Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 667 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Wrongly convicted, Andy Dufresne (Robbins) is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in in Maine's Shawshank prison for the murders of his wife and her lover. Set in the 1940's, the film shows how Andy learns to get by in the brutal confines of prison, even earning the respect of his fellow inmates, most notably the longtime convict "Red" Redding (Freeman). Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    A thumpingly good ode to friendship, hope, wit, wiles and wisdom, brimming with crackling characters and topped with the most twisteroo of twists since "The Crying Game."
  2. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Central to the film's success is a riveting, unfussy performance from Robbins. Freeman has the showier role, allowing him a grace and dignity that come naturally.
  3. There are times when The Shawshank Redemption comes dangerously close to sounding one of those "triumph of the spirit" notes. But most of it is eloquently restrained. [23 Sept 1994, p.C3]
  4. As the uptight banker, Robbins does some of his subtlest acting to date. As his hardened but resilient friend, Freeman is simply miraculous, giving the role so much depth, dignity, and good humor that you feel that you've known this man forever. [27 Sept 1994]
  5. 88
    If the film is perhaps a little slow in its middle passages, maybe that is part of the idea, too, to give us a sense of the leaden passage of time, before the glory of the final redemption.
  6. 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.
  7. Speaking of jail, "Shawshank"-the-movie seems to last about half a life sentence. The story, chiefly about the 20-year friendship between Freeman and Robbins, becomes incarcerated in its own labyrinthine sentimentality.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 6 out of 158
  1. Jul 1, 2013
    Perfection. The benchmark of all dramas, this is as good as cinema gets. Everyone should watch it, if you don't find this film moving you basically have no feelings. Expand
  2. Jun 27, 2012
    I felt it was the perfect movie. A great movie to watch with a family. Stephen king knows how to make a story. Filled me with emotion such as anger, sadness, happyness. It should have won best picture in 1994. Expand
  3. Nov 3, 2010
    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. Expand
  4. Feb 23, 2014
    Ive always been an action packaged movie watcher, or always watch those movie with mind blowing plot twist, Se7en, Inception, Akira, Seven Samurai, etc. but the first time my mom told me about this movie, i watched at 10 years old, i wasn't prepared to see a movie that good, now im 22 i looked for the name of this movie for decades, i never knew the name of the movie was THE SHAWNSHANK REDEMPTION, the movie my mom always rated at the best of all times, and guess what, is my favorite too and is by far the best movie ever Expand
  5. Dec 15, 2011
    Dear God what a film this, i watched this for the first time and the end was the best moment in a film ever. This film once again shows Morgan Freeman's immense talent. Expand
  6. SophieB
    Oct 7, 2007
    This is my favourite movie of all time. I absolutely adore it.
  7. QuinnC.
    Nov 25, 2007
    Freeman is 'red' freedom character searching for nothing but to pace his life in prison. Robins is a robin hood who does more strength than the hero, he becomes a prisoner, also a librarian, teacher, friend, and smart banker who reads books. These two characters start off and end off by learning how to live trying and die trying. I do not enjoy a film that drags on, bores, and tells a message with bad wording, a bad script, and badly done lesson, that prisoners get the rights to do many things than sit in a rotting cell and eat disgusting food all day. Expand

See all 158 User Reviews

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