The Shawshank Redemption

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Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.

The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 film about a banker named Andy Dufresne, who is accused of double murder in the 1940s and begins a life sentence at the fictional Shawshank prison, where he befriends an older inmate named Red. During his long stretch in prison, Dufresne comes to be admired by the other inmates for his upstanding moral code and his quietly indomitable spirit.

Written and directed by: Frank Darabont, based on the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.
Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

Andy Dufresne[edit]

  • [Scrawled in a Bible he hollowed out to make space for the rock hammer he used to tunnel through his cell wall, and placed in the Warden's safe the night before his escape] "Dear Warden; You were right. Salvation lay within. Andy"
  • [in a letter] Dear Red, If you're reading this, you've gotten out. And if you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further. You remember the name of the town, don't you? I could use a good man to help me get my project on wheels. I'll keep an eye out for you and the chessboard ready. Remember, Red: hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well. Your friend, Andy.

Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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 shit they throw on you, and when they put you in that cell, when those bars slam home, that's when you know it's for real. A whole life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it. 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 gonna be? It's as good a thing to bet on as any, I guess. I had my money on Andy Dufresne. I remember my first night. Seems like a long time ago.
  • These prison walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, gets so you depend on them. That's institutionalized. They send you here for life, that's exactly what they take. The part that counts, anyways.
  • I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don't wanna know. Some things are best left unsaid. I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can't be expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you those voices soared, higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.
  • Andy Dufresne escaped from Shawshank prison. All they found of him was a muddy set of prison clothes, a bar of soap, and an old rock hammer, damn near worn down to the nub. I remember thinking it would take a man six hundred years to tunnel through the wall with it. Old Andy did it in less than twenty.
  • Oh, Andy loved geology. I imagine it appealed to his meticulous nature. An ice age here, million years of mountain building there. Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes, really. Pressure, and time. That and a big damn poster. Like I said, in prison, a man will do almost anything to keep his mind occupied. Turns out Andy's favorite hobby was totin' his wall out into the exercise yard, a handful at a time. I guess after Tommy was killed, Andy decided he'd been here just about long enough.
  • Andy did like he was told; buffed those shoes to a high mirror shine. The guards simply didn't notice. Neither did I... I mean, seriously, how often do you really look at a man's shoes? Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit-smelling foulness I can't even imagine- or maybe I just don't want to. Five hundred yards... that's the length of five football fields; just shy of half a mile.
  • Andy Dufresne, who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side. Andy Dufresne, headed for the Pacific. Those of us who knew him best talk about him often. I swear, the stuff he pulled... Sometimes it makes me sad, though, Andy being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright and when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice, but still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty now that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend.
  • I like to think the last thing that went through his head, other than that bullet, was how the hell that Andy Dufrense ever got the best of him.
  • There's harsh truth to face. No way I'm gonna make it on the outside. All I do in remorse is to think a way to break my parole, so they may send me back. Terrible thing to live in fear. Brooks Hatlen knew it. All I want is to be back where things make sense, where I won't have to be afraid all the time. Only one thing stops me. A promise I made to Andy.
  • I find I'm so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope!

Brooks Hatlen[edit]

  • [in a letter to Red after being released on parole] Dear fellas, I can't believe how fast things move on the outside. I saw an automobile once when I was a kid, but now they're everywhere. The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry. The parole board got me into this halfway house called "The Brewer" and a job bagging groceries at the Foodway. It's hard work and I try to keep up, but my hands hurt most of the time. I don't think the store manager likes me very much. Sometimes after work, I go to the park and feed the birds. I keep thinking Jake might just show up and say hello, but he never does. I hope wherever he is, he's doin' okay and makin' new friends. I have trouble sleepin' at night. I have bad dreams like I'm falling. I wake up scared. Sometimes it takes me a while to remember where I am. Maybe I should get me a gun and rob the Foodway so they'd send me home. I could shoot the manager while I was at it, sort of like a bonus. I guess I'm too old for that sort of nonsense any more. I don't like it here. I'm tired of being afraid all the time. I've decided not to stay. I doubt they'll kick up any fuss. Not for an old crook like me. P.S: Tell Heywood I'm sorry I put a knife to his throat. No hard feelings. Brooks.


