Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, Mark Rolston, James Whitmore
OUR RATING: ★★★★★
Prison drama written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on a Stephen King novella. The story follows banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover in Shawshank State Penitentiary, despite his claims of innocence. Over the following decades, he forms a friendship with fellow prioner Red (Morgan Freeman), and becomes instrumental in a money laundering operation led by the prison warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton).
Our Favorite Quotes:
[first lines; Andy is being prosecuted by the DA]
District Attorney: Mr. Dufresne, describe the confrontation you had with your wife the night that she was murdered.
Andy Dufresne: It was very bitter. She said she was glad I knew, that she hated all the sneaking around. And she said that she wanted a divorce in Reno.
District Attorney: What was your response?
Andy Dufresne: I told her I would not grant one.
District Attorney: “I’ll see you in hell before I see you in Reno.” Those were the words you used, Mr. Dufresne, according to the testimony of your neighbors.
Andy Dufresne: If they say so. I really don’t remember, I was upset.
District Attorney: When they arrived, you went up to the house and murdered them.
Andy Dufresne: No, I was sobering up. I got back in the car and I drove home to sleep it off. Along the way, I stopped, and I threw my gun into the Royal River. I feel I’ve been very clear on this point.
District Attorney: Well, where I get hazy is where the cleaning woman shows up the following morning and finds your wife in bed with her lover, riddled with .38 caliber bullets. Now, does that strike you as a fantastic coincidence, Mr. Dufresne, or is it just me?
Andy Dufresne: Yes, it does.
District Attorney: Yet you still maintain that you threw your gun into the river before the murders took place? That’s very convenient.
Andy Dufresne: It’s the truth.
District Attorney: The police dragged that river for three days, and nary a gun was found. So, there could be no comparison made between your gun and the bullets taken from the bloodstained corpses of the victims. And that also is very convenient. Isn’t it, Mr. Dufresne?
Andy Dufresne: Since I am innocent of this crime, sir, I find it decidedly inconvenient that the gun was never found.
Judge: You strike me as a particularly icy and remorseless man, Mr. Dufresne. It chills my blood just to look at you. By the power vested in me by the state of Maine, I hereby order you to serve two life sentences, back to back. One for each of your victims. So be it.
[1947 Parole Hearings – Red enters the room]
1947 Parole Hearings Man: Sit.
[a nervous looking Red takes a seat]
1947 Parole Hearings Man: We see by your file you’ve served twenty years of a life sentence.
Red: Yes, sir.
1947 Parole Hearings Man: You feel you’ve been rehabilitated?
Red: Oh, yes, sir. Absolutely, sir. I mean, I learned my lesson. I can honestly say that I’m a changed man. I’m no longer a danger to society. That’s God’s honest truth.
[we see Red getting a “Rejection” stamp in his parole file]
[after the hearing Red goes to the prison yard]
Skeet: Hey, Red. How did it go?
Red: Same old s**t. Different day.
Skeet: Yeah, I know how you feel. I’m up for rejection next week.
Jigger: Yeah, I got rejected last week.
Red: It happens.
Red: [narrating] There must be a con like me in every prison in America. I’m the guy who can get it for you. Cigarettes, a bag of reefer, if that’s your thing. A bottle of brandy to celebrate your kid’s high school graduation. Damn near anything, within reason. Yes, sir. I’m a regular Sears and Roebuck. So, when Andy Dufresne came to me in 1949, and asked me to smuggle Rita Hayworth into the prison for him, I told him, “No problem.”
[we see the new prisoners being driven to Shawshank Prison]
Red: [narrating] Andy came to Shawshank Prison in early 1947, for murdering his wife
and the fella she was banging. On the outside he’d been vice-president of a large Portland bank. Good work for a man as young as he was.
[as they watch the new prisoners]
Floyd: Taking bets today, Red?
Red: Smokes or coins? Betters choice.
Floyd: Smokes. Put me down for two.
Red: Alright. Who’s your horse?
Floyd: That little sack of s**t. Eighth, eighth from the front. He’ll be first.
Heywood: Oh, bulls**t. I’ll take that action.
Ernie: Yeah, me too.
Heywood: You’re out some smokes, son. Let me tell you.
Floyd: Well, Heywood, you’re so smart, you call it.
Heywood: I’ll take the chubby fat-a** there. The fifth one from the front. Put me down for a quarter deck.
[as the prisoners continue to jeer and shout at the new prisoners]
Red: [narrating] I must admit, I didn’t think much of Andy first time I laid eyes on him. Looked like a stiff breeze would blow him over. That was my first impression of the man.
Floyd: What do you say, Red?
Red: That tall drink of water with the silver spoon up his a**.
Ernie: That guy? Never happen.
Red: Ten cigarettes.
Floyd: That’s a rich bet.
[to the new prisoners lined up]
Warden Norton: This is Mr. Hadley. He’s Captain of the Guards. I’m Mr. Norton, the Warden. You are convicted felons. That’s why they’ve sent you to me. Rule number one, no blasphemy. I’ll not have the Lord’s name taken in vain in my prison. The other rules, you’ll figure out as you go along. Any questions?
