User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 934 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 57 out of 934
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  1. Dec 30, 2010
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. So, so, so good. The adaptation of the Stephen King novel is so entertaining, filled with interesting dialogue and plot twists. A pretty much perfect prison film. Great performances by Robbins and Freeman. One moment really got to me: the moment when Andy crawls out of the sewer tunnel and stares up at the sky in the rain. Such a glorious moment of triumph, I wanted to stand up and scream "Yes!". This movie truly depicted that prison life in the fifties was just as hard for new prisoners as it is implied today. The movie didn't sugar coat Andy's prison life. A great movie full of great writing and performances that the first time you watch it, it will instantly be fortified as a great movie classic. Expand
  2. Nov 3, 2010
    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.
  3. PeterJ.
    May 29, 2002
    10
    Perhaps my favourite movie of all time. Absolutely brilliant.
  4. Robert
    Dec 30, 2002
    10
    One of my personal favorite movies of all time. Far from being boring or slow, this movie made the 2+ hours pass in a flash. Robbins and Freeman are both incredible in their roles.
  5. VinceB.
    Apr 6, 2003
    10
    I can watch it over and over, great characters.
  6. JacobM.
    May 22, 2005
    10
    An incredible movie, should have gotten better than its 80/100 from critics... I was surprised.
  7. NateW.
    Oct 23, 2002
    10
    Incredible.....the music, acting, story, and the overwhelming message that there is always hope in any situation.
  8. Uter
    Sep 7, 2003
    10
    It's one of the best movies ever made, but the dvd extras are lacking. I'm surprised there hasn't been a re-release by now.
  9. PatC.
    Jan 16, 2004
    10
    This film is so insistent in its approach and pervasive in its factual appearance that critiquing it would in some manner have to involve cheap shots. It's manipulative, and perhaps Dufresne could have been better played, but the values the film intends to actualize are presented so precisely that it is my advisory to suspend judgement. Not that it's a perfect film, but as a This film is so insistent in its approach and pervasive in its factual appearance that critiquing it would in some manner have to involve cheap shots. It's manipulative, and perhaps Dufresne could have been better played, but the values the film intends to actualize are presented so precisely that it is my advisory to suspend judgement. Not that it's a perfect film, but as a whole it's so much greater than the sum of its parts. Expand
  10. DaveM.
    Jan 27, 2004
    10
    It's good.
  11. Sep 9, 2012
    10
    This is my all time favorite movie. Great story of redemption and justice.
  12. raVen
    Nov 2, 2003
    9
    (9.5) If you like a movie that makes you hate the world and/or feel stupid for watching it, this movie is not for you. If, on the other hand, you think there might be the teeniest hope for humanity yet--by all means, watch this movie again and again.
  13. Daz
    Aug 4, 2004
    10
    One of the best movies ever made. I saw this on the day it came out having heard nothing about it except it was nominated for about 7 oscars. It completely blew me away and for weeks i couldn't stop talking about it. If this had been properly advertised it would have made 5 times what it did. I'm not surprised that in most recent polls it comes in the top 3 best movies ever. If One of the best movies ever made. I saw this on the day it came out having heard nothing about it except it was nominated for about 7 oscars. It completely blew me away and for weeks i couldn't stop talking about it. If this had been properly advertised it would have made 5 times what it did. I'm not surprised that in most recent polls it comes in the top 3 best movies ever. If i could give it 11 out of 10 i would. If i could recommend to you one movie you MUST see before you die it is this one. Beg, borrow, rent or buy but WATCH THIS MOVIE. Expand
  14. JanethM
    Jun 3, 2005
    10
    The BEST movie I have ever seen. If you have not seen it, go rent it NOW. Andy Dufresne is the bomb!
  15. GilbertMulroneycakesSavesTheWorldFromTheEvilCurseO
    Nov 27, 2002
    10
    Wow - a near three-hour movie that bears constant rewatching. A true classic.
  16. JocelynP.
    Jan 29, 2002
    10
    The best film in the last 10 years. So what if it's a little sentimental?? It's just great storytelling.
  17. MarkE.
    Mar 20, 2002
    10
    Great movie about prison life, also great characters in Red and Andy Dufresne. Also great acting especially by Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins.
