictures!!! Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins are brilliant in this film. The only problem is that it didn't win an Oscar. It's nominated for 7. In my opinion, it could have won seven Oscars and more!
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. 90
    It's the no-bull performances that hold back the flood of banalities. Robbins and Freeman connect with the bruised souls of Andy and Red to create something undeniably powerful and moving.
  2. Gripping...compelling.
  3. Some of "The Shawshank Redemption'' comes across as outrageously improbable. Yet the film keeps pulling you back with its sense of striving humanity slowly turning the tables against evil.