Hungry Fish Con: When do we eat?
[Hadley walks over to the prisoner]
Captain Hadley: You eat when we say you eat! You s**t when we say you s**t, and you pi** when we say you pi**! You got that, you maggot-d**k m*therf***er?
[Hadley hits him in the stomach with the end of his nightstick]
Warden Norton: [to the new prisoners] I believe in two things, discipline and the Bible. Here you’ll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord. Your a** belongs to me. Welcome to Shawshank.
Red: [narrating] The first night’s the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in, naked as the day you were born, skin burning, and half-blind from that delousing s**t they throw on you. And when they put you in that cell, and those bars slam home, that’s when you know it’s for real. Old life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it.
Red: [narrating] Most new fish come close to madness the first night. Somebody always breaks down crying. Happens every time. The only question is, who’s it going to be? It’s as good a thing to bet on as any, I guess. I had my money on Andy Dufresne.
Red: [narrating] The boys always go fishing with first-timers. And they don’t quit till they reel someone in.
Heywood: Don’t you listen to these nitwits. You hear me? This place ain’t so bad. I tell you what. I’ll introduce you around, make you feel right at home. I know a couple of big old bull queers that would just love to make your acquaintance. Especially that big, white, mushy butt of yours.
Fat Ass: God! I don’t belong here!
Fresh Fish Con: We have a winner!
Fat Ass: I want to go home!
Heywood: And it’s Fat Ass by a nose!
Fat Ass: You got to let me out of here!
Captain Hadley: What is your malfunction, you fat barrel of monkey spunk?
Fat Ass: Please, I ain’t supposed to be here. Not me!
Captain Hadley: I ain’t going to count to three. I’m not even going to count to one. You will shut the f*** up, or I’ll sing you a lullaby!
[as he listens from the next cell]
Heywood: Shut up, man. Shut up.
[after Hadley beats Fat Ass to a pulp]
Captain Hadley: If I hear so much as a mouse fart in here the rest of the night, I swear by God and sonny Jesus, you will all visit the infirmary. Every last m*therf***er in here!
[to the other guards]
Captain Hadley: Call the trustees. Take that tub of s**t down to the infirmary.
Red: [narrating] His first night in the joint, Andy Dufresne cost me two packs of cigarettes. He never made a sound.
[at breakfast Andy sits finds a maggot in his food]
Brooks Hatlen: Are you, are you going to eat that?
Andy Dufresne: I hadn’t, I hadn’t planned on it.
Brooks Hatlen: Do you mind?
[Andy gives the maggot to Brooks]
Brooks Hatlen: Ah, that’s nice and ripe.
[Brooks feeds the maggot to the baby crow named Jake in his pocket]
Brooks Hatlen: Jake says thank you. Fell out of his nest over by the plate shop. I’m going to look after him until he’s big enough to fly.
Heywood: Morning, fellas. Fine morning, ain’t it? You know why it’s a fine morning, don’t you? Come on, set them down. I want them all lined up here, just like a pretty little chorus line.
[the others hand over their cigarettes]
Heywood: Yeah, look at that! Look at that.
Jigger: I can’t stand this guy.
Heywood: Oh, Lord.
[he takes a sniff of the cigarettes]
Heywood: Yes. Richmond, Virginia.
Floyd: Smell my a**.
Skeet: After he smells mine.
Heywood: Jee, Red, it was a terrible shame about your horse coming in last, and all. But I sure do love that winning horse of mine, though. I believe I owe that boy a great big, sloppy kiss when I see him.
Red: Why don’t you give him some of your cigarettes, instead? Lucky f***.
Heywood: How’s that horse of mine doing anyway?
Tyrell: Dead. Hadley busted his head up pretty good. The doc had already gone home for the night. Poor bastard lay there till this morning. By then, hell, there weren’t nothing we could do.
Andy Dufresne: What was his name?
Heywood: What did you say?
Andy Dufresne: I was just wondering if anyone knew his name.
Heywood: What the f*** do you care, new fish? It doesn’t f***ing matter what his name was. He’s dead.
[as Andy is taking a shower with the other inmates]
Bogs Diamond: Anybody get to you yet? Hey, we all need friends in here. I could be a friend to you.
[Andy walks away]
Bogs Diamond: Hey. Hard to get. I like that.
Red: [narrating] Andy kept pretty much to himself at first. I guess he had a lot on his mind,trying to adapt to life on the inside. It wasn’t until a month went by that he finally opened his mouth to say more than two words to somebody. As it turned out, that somebody was me.
[in the prison yard Andy approaches Red]
Andy Dufresne: I’m Andy Dufresne.
Red: The wife-killing banker. Why did you do it?
Andy Dufresne: I didn’t, since you ask.
Red: [laughs] You’re going to fit right in! Everybody in here is innocent. Didn’t you know that? Heywood, what you in here for?
Heywood: Didn’t do it! Lawyer f***ed me.
Red: Rumor has it you’re a real cold fish. You think your s**t smells sweeter than most. Is that right?
Andy Dufresne: What do you think?
Red: Well, to tell you the truth, I haven’t made up my mind.
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