Chicago Sun-Times - 10/17/1999
"...THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION creates a warm hold on our feelings....It is deeper than most films; about continuity in a lifetime based on friendship and hope..."
Total Film - 08/01/2000
"...Robbins and Freeman are superb, the dialogue sparse and poetic..."
In writer-director Frank Darabont's THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover in the late 1940s. However, only Andy knows that he didn't commit the crimes. Sent to Shawshank Prison to do hard time, Andy--a taciturn banker in the outside world--has to learn to get by in the brutal, cutthroat confines of prison life. His quiet strength slowly earns the respect of his fellow inmates--most notably, Red (Morgan Freeman)--and even much of the prison staff. But Andy's seemingly stoic acceptance of his unjust imprisonment hides a fierce determination for freedom. This beautifully crafted movie features touching and sincere performances from the entire cast, with an uplifting message about humanity's indomitable spirit and the redemptive value of hope. Based on the novella RITA HAYWORTH AND SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION by Stephen King, Darabont's intriguing adaptation is easily one of the finest films of the 1990s.
When an innocent man is sentenced to life in prison for murder, he thinks his life is over. However, despite years of brutal incarceration, his indomitable spirit makes him an inspiration to everyone he encounters.
The script didn't originally call for a black man in Morgan Freeman's role. However, director Frank Darabont thought it would be funny not to cut a line that seemed to indicate the original intentions: When Tim Robbins's character asks Morgan Freeman why he's called Red, Freeman answers, "Maybe it's because I'm Irish," then gives Robbins a quizzical look and a wink.
The role of Tommy Williams (played by Gil Bellows) was originally intended for Brad Pitt.
Darabont's following film, THE GREEN MILE, is also based on Stephen King tale involving a prison setting.