Andy and Red's opening chat in the prison yard, in which Red is throwing a baseball, took nine hours to shoot. Morgan Freeman threw the baseball for the entire nine hours without a word of complaint. He showed up for work the next day with his arm in a sling.
Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman, and Robert Redford were all considered for the part of Red. In the original novel, Red is a middle-aged Irishman with graying red hair. However, Frank Darabont always had Morgan Freeman in mind for the role, because of his authoritative presence, demeanor and deep voice. Darabont alluded to the casting choice, by having Red jokingly reply to Andy's inquiry about his nickname with the line, "Maybe it's because I'm Irish."
When Andy goes to the library to begin work as Brooks' assistant and Brooks' crow, Jake, is squawking, Tim Robbins had to time his line, "Hey, Jake. Where's Brooks?" so that the crow wouldn't squawk over him, since the bird could not be trained to squawk on cue. Robbins was able to adapt to this and time his line perfectly by learning the bird's squawking patterns, for which Writer and Director Frank Darabont praised him. Robbins' improvisation is noticeable, as he watches the bird carefully while approaching it, waiting for it to squawk, and doesn't begin his line until after it does so.
Although a very modest hit in theaters, it became one of the highest-grossing video rentals of all time.
Frank Darabont watched Goodfellas (1990) every Sunday while shooting this film, and drew inspiration from it, on using voice-over narration and showing the passage of time.
The mugshots of a young-looking Morgan Freeman that are attached to his parole papers are actually pictures of Morgan's younger son, Alfonso Freeman. Alfonso also had a cameo in the movie as a con shouting, "Fresh fish! Fresh fish today! We're reeling 'em in!" (bottom left). A year after The Shawshank Redemption (1994), he appeared as a Fingerprint Technician in another Morgan Freeman movie, Se7en (1995).
Although it is never directly stated in the film, Brooks is in prison for allegedly murdering his wife and daughter after a losing streak at poker.
One of the reasons why the full title of the Stephen King novella, "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption," was not employed was because there was a perception in Hollywood that the film was actually going to be a biopic of Rita Hayworth. Indeed, Frank Darabont even received solicitations of audition requests from several actresses and supermodels and their agents about playing the lead.
Jeff Bridges, Tom Hanks, Kevin Costner, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, and Charlie Sheen were all considered for the part of Andy Dufresne. Hanks turned it down, because he was committed to Forrest Gump (1994). Costner liked the script a lot, but was then embroiled in the filming of Waterworld (1995).
Tim Robbins thought of the idea of his character, Andy Dufresne, turning up the volume of the record player in the scene where he plays the opera music over the P.A. system.
At the end of the movie, there is a dedication to Allen Greene. He was Frank Darabont's agent and also a close personal friend. He died just before the completion of the movie due to AIDS complications.
Stephen King has said that his original novella was a culmination of all the memories he had from watching prison movies when he was a child.
Clancy Brown said that he received several offers from real-life corrections officers to work with him to make his portrayal of Captain Hadley more realistic. He turned them all down because Hadley was an evil character and he didn't want to misrepresent real corrections officers.
Raquel Welch, whose One Million Years B.C. (1966) poster plays a significant role in the film, is a big fan of the finished movie.
The film's initial gross of eighteen million dollars could not even cover the cost of its production. It did another ten million dollars in the wake of its Oscar nominations, but the film was still deemed to be a box-office failure.
After the film gained popularity, Ted Turner sold the television rights to TNT, his own network, for much lower than normal for such a big film. Because it is so inexpensive to show, the film is broadcast on TNT extremely often.
In the close-up of Andy's hands loading the revolver in the opening scenes, the hands are actually those of Frank Darabont. Later in the film, while Andy carves his name into his cell wall (seen twice in the film), Darabont's hands are used again for the insert shot. These close-ups were filmed during post-production, notably because Darabont felt that only he could do exactly what he wanted in the close-ups.
Despite being widely considered as one of the greatest movies of all time, it didn't receive a single Oscar win, though it was nominated for seven, including Best Picture.
Stephen King has considered this to be one of his favorite film adaptations based on his own work.
Frank Darabont decided not to have the deleted scenes on the DVD release of the film, because he is embarrassed by them, and doesn't want them to be seen publicly.
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Frank Darabont): [old movie clips]: The inmates are seen watching Gilda (1946). In the novella, the prisoners watched The Lost Weekend (1945). Because the rights to this were owned by a different studio, Darabont looked to see which old films he could show without incurring costs. He was delighted to see that one that he was able to use was Gilda, one of the greatest hits of Rita Hayworth, whose image plays a pivotal role in the story.
