The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Poster


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  • He is not in the Novella. This scene is barely in the story altogether. only a very short mention near the end of the story. Probably murder since he was in the cell block where other murderers are housed.

    "Fat-Ass" was in prison to provide a contrast to Dufresne, in the way he breaks down on the first night- He was there to show how Red and the other inmates EXPECTED Andy to behave, and to highlight the fact that he DIDN'T behave like that; It's hard to give a clear portrayal of stoicism, in a movie, because it's a trait that's not displayed by what you do- It's displayed by what you DON'T do. And the best way to make clear what Andy WASN'T doing, was to have someone else do it. Which meant that fat-Ass had to be in prison, to do what Andy DOESN'T do.

    Fat-Ass was also required, to illustrate how brutal the prison environment is, and how violent the C.O's are. Edit

  • The warden and guards watch the prisoners very closely. Any suspicious behavior, along with blatant insubordination, would be severely punished. So, Andy spoke softly and in code to Red to request a poster without arousing suspicion. Edit

  • Hadley was the captain of the prison guards and had worked at Shawshank for many years. His brutal behavior was probably a combination of his personality plus his hardened attitude toward prisoners. Edit

  • The lawyer f---ed him. We really don't know what exact crime(s) he committed.

    Heywood was in prison to portray the average's inmate's changing view of Andy; Initially, he see's Andy as some snooty, weak rich-boy. Then, when Andy gets them beers for tarring the roof, Heywood is still wary of Andy, but shows appreciation for Andy's gesture. Then, when Andy talks about getting the C.O's to buy books for the prison library, Heywood is cynical, thinking it's a waste of time. Then after the 'opera' stunt, Heywood's bemused by Andy's taste in music, but admires his guts and rebellion, and him saying the resulting two weeks solitary was "the easiest time (he) ever did".

    To tell Andy's story, the easiest way to show how the general prison population grew from contempt and bemusement to gradually getting to know, and even admire Andy, was to have one, single character who represents how most inmates see him.

    So Heywood needed to go to prison, in order to be the guy who did that. Edit

  • As Brooks himself says, "It's the only way they'd let me stay." Brooks was up for parole, but if he was shown to still be a danger to himself or others, the board would deny him parole and he would remain in Shawshank. Brooks had been in there for decades and had grown used to the environment (he was 'institutionalized,' as Red calls it), even preferring it to the outside because he had garnered a respectable reputation in Shawshank as the librarian; but he was alone on the outside and stuck working a job that - by his standards - was menial, and also caused him pain in his hands. Edit

  • No, "Red" is just his nickname. His real name is "Ellis E Redding" (The warden mentions this, when announcing which inmates would be tarring the roof) Edit

  • Red says they're not homosexual because "you'd have to be human first. They don't qualify." Saying that the Sisters gang are not human because they're cruel rapists. Making them monsters.

    Homosexuality among inmates isn't necessarily romantic or about the sexual aspect. It can be about creating a power dynamic. As it is with the sisters game. Its about breaking down and abusing Andy to make themselves feel like superior beings. Edit

  • The prisoners have a contest every time new prisoners arrive. The objective is to see who can crack a new arrival the fastest. The winner gets packs of cigarettes from the other prisoners.

    Therefore, the prisoners do not care about the new arrivals. They do it to have fun and amuse themselves at the new arrivals' expense and to hopefully get free cigarettes out of the deal. Edit

  • You could also watch or read "The Count of Monte Cristo". The movie came out in 2002, and the book was published in 1844. The book is an adventure novel about how a wrongfully imprisoned man escapes, acquires a fortune, and takes revenge on those who imprisoned him. Edit

  • While the movie does not delve into this, it is mentioned several times in the novella that Andy was able to smuggle in 500 dollars into the prison. Edit

  • Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman), an inmate at Shawshank Prison in Maine, narrates the story of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a banker wrongly sentenced to a life term for shooting his wife and her lover. Over the years, Andy eventually gains the respect of his fellow inmates and becomes influential within the prison but never gives up his hope of freedom. Edit

  • The Shawshank Redemption is based on the novella "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" published in Different Seasons, a 1982 collection of short stories by American writer Stephen King. The novella was adapted for the movie by Hungarian-born screenwriter Frank Darabont. Edit

  • While the film does not delve into specifics about his crime, Red reveals that he was "the only guilty man in Shawshank" and in prison for murder—the same as Andy. In the novel, it is revealed that Red murdered his wife by severing the brake lines on her car, causing her to die in a fatal car accident, intending to collect a large life insurance settlement. It might have been the perfect crime, a seemingly accidental death, if his wife hadn't picked up a friend and her infant child. The accident was investigated and Red was caught. Edit

  • The name of the Rita Hayworth movie is Gilda (1946) (1946). Edit

  • Andy only pinned the top two corners and lifted the poster up and into the hole when he escaped. He more than likely used a daub of glue or resin from the prison labor workshop to pin the top two corners. A tack can quite easily be pushed into plaster. We know the walls were plastered because Andy dislodges a chunk when scratching his name into the wall prompting him to dig the tunnel. In real life, inmates use toothpaste to hang posters in the cells today. In the novella, the walls were made of cement that was improperly mixed in order to save costs. The result was a soft cement that Andy was able to chisel through with a small rock hammer. Edit

  • "Sull'aria Che soave zeffiretto" from Mozart's Marriage of Figaro. Edit

  • Very often in prisons, especially in earlier years, music and media are handled very carefully and often regarded as potentially harmful and rabble-rousing material. Dufresne knew he had to keep the guard from being able to immediately turn off the music. Another possibility is that Andy is exercising freedom and wants it to last as long as possible. He is refilling his emotional gas-tank with art and wanted to share that feeling with the entire prison population. The guard, no matter how friendly he appears to be toward Andy, would no doubt stop him immediately because it's his duty. He locks the guard in the bathroom for the same reason he locks the warden's office door to keep others out and delay the inevitable. Edit

  • The Warden begins a project to use prisoners as low cost labor on construction projects. Since he can legally employ his men for below minimum wage he is able to offer very competitive bids on construction projects. Some companies offer him a personal payoff in order to secure the cheap labor for their projects. Other construction companies also offer him payoffs in order to not bid on certain projects so they can retain work. Edit

  • Some people think that Andy leaving the tin with the money, and postcard telling Red where to find Andy was a bit risky because leaving it there for years, it could either be stumbled upon, or the area could have been urbanized and it would have been destroyed-the latter was a very real concern of Andy's in the novella. First, Andy obviously put it there after he escaped, not before he went to prison (how else would a note for Red be there?). After Andy escapes, some time passes and Red goes for his 40-year parole hearing, upon which he is released. Andy was in prison for 19 years. So only a year or so had passed before Red got paroled and probably only a couple weeks before he decided to find Andy, which isn't too risky overall. Andy is very careful with the postcard and the note. The postcard has no message or signature, just the Fort Hancock postmark. The letter with the money is to "Red" (not "Ellis Boyd Redding") from "Andy" (with no last name). It does not mention prison, escapes, the name of the Mexican town (or Mexico at all) or that Red knows how to "get things." It does discuss coming this far, a man of your abilities, "my project," and how hope is a good thing. It's a much safer way of getting Red down to Mexico than sending money or a check (way too traceable) in the mail, if Andy could have located Red once he was paroled. Since he was serving two life sentences for a double murder, Andy would be subject to extradition back to the States if he were caught. Andy could certainly afford to lose the money if someone else found it or it was destroyed; it was worth that small risk to help Red. Actually, Andy does not tell Red where to find him. Edit

  • Red's parole request is finally granted but, after 40 years of incarceration at Shawshank, he has a hard time adjusting to life outside the prison. All he seems able to do is to think of ways to break his parole so that they will send him back to Shawshank. Instead, he decides to take Andy up on his offer. He hitchhikes to Buxton where he finds the stone wall just as Andy described it. Walking alongside the wall, he finds the 'out-of-place' rock and a cache of money that Andy left for him. He takes a Trailways bus to Fort Hancock, Texas and finds himself excited and hopeful albeit a bit worried about getting across the Mexican border and jumping his parole. In the final scene, Red walks up the beach in Zihuatanejo where he finds a sun-tanned Andy Dufresne sanding down the bow of his fishing boat. As the camera pulls away, Andy and Red hug each other. Edit

  • Allen Greene was Frank Darabont's agent and also a close personal friend. He died just before the completion of the movie due to AIDS complications. Edit

  • Very much so. A few minor changes were made to tighten up the story but it mostly stays very faithful to the source. Some notable changes: (1) Andy serves a total of 27 years instead of 19; (2) Andy is not a tall, thin man like Tim Robbins, but is actually short and thin. However, he's still very intelligent and crafty like the Andy of the movie; (3) Red is not an middle-aged African American man, but a middle-aged Irishman with graying red hair (hence the nickname); (4) During Andy's incarceration, the prison is overseen by at least 3 different wardens, all with different personalities and motives. The last one in the novella is Norton (his 1st name is Samuel), who is the pious man played by actor Bob Gunton in the movie. The Norton in the film is a composite character of the other wardens, a way to tighten the story up; (5) In the book, Tommy is not murdered by Hadley on orders from the warden. Norton instead offers Tommy a chance to be transferred to a minimum security prison with more privileges (furloughs with his wife, increased visitation, etc) in another part of Maine if he keeps quiet about the evidence that could clear Andy's name. Tommy's story is also slightly different in the book—he relates that Blatch told him the double murder was pinned on a lawyer rather than a banker, and Andy latches onto it with the thinking that the two professions were often confused for one another (in those days); (6) Brooks Hatlen's post-incarceration story is not in the original novella. More of post-prison life is told by Red himself after he's released. Having Brooks tell the story in the movie probably lent more drama to the script; (7) In the book, Red's search for the proper hayfield where Andy left his package is a fairly substantial piece of the plot. In the film, Red simply goes directly to the correct hayfield. Also, the book leaves it ambiguous whether Red in fact meets Andy in Mexico. The film originally did too. The scene of Red meeting Andy on the beach as he sands a boat was added after the first cut of the film was shown to focus groups, who wanted a happier ending. (8) The book gives us more of the history of Shawshank, including Red's accounts of several other escape attempts, including a successful one where an inmate walked out the front gate while working on the prison's baseball field. Edit

  • Red's voiceover in Shawshank Redemption enhances the emotional experience of the viewer by letting us see Andy through the eyes of his friend who is moved and uplifted by the hope Andy maintains despite his situation. Also, while Andy is the main focus, the story is also about Red. The Redemption refers to both Andy and Red for different reasons. Frank Darabont also chose to use the voiceover to maintain the narrative voice of Stephen King's original short story, "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption." You can read more about why the voiceover is so effective here. Edit

  • Since Andy helped Hadley with the inheritance tax, Hadley realized that Andy could be of future financial use. The sisters beating up Andy would interfere with that, considering that Andy was in the infirmary for a very long time after the last attack. Beating up on Boggs sent a message to the sisters to leave Andy alone or else. Edit

  • He probably only knows the name. He doesn't want to know any more, so he can pin the blame on Andy should anything go wrong. He no doubt hasn't even considered that Andy might have ID so he can access the accounts after his escape. Edit

  • Hadley was a cruel, brutal man who repeatedly beat inmates, in some cases so badly that they died. He was directly responsible for or, at least, an accomplice to multiple crimes up to and including premeditated murder. He may have saved Andy from the sisters, but that was purely because Andy, with his financial acumen, was useful to both him and the warden. Hadley stepping in was purely due to self interest not in inmate welfare. After all, the sisters have clearly targeted other prisoners prior to Andy's arrival, without any apparent reaction from the prison staff. Edit

  • In the book, the main drain pipes in Shawshank are ceramic, which is why Andy is able to break through. Edit

  • He provided the authorities (and the media) evidence of all the money laundering and illegal activities that happened at Shawshank. Any specific evidence he had regarding Tommy is not shown in the film, but it can be assumed that Hadley, as revealed in Red's narration, broke down and confessed. Edit

  • Like Red said, it could be to get the guards on his side, to help the other inmates like him, or to do something to feel normal again. Edit

  • One has to keep in mind that Fat Ass was beaten to death by Hadley the night of Andy's arrival at Shawshank. Roughly 20 years had passed between Andy's arrival and escape from Shawshank. When Fat Ass was beaten to death, no prisoners would dare try and rat on Hadley. Especially knowing the Warden and several of the other C.O.'s were just as cold and brutal as Hadley. It's likely that it was reported that Fat Ass was attacked and killed by a fellow inmate. Without any witnesses to say otherwise, the case would be closed and forgotten about. However, Tommy's death was an act of cold-blooded murder carried out by Hadley on the orders of Warden Norton. Norton implied this to Andy, he knew they murdered him, so included it in his tell-all. Andy may have also mentioned Fat Ass's death, but Tommy's murder would be easier to investigate. Andy could have included Fat Ass's murder in the letter to the newspaper also. Edit



The FAQ items below may give away important plot points.

  • Red was paroled in 1967, having served 40 years. Andy was imprisoned in 1947 and escaped 19 years later, or 1966-67. So Red was paroled within a year of Andy's escape, depending on how long his release was after being paroled. Edit

  • The film never really goes into detail about the courtroom gun or even if it's evidence, but there are two possibilities:

    1. It's just a demonstration piece for the court.

    2. The more likely explanation is that the courtroom gun was simply the gun used by Elmo Blatch (the true killer) found at the crime scene, assuming Elmo had left his gun behind. Edit

  • Keep in mind that prisons are unpleasant places to be. They probably had background checks that covered very basic elements. Then, Hadley and Norton may have become corrupted during their time working in the prison.

    By the time of the story, we see how Norton and Hadley had become best friends, and they often covered for each other. Their cover was blown after Andy exposed the financial scandal to the media. Then, their misdeeds were investigated and dealt with. Edit

  • The most likely explanation based on the storyline is that Andy, having escaped from Shawshank just the night before and not knowing the extent or progress of any efforts to find him and return him to prison, prioritized completing all local business as quickly as possible, especially the most public tasks (he could save for later things like planting the note and money for Red in the agreed upon location), in order to maximize his chances of making it out of New England and onward to Texas and then Mexico, where he could live essentially free of the risk and fear of being recaptured by authorities. At that point in the story, Andy was already in the middle of decisively playing his extremely risky hand, and he added no additional risk by leaving the package in the hands of the bankers, who would certainly remember him and his visit regardless of that choice, whereas even taking the time to go to a post office would have added precious minutes to his public appearances in the area and exposed him to more people.

    The filmmakers' goal of efficient and thorough storytelling provides several more probable explanations, the most straightforward being that the choice allows viewers to see the mailing explicitly by adding only a few seconds to the bank scene. To accomplish that same storytelling goal, another means, such as a trip to the post office, would have likely required a whole extra scene that might have unnecessarily broken up the flow of the movie in a crucial phase of its story and certainly would have added run-time to the film, as well as an additional shooting location, perhaps more actors, time, cost, etc. to the film's production. Andy's decision to allow the bank to handle the mailing, perhaps unplanned and prompted only by the female bank employee's asking him politely whether they could "do anything else" for him, gave the filmmakers an opportunity not only to show the mailing itself but also to highlight, through the casual and gentle attitude he displays, Andy's confidence and aura of tranquility, remarkable (but not too surprising at this point of the film, coming from Andy) given the perilous nature and the extremely high stakes of his situation, not just for him personally but also for countless others and perhaps even for society as a whole. The brief exchange also emphasizes the dramatic shift of power almost two decades in the making that Andy had finally, dramatically brought about and was, at that moment, pointedly experiencing for himself, having broken away from the cruel and domineering rule of Shawshank and Warden Norton and finding himself no longer society's prisoner and Norton's slave but instead the deeply respected and important customer of Norton's bank and, more importantly, the recipient of Norton's tainted fortune and the server of proper justice regarding the ironic criminal activities of his former prison. Another good point would be that any mail received from a bank or any mail being sent out from the bank would be given preferred and guaranteed treatment by all involved. A bank back then was a revered institution and the reporter upon examination of the source would be very intrigued and accepting of this source... Or a one word answer would be "convenience." Edit

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