  18. ChadH.
    Jun 1, 2002
    10
    No perhaps about it, it IS my favorite movie of all time. Victimized at the box office only by its difficult-to-market name, this should have been more successful. As it worked out, it became hidden gem that really only got respect through word-of-mouth video rentals and on television. There's a reason this one shows up 10 times a week on cable: it's a true classic, a No perhaps about it, it IS my favorite movie of all time. Victimized at the box office only by its difficult-to-market name, this should have been more successful. As it worked out, it became hidden gem that really only got respect through word-of-mouth video rentals and on television. There's a reason this one shows up 10 times a week on cable: it's a true classic, a masterfully told story about the human spirit. Expand
  19. Marc-o
    Oct 23, 2003
    10
    This deserves more than a rating. i have watched this movie a over 20 times in the 9 years since its release and this movie if no ther shows just how crappy Oscars and other awards are as this should be heralded for what it is: a modern cinema classic, i have yet to meet one person who disliked it, Robbins reserved Brilliance and Freeman just seems to be a testament to the wisdom of age. This deserves more than a rating. i have watched this movie a over 20 times in the 9 years since its release and this movie if no ther shows just how crappy Oscars and other awards are as this should be heralded for what it is: a modern cinema classic, i have yet to meet one person who disliked it, Robbins reserved Brilliance and Freeman just seems to be a testament to the wisdom of age. If you haven't seen this film then shame on you. Expand
  20. RezaI.
    May 16, 2004
    10
    My favorite movie of all time.
  21. ChanB.
    May 29, 2004
    10
    Amazinnggg!
  22. Sep 27, 2012
    10
    Shawshank Redemption is easily one of the best movies I have ever seen in my life. The movie has a great message to it, the acting and filming were fantastic.
  23. Jan 17, 2013
    10
    Very good movie. There are no words to describe how good this movie is.
  24. 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
  25. Apr 14, 2013
    10
    The best. Astonishing. Superb. Well-acted, well-directed movie by one of my favorite directors was supposed to win much more awards. It deserved much more attention at the time but, no matter at all. Day by day people know it, understand it and realize it.
  26. Nov 12, 2013
    10
    "HOPE IS A GOOD THING. MAYBE THE BEST OF THINGS. AND NO GOOD THING EVER DIES"

    Casting was spotty, with Tim Robbins a great choice for the lead character, Dufresne. Robbins maintains viewer interest anytime he is the focus of attention, unfortunately a lot of the screen time is devoted to the narrator, “Red,” (Morgan Freeman) who drops pearls of cracker barrel wisdom a la Waylon
    "HOPE IS A GOOD THING. MAYBE THE BEST OF THINGS. AND NO GOOD THING EVER DIES"

    Casting was spotty, with Tim Robbins a great choice for the lead character, Dufresne. Robbins maintains viewer interest anytime he is the focus of attention, unfortunately a lot of the screen time is devoted to the narrator, “Red,” (Morgan Freeman) who drops pearls of cracker barrel wisdom a la Waylon Jennings’ narration of The Dukes of Hazzard. Morgan Freeman, while a decent enough actor in no way can stimulate my interest for very long with his bland, long-winded, homespun observations on the Dufresne character and prison life in general. I feel that Freeman’s performance was not strong enough to carry the amount of screen time assigned by the director. Bob Gunton, as Warden Norton the bible thumping hypocrite who runs Shawshank is a great asset to the film with his sly characterization of the unlikable tyrant. One of the best supporting roles I’ve seen lately was essayed by James Whitmore, as Brooks, the librarian at Shawshank. Brooks had a pet crow, much like the animal character Mr. Jingles Darabont used in The Green Mile. Brooks was released from Shawshank after about a half-century. Unfortunately, he was unable to adapt to life on the outside.
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  27. MattyG.
    Aug 11, 2004
    9
    A truly superb movie, that is only let down by the over-optimistic ending. True, characters from the novella are condensed, eliminated or changed, but usually for the better. Still, I feel that the movie should have ended about five minutes before it did (with Red still on the road).
  28. IanP.
    Aug 22, 2004
    10
    This film is infinitly watchable again & again. Word of mouth made me watch this movie, an A+ classic.
  29. EricM
    Jan 25, 2005
    10
    I saw this movie when it first came out in the theaters and evey since I have considered it my personal favorite movie ever!
  30. JodiC.
    Dec 6, 2005
    10
    Spectacular!
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.