  • His Judgement Cometh and that Right Soon.…
    • Needlepoint in Norton's office, paraphrased from Sirach 21:5: "A prayer out of a poor man's mouth reacheth to the ears of God, and his judgement cometh speedily."


District Attorney: Ladies and gentlemen, you've heard all the evidence, you know all the facts. We have the accused at the scene of the crime, we have tire tracks, we have bullets strewn on the ground that bear his fingerprints. A broken bourbon bottle, likewise with fingerprints, and most of all, we have a beautiful young woman and her lover, lying dead in each other's arms. They had sinned. But was their crime so great as to merit a death sentence? Now while you think about that, consider this: a revolver holds six bullets, not eight. I submit that this was not a hot-blooded crime of passion; that at least could be understood if not condoned. No. This was revenge of a much more brutal, cold-blooded nature. Consider this: four bullets per victim. Not six shots fired, but eight. That means that he fired the gun empty, and then stopped to reload, so that he could shoot each of them again: an extra bullet per lover, right in the head.
Judge: You strike me as a particularly icy and remorseless man, Mr. Dufresne. It chills my blood 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.

[A group of new prisoners is being processed into Shawshank State Prison.]
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 as you go along. Any questions?
Inmate: When do we eat?
Byron Hadley: You eat when we say you eat. You shit when we say you shit, and you piss when we say you piss. You got that, you maggot-dick motherfucker? [punches him with a baton] On your feet!
Norton: I believe in two things: Discipline and the Bible. Here, you'll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord. Your ass belongs to me. Welcome to Shawshank.

Andy: I'm Andy Dufresne.
Red: Wife-killing banker. Why'd you do it?
Andy: I didn't, since you ask.
Red: You're gonna fit right in. Everybody in here's innocent. Didn't you know that? Heywood, what you in here for?
Heywood: Didn't do it! Lawyer fucked me.
Red: Rumor has it you're a real cold fish. You think your shit smells sweeter than most. Is that right?
Andy: What do you think?
Red: To tell you the truth, I haven't made up my mind.

Red: The Sisters have taken quite a liking to you. Especially Bogs.
Andy: Don't suppose it would help any if I explained to them I'm not homosexual.
Red: Neither are they. You'd have to be human first. They don't qualify. Bull queers take by force. That's all they want or understand. But if I were you, I'd grow eyes in the back of my head.
Andy: Thanks for the advice.

Red: Red. Name's Red.
Andy: Red. Why do they call you that?
Red: Maybe it's because I'm Irish.

Red: Andy, we're getting to be kind of friends, aren't we?
Andy: Yeah, I guess.
Red: Can I ask you something? Why'd you do it?
Andy: I'm innocent, Red. Just like everybody else here. What are you in here for?
Red: Murder. Same as you.
Andy: Innocent?
Red: Only guilty man in Shawshank.

Norton: [takes the Bible from Andy's hands during a cell inspection] I'm pleased to see you reading this. Any favorite passages?
Andy: "Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the Master of the House cometh."
Norton: Mark 13:35. Always liked that one. But I prefer, "I'm the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life."
Andy: John, chapter 8, verse 12.
Norton: [hands the Bible back to Andy] I almost forgot. I'd hate to deprive you of this. Salvation lies within!

Heywood: Was it worth it, two weeks in the hole?
Andy: Easiest time I ever did.
Skeet: Bullshit. No such thing as easy time in the hole.
Jigger: A week seems like a year.
Snooze: Damn straight.
Andy: I had Mr. Mozart to keep me company.
Floyd: So they let you tote that record player down there, huh?
Andy: [points and taps his head.] It was in here. [gestures over his heart] And in here. That's the beauty of music. They can't get that from you. Haven't you ever felt that way about music?
Red: Well, I played a mean harmonica as a younger man. Lost interest in it, though. Didn't make too much sense in here.
Andy: Well, here's where it makes the most sense. You need it so you don't forget.
Red: Forget?
Andy: That there are places in the world that aren't made out of stone. That there's something inside that they can't get to. that they can't touch. It's yours.
Red: What are you talkin' about?
Andy: Hope.
Red: Hope? Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. It's got no use on the inside. You'd better get used to that idea.
Andy: Like Brooks did?