Unusually, the voiceover narration was recorded before filming began and was then played on set to dictate the rhythm of each scene. The guide track was recorded in an Iowa recording studio by Morgan Freeman in only forty minutes. Unfortunately, there was a minor hiss to the track, which sound engineers in Los Angeles were unable to eradicate. Consequently, it had to be re-recorded in a proper studio; this time it took three weeks.
To prepare for his role as Andy Dufresne, Tim Robbins actually spent some time in solitary confinement.
The American Humane Society monitored the filming of scenes involving Brooks' crow. During the scene where he fed it a maggot, the AHS objected on the grounds that it was cruel to the maggot, and required that they use a maggot that had died from natural causes. One was found, and the scene was filmed.
Rob Reiner loved Frank Darabont's script so much, that he offered 2.5 million dollars for the rights to the script, so he could direct it. Darabont seriously considered Reiner's offer, but ultimately decided that it was his "chance to do something really great" by directing the movie himself. Reiner wanted Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise to play Red and Andy respectively.
The role of Andy Dufresne was originally offered to Tom Hanks, who couldn't accept due to scheduling conflicts with Forrest Gump (1994). Hanks did, however, work on Frank Darabont's next film, The Green Mile (1999), also an adaptation of a Stephen King novel, which takes place in a prison.
In the movie, Red says, "I committed murder," when Andy asks him why he's in Shawshank. The novella explains in detail; Red is serving three life sentences for murdering his wife, his neighbor's wife, and his neighbor's son. Red disconnected the brakes on his car in order to kill his wife, to collect on an insurance policy; he did not plan on two other people joining his wife for her ill-fated drive.
In Stephen King's original story, Red was written as a white Irishman. In the movie, they left the line, "Maybe it's 'cause I'm Irish," in as a joke, even after they had cast Morgan Freeman as Red.
Stephen King sold the rights to the novella "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" very cheaply, out of his friendship with Frank Darabont. They had originally become friends, when Darabont adapted a short story of King's called The Woman in the Room (1983) (King has a policy stating that any aspiring filmmaker can adapt his short stories for a buck) and King was thoroughly impressed. They maintained a pen-pal relationship and didn't actually meet, until Darabont optioned Shawshank.
While Mansfield locals were eager to be extras, many weren't available during the day due to their jobs or were only available for one day, which obviously would not work in a prison film. So, extras were found at a halfway house, some of them real-life ex-cons.
Despite its box-office failure, Warner Brothers shipped 320,000 rental copies to U.S. video stores, a figure a spokesman freely admitted was "out of whack" with the film's performance in theaters.
The character Andy Dufresne had a cameo appearance in "Apt Pupil", another Stephen King novella. Andy handled the investments for Dussander, the Nazi in hiding.
The man sitting behind Gil Bellows (Tommy Williams) on the bus is Dennis Baker, a former warden of the Ohio State Reformatory, where the primary filming took place.
In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #72 Greatest Movie of All Time. It was the first inclusion of this film on the list.
The role of Tommy Williams was intended for Brad Pitt, who instead played the lead role in Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) the same year.
Stephen King's one criticism of the movie, was that Andy's tunnel is too round. According to Frank Darabont, he compared it to a Wile E. Coyote's tunnel.
James Whitmore was cast in the part of Brooks, because he was one of Frank Darabont's favorite character actors.
Every picture, except for the big posters, in Andy's cell, were all hand picked by Tim Robbins.
Shawshank prison is a staple of Stephen King's writing, most of which is set in Maine. While it only appears in this story, several other books and short stories mention characters who were sentenced to serve time at Shawshank. Shawshank prison is mentioned in another Stephen King movie (Dolores Claiborne (1995)) when Dolores (played by Kathy Bates) yells at her husband that he will do time in Shawshank for (inappropriately) touching his daughter. They only mention the prison, they don't show it.
The opera song that Andy Dufresne plays over the loud speakers is "Canzonetta sull'aria" from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro."
Four different pinup posters adorn Andy's cell in the novella: Jayne Mansfield, Linda Ronstadt, Hazel Court, and Rita Hayworth. In the film, just three feature: Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, and Raquel Welch.
One of the film's signature setpieces - when Dufresne barricades himself in the Warden's office and serenades the prison with some opera - is not in the original Stephen King novella.
The exteriors were filmed at the defunct Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio. The prison was in such poor condition, renovations had to be made prior to filming. However, most of the interiors were shot on a sound stage, because they determined it would be cheaper to build duplicates of the interiors rather than renovating the interiors of Mansfield.
Initially, Frank Darabont was planning to make his directorial debut with a Child's Play (1988) type of horror movie, although he wasn't particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of doing so. Instead, he decided to adapt Stephen King's atypical short story. The resulting script soon became a hot ticket around Hollywood, attracting interest from stars like Nicolas Cage and Tom Cruise.
Red says he has no idea what the ladies in The Marriage of Figaro are singing about. Actually, they're composing a letter to the husband of one of them inviting him to an assignation with the other in order to expose his infidelity.
Jon Favreau auditioned for the role of Fat Butt. He later told Empire Magazine that this was the worst audition he ever did, and it encouraged him to try and lose weight.
The Shawshank Redemption first received a limited release in North America on September 23, 1994 to just 33 theaters. It received a wide release to approximately 910 additional theaters on the same date that Pulp Fiction (1994) opened, on October 14, 1994. Both movies were nominated for 7 Academy awards each, both movies gained cult status in following years and both are listed within the top 10 in IMDb's top 250 movies. (As of July 2017)
Many critics have spotted many allegorical themes in the film, generally along the lines that Andy Dufresne is a latter day Jesus Christ. Frank Darabont refutes all such claims, although he is delighted that so many people have read so much into his film.
Among the changes that Frank Darabont made to the story from the original novella was that there were originally three wardens and that Brooks' poignant story was conveyed in one paragraph.
Tim Robbins once credited the movie as being a uniquely non-sexual love story between two men.
Frank Darabont dropped the "Rita Hayworth" element of the novella's title, because he thought he'd receive resumés from actresses, thinking the movie was a Hayworth biopic. It didn't do any good. During casting, Darabont received a call from an agent who represented a supermodel; he swore the script was the best she had ever read, and that she'd be perfect for the (non-existent) part of Hayworth.
The original story appears in Different Seasons, a collection of short books by Stephen King that also includes Apt Pupil (1998), "The Body" (filmed as Stand by Me (1986)) and The Breathing Method. The last one is the only entry which has not been adapted into a film as of 2015. The Apt Pupil story briefly mentions that Andy Dufresne handled the finances of Apt Pupil's main bad guy Kurt Dussander between 1945 and 1947.
The City of Mansfield, Ohio held all day open auditions for extras. So much interest was shown, that they accepted no more people after three p.m.
According to Morgan Freeman, the shoot was fraught with "extreme tension" as there were constant differences between the actors, the producers, and Frank Darabont. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said the atmosphere was "very strange" and he refused to talk about it any further.
When Andy is making his escape, he crawls through a drainage tunnel filled with raw sewage. The sludge was actually a mixture of chocolate syrup, sawdust, and water, and two decades later, the pipes still smell like cocoa.
Since the filming schedule was very tight in Mansfield, Ohio, anyone who held up production time were threatened to be fined. Tim Robbins and William Sadler showed up late once, but were never fined. Filming in Mansfield, Ohio finished ahead of schedule.
Warden Norton whistles Martin Luther's signature hymn "Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott", or "A Mighty Fortress is Our God."
Though Red traffics in, and is often seen with packs of cigarettes (he gives packs to Heywood, Brooks Hatlen, and Laundry Leonard), he is never seen smoking in the film.
This movie was released in Taiwan as "1995: Fantastic" (it was released in Taiwan in 1995). Many viewers thought it would be an action movie.
Tim Robbins asked to be locked in solitary for a while to get a feel for it. He knew his experience wouldn't be the same because it was voluntary.
While he was writing the screenplay, Frank Darabont was getting into opera. When he felt "trapped" in the writing process, Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro would lift his spirits.
The movie was given 151 hours - six days, seven hours - of airtime on U.S. channels in 2013 alone.
As of July 23, 2016, the white oak tree featured near the end of the movie has fallen down on Pleasant Valley Road near Malabar Farm in Ohio due to strong winds. The oak tree survived a lightning strike occurred on July 29, 2011.
The Shawshank prison, in the book, and in the movie, was loosely based on Thomaston prison, an aging prison located in Thomaston, Maine. That real life prison closed in 2004, due to its small size, and dilapidated structure.
The prison is located in the flightpath of C-130 Hercules aircraft of the 179th Airlift Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, which caused all sorts of sound problems.
Frank Darabont wrote the screenplay on speculation, in an attempt to lift himself out of a rut of writing horror sequels, like The Fly II (1989) and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987).
Although set in Maine, the success of the movie helped boost the fortunes of Mansfield, Ashland, and Upper Sandusky, Ohio, three towns that share thirteen sites used as locations. Tourism has increased every year since Shawshank had its premiere, and according to the Mansfield/Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the movie brought in more than 18,000 visitors, and produced an estimated three million dollar boost to the local economy in 2013.
The three times Red meets the parole board he is told "Sit", "Sit down", and lastly "Please sit down".
The name of Andy Dufresne's wife is Linda Collins-Dufresne. In the movie, she wasn't identified at all.
On the wall in Andy Dufresne's cell is a picture of Albert Einstein. Tim Robbins, who portrayed Andy Dufresne, also starred in the fictional movie about Einstein, I.Q. (1994).
Clancy Brown, who plays Captain Hadley in this film, played another character named Captain Hadley in The Guardian (2006).
Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman won Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscars for films directed by Clint Eastwood: Robbins in Mystic River (2003) and Freeman in Million Dollar Baby (2004).
Goodfellas (1990) inspired the film's style. Frank Darabont says his main source of inspiration was its use of voice-over narration, and editing techniques.
Although it is never stated in the film, Brooks is in prison for murdering his wife and daughter after a losing streak at poker. Meanwhile, in the book, Red's life term is not because of a botched robbery-turned-fatal-shooting, but for murdering his wife by disabling her brakes, which accidentally killed a neighbor and child, as well as her.
The Italian title for the movie is "Le ali della libertà", which means "The Wings of Freedom".
Zihuatanejo is a town in Mexico. But they actually filmed the final scene on a beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Red's cell number is 237. The same number of the room, where the dead woman resides, at The Overlook Hotel in The Shining.
There's now a Shawshank Trail for tourists, and local businesses have jumped on the bandwagon. In that part of Ohio, you can pick yourself up some Reformatory "Red" Wines, Shawshank Bundt Cakes, and the local Two Cousins' Pizza sells Redemption pie.
When Mark Rolston came in to audition, Frank Darabont said, "Oh my god, it's Drake from Aliens (1986)!"
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
The Norwegian title for the movie is "Frihetens Regn", which means "The Rain of Freedom."
Stephen King optioned the story "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" to Frank Darabont for one thousand dollars.
In the novella, Red is paid for his smuggling activities, not just through cigarettes, but actual cash that prisoners (including Andy) smuggled into Shawshank by hiding bills in their rectums.
The original story, "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption", appears in Stephen King's book, "Different Seasons", along with three other novellas. Only one of them, "The Breathing Method", has not been turned into a movie.
The Royal River is mentioned in several of Stephen King's novels, including The Body, when the boys cross it, only to be attacked by leeches, as well as Salem's Lot, and Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, as the river into which Andy threw his gun.
Whenever you see just Andy's hands in the movie (most notably in the early scene during the murder) you're not seeing Tim Robbins hands. Frank Darabont prefers to use his own.
The Trailways coach in the last scene is a GM PD-4104, built in 1960 and delivered to the Carolina Scenic Trailways. The late Jon Hobein, the owner of the Blue Ridge Trailways, found and restored it around 1990. It's now property of the Capital Trailways, based in Montgomery, Alabama.
Morgan Freeman's voice-over was already recorded, and brought to the set. When filming, they timed their lines to blend with his voice-over.
Alfonso Freeman (Morgan Freeman's son) can be heard early in the film, when Andy arrives at Shawshank (he plays a prisoner who shouts, "Fresh fish! Fresh fish today! We're reeling 'em in!").
The tree where Red finds Andy's letter isn't in Buxton, Maine. It's in Ohio's Malabar Farm State Park.
The Romanian title for the movie is "Închisoarea îngerilor", which means "Angels' Prison."
This film is the second time that James Whitmore (who plays Brooks in this film) plays an incarcerated character who fears release. The first, was The Twilight Zone: On Thursday We Leave for Home (1963).
The Hungarian title of the movie is "A remény rabjai" which means "Prisoners of Hope".
In the middle of the film, when the bus is bringing Tommy Williams to Shawshank, the man sitting behind him on the bus is Dennis Baker, who had been the real-life warden of the Ohio State Reformatory (where Shawshank was filmed).
Sidney Poitier turned down the role of Red, as he didn't feel that playing a convict was providing a good example.
(May 14 - June 20, 2009) The world premiere theatrical adaptation of the film was staged at Dublin's Gaiety Theatre featuring, Kevin Anderson (Andy), Reg E. Cathey ("Red") and Keir Dullea (Brooks). Adapted by Owen O'Neill and Dave Johns, the play was directed by Peter Sheridan.
Stephen King's novella shares several plot points with a nine-page short story written by Leo Tolstoy called "God Sees the Truth, But Waits." Both are about men sent to prison for murders they didn't commit.
Every take of Tim Robbins raising his arms outstretched in the rain after Andy breaks out of prison was out of focus except the one in the film. It was the final take.
When Andy first gets reassigned to the prison library, the first officer who comes to him for investment help approaches him by saying, "I'm Dekins." Roger Deakins was the Cinematographer for the movie. While this is the case, Frank Darabont wrote the character of Dekins into the original script, before he hired his crew, as the same character was in the novella, and the different way of spelling confirms this.
Exterior filming was done in what was once the Ohio State Reformatory, which also was the filming site for Robert Redford's 1980 prison drama, Brubaker.
Charlie Sheen loved the script so much that he called up an executive he knew at Castle Rock and said "I'll do this film for fucking scale (actor's minimum). Sheen even offered to film a 30-minute test reel with him playing Red to show he could do the job, but Castle Rock said no, and according to Sheen they cast Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in the lead roles not long afterwards.
The quote, "Get busy living or get busy dying," inspired the title of the song 'Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part to Save the Scene and Stop Going to Shows)' by Fall Out Boy from their 2005 album 'From Under the Cork Tree'.
DIRECTOR_TRADEMARK(Frank Darabont): [Heywood Floyd]: Heywood and Floyd are the names of two Shawshank inmates. Heywood Floyd is a space explorer in books written by Arthur C. Clarke, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, and 2010: Odyssey Two.
William Sadler's first of three appearances, in a Frank Darabont film, based on Stephen Kings work. He later appeared in The Green Mile (1999) and The Mist (2007).
Although never mentioned in the film, the character of Brooks is in prison for allegedly murdering his family after a losing streak in poker.
Clancy Brown (Captain Hadley) and Mark Rolston (Boggs Diamond) have voiced Lex Luthor in Superman cartoons.
The Portuguese title for the movie is "Um sonho de liberdade" which in English means "A dream of freedom".
When Boggs returns to his cell after spending time in the hole, to find the guard in his cell, there is a book called "Calamity Range" visible on the shelf. Written in 1939 by Paul Evan Lehman, "Calamity Range" is described as a fiction publication about finding retribution and vendetta, set in the western United States.
The movie is based on a Stephen King novella, "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption", published as a collection of four short stories, titled Different Seasons. The book also included The Body and Apt Pupil, both were also adapted into films.
When the police come to arrest Norton you can see the state seal of Ohio on the doorknob as it's turning.
Clancy Brown plays the role of an evil inmate with authority in Bad Boys (1983) as opposed to an evil guard with authority in this movie.
Latin American spanish title for the movie is "Sueños de Fuga" that means: "Jailbreak Dreams".
"MOTHER" is carved on the wall above the big posters. Tim Robbins played Larry "Mother" Tucker in Fraternity Vacation (1985).
Bull Durham (1988) co-stars Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins have both co-starred with Morgan Freeman. Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and Robbins in this film.
Seven of the main actors have been involved in superhero stories: Tim Robbins in Green Lantern (2011); Morgan Freeman in the Dark Knight trilogy; Bob Gunton and Clancy Brown in the Netflix series Daredevil (2015); William Sadler in Iron Man 3 (2013); Clancy Brown in Thor: Ragnarok (2017); and Mark Rolston provided voice work for Young Justice (2010).
Stephen King and Frank Darabont disagreed about who plays Floyd, in that King believed he looked like Neville Brand, and Darabont believed he looked like Lee Marvin.
John Horton [1946 Judge], has played another judge in Thinner (1996), which is also an adaptation of a Stephen King story
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
Red's cell number in the film is cell 237. This could very well be a reference to room 237 in another Stephan King adaptation, The Shining.
Bob Gunton plays a warden in this movie. In Demolition Man (1993) while speaking to Lelina Huxley, he mentions her conversation with the warden.
In the film, Andy's prisoner number is 37947, but in the novella, it is 81433. The possible meaning of the number is 3-7-947. Andy's wife went to the golf course in July 1947, and the year of Stephen King's birthdate is 1(947).
Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman who starred in this movie went on to be in DC Comics movies. Freeman played Lucius Fox in The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2012) and Joe in RED (2010) and Tim Robbins in Green Lantern (2011).
3 years after the release of The Shawshank Redemption, Jeffrey DeMunn (D.A. who helps convict Dufresne at the beginning of the movie) and William Sadler (Heywood) would go on to co-star in RocketMan (1997).