The Shawshank Redemption is an American film directed by Frank Darabont, starring actors Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. The film is based on a novella by Stephen King, entitled Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, but the script was adapted by the director himself, Darabont. Released in 1994, the film was an immediate success around the world and it managed to snatch no less than seven Academy Awards (Oscars) that year, for Best Picture, Best Actor for Morgan Freeman, Best Adapted Screenplay for Darabont, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score and Best Sound Mixing. Other awards include two Golden Globe Awards for Best Performance – Freeman again – and Best Screenplay, but there were many others as well.
The Shawshank Redemption is a story about a banker, Andy Dufresne, who is tried for the murder of his wife and her lover and sentenced to life in prison, although he vehemently claims his innocence. As a result of his conviction he is sent to a maximum security prison, the Shawshank State Prison, where he becomes friends with a fellow inmate, Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding. Seeing that he’ll have to spend a lot of time inside, Dufresne manages to gain the warden’s confidence and starts helping him launder money through the prison. This gets him protection from the guards, but not everyone in the prison likes him. Meanwhile, he gets himself a large poster of Rita Hayworth which he hangs in his cell and his friend Red, a contraband smuggler, manages to get him a rock hammer which he claims was useful for carving chess pieces from rock found in the prison yard.
The movie is really well-paced and allows for the characters to grow and evolve unencumbered, side by side with the story, which allows the viewer to get acquainted with many interesting secondary characters as well. A particularly interesting character from The Shawshank Redemption is the elderly Brooks Hatlen (played here by James Whitmore) whom had spent the last fifty years in prison and is released on parole at such an old age that it is impossible for him to readapt to the free world. The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of a good man whom, whether guilty or not, did not deserve to be incarcerated. He manages to improve the prison’s shoddy library and inspire some of his inmates to thrive for more, and in the end he is repaid with everything he had ever wanted. Though not really a success of the box office, this movie was very well received by the public and to this day is number one in the Internet Movie Database Top 250.