Heywood: [sorting through books] Treasure Island. Robert Louis...
Andy: Stevenson. Fiction, "Adventure". What's next?
Red: I got here Auto Repair and Soap Carving.
Andy: Trade skills and hobbies. Goes under "Educational", the stack right behind you.
Heywood: The Count of Monte Crisco.
Floyd: That's Cristo, you dumb shit.
Heywood: By Alexandree... Dum-ass. Dumbass?
[Red chuckles]
Andy: Dumbass? [Heywood shows him the book] Dumas. You know what that's about?
Heywood: Uh-uh.
Andy: You'll like it. It's about a prison break.
Red: Well, we ought to file that under "Educational" too. Oughtn't we?

Red: [about Norton] He's got his fingers in a lot of pies, from what I hear.
Andy: What you hear isn't half of it. He's got scams you haven't even dreamed of. Kickbacks on his kickbacks. There's a river of dirty money running through this place.
Red: Yeah, but the problem with having all that money is sooner or later, you're gonna have to explain where it came from.
Andy: Well, that's where I come in. I channel it, filter it, funnel it. Stocks, securities, tax free municipals. I send that money out into the real world and when it comes back...
Red: Clean as a virgin's honeypot, huh?
Andy: Cleaner. By the time Norton retires, I'll have made him a millionaire.
Red: If they ever catch on, though, he'll wind up in here wearing a number himself.
Andy: Oh, Red, I thought you had more faith in me than that.
Red: I know you're good, Andy, but all that paper leaves a trail. Now, anybody gets curious, FBI, IRS, whatever, it's gonna lead to somebody.
Andy: Sure it is, but not to me, and certainly not to the Warden.
Red: All right, who?
Andy: Randall Stevens.
Red: Who?
Andy: The "silent" silent partner. He's the guilty one, Your Honor, the man with the bank accounts. It's where the filtering process starts. They trace anything, it's just gonna lead to him.
Red: But who is he?
Andy: He's a phantom, an apparition. Second cousin to Harvey the Rabbit. I conjured him, out of thin air. He doesn't exist, except on paper.
Red: Andy, you just can't make a person up.
Andy: Sure you can, if you know how the system works, where the cracks are. It's amazing what you can accomplish by mail. Mr. Stevens has a birth certificate, driver's license, Social Security number.
Red: You're shitting me.
Andy: If they ever trace any of those accounts, they're gonna wind up chasing a figment of my imagination.
Red: Well, I'll be damned. Did I say you were good? Shit, you are Rembrandt.
Andy: You know, the funny thing is, on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.

Andy: Sir, if I ever get out, I'd never mention what happens here. I'd be just as indictable as you for laundering that money.
Norton: Don't you ever mention money to me again, you sorry son of a bitch; not in this office, not anywhere! [presses buzzer on his desk] Get in here!
Andy: I was just trying to set your mind at ease, that's all. Sir, I didn't--
Norton: [as guards enter] Solitary. A month!
Guard: Yes, sir. Come on!
Andy: What's the matter with you?
Norton: Get him out of here.
Andy: This is my chance to get out! Don't you see that? It's my life! Don't you understand? My life!

Floyd: A month in the hole. That's longest damn stretch I ever heard of.
Tommy: It's all my fault.
Red: Oh, bullshit. You didn't pull the trigger, and you certainly didn't convict him.
Heywood: Red, are you saying that Andy is innocent? I mean, for real innocent?
Red: Well, it looks that way.
Heywood: Sweet Jesus. How long has he been here now?
Red: 1947. What is that, nineteen years?
Heywood: Nineteen years...

Norton: Tommy, I'm asking you to keep this conversation just between us. I feel awkward enough as it is. We got a situation here. I think you can appreciate that.
Tommy: Yes, sir. I sure can.
Norton: I tell you, son, this thing really came along and knocked my wind out. It's got me up nights; that's the truth. The right thing to do, sometimes it's hard to know what that is. Do you understand? I need your help, son. If I'm going to move on this, there can't be the least little shred of doubt. I have to know if what you told Dufresne was the truth.
Tommy: Yes, sir. Absolutely.
Norton: Would you be willing to swear before a judge and jury, having placed your hand on the Good Book and taken an oath before Almighty God himself?
Tommy: Just give me that chance.
Norton: That's what I thought. [signals to Hadley in the watchtower, who shoots Tommy]

[Norton visits Andy in solitary after Tommy's murder]
Norton: I'm sure by now you've heard. Terrible thing. Man that young, less than a year to go, trying to escape. Broke Captain Hadley's heart to shoot him. Truly it did. We just have to put it behind us... move on.
Andy: I'm done. Everything stops. Get someone else to run your scams.
Norton: Nothing stops! Nothing, or you will do the hardest time there is. No more protection from the guards. I'll pull you out of that one-bunk Hilton and cast you down with the Sodomites. You'll think you've been fucked by a train. And the library? Gone, sealed off brick-by-brick. We'll have us a little book barbecue in the yard. They'll see the flames for miles. We'll dance around it like wild Injuns. You understand me? Catching my drift? Or am I being obtuse? [to Hadley] Give him another month to think about it.

Andy: My wife used to say I'm a hard man to know. Like a closed book. Complained about it all the time. She was beautiful. God, I loved her. I just didn't know how to show it, that's all. I killed her, Red. I didn't pull the trigger. But I drove her away. And that's why she died, because of me. The way I am.
Red: That don't make you a murderer. A bad husband, maybe. Feel bad about it if you want to, but you didn't pull the trigger.
Andy: No, I didn't. Somebody else did. And I wound up in here. [scoffs] Bad luck, I guess.
Red: [sighs] Yeah.
Andy: It floats around. It's got to land on somebody. It was my turn, that's all. I was in the path of the tornado. [sighs] I just didn't expect the storm would last as long as it has.

Andy: Think you'll ever get out of here?
Red: Me? Yeah, one day when I got a long, white beard and two or three marbles rolling around upstairs, they'll let me out.
Andy: I tell you where I'd go: Zihuatanejo.
Red: Say what?
Andy: Zihuatanejo. It's in Mexico. A little place on the Pacific Ocean. You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific?
Red: No.
Andy: They say it has no memory. That's where I want to live the rest of my life: a warm place with no memory. Open up a little hotel, right on the beach, buy some worthless old boat, and fix it up new. Take my guests out charter fishing.
Red: Zihuatanejo.
Andy: In a place like that, I could use a man that knows how to get things.
Red: I don't think I could make it on the outside, Andy. I been in here most of my life. I'm an institutional man now.

Red: In here, I'm the guy who can get things for you, sure, but outside all you need is the Yellow Pages. Hell, I wouldn't know where to begin. Pacific Ocean? Shit. Might scare me to death, something that big.
Andy: Not me. I didn't shoot my wife, and I didn't shoot her lover. Whatever mistakes I made, I've paid for them and then some. That hotel, that boat, I don't think that's too much to ask.
Red: I don't think you ought to be doing this to yourself, Andy. This is just shitty pipe dreams. I mean, Mexico is way the hell down there and you're in here, and that's the way it is.
Andy: Yeah, right. That's the way it is. It's down there and I'm in here. I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'.

Rehabilitation Officer: Ellis Boyd Redding: your file says you've served 40 years of a life sentence. Do you feel you've been rehabilitated?
Red: Rehabilitated?... Well, now, let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means.
Rehabilitation Officer: Well, it means that you're ready to rejoin society, to—
Red: [interrupting] I know what you think it means, sonny. To me it's just a made-up word. A politician's word, so that young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie and have a job. What do you really wanna know? Am I sorry for what I did?
Rehabilitation Officer: Well, are you?
Red: There's not a day goes by that I don't feel regret. Not because I'm in here, or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone, and this old man is all that's left. I gotta live with that. Rehabilitated? It's just a bullshit word. So go ahead and stamp your forms, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a shit.


External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about:
Adaptations of works by Stephen King
  Films     The Shining (1980) · Cujo (1983) · The Dead Zone (1983) · Christine (1983) · Cat's Eye (1985) · Silver Bullet (1985) · Stand by Me (1986) · The Running Man (1987) · Tales from the
  Darkside: The Movie
(1990) · Graveyard Shift (1990) · Misery (1990) · The Lawnmower Man (1992) · Sleepwalkers (1992) · The Dark Half (1993) · Needful Things (1993) · The
  Shawshank Redemption
(1994) · Dolores Claiborne (1995) · Thinner (1996) · The Night Flier (1997) · Apt Pupil (1998) · The Green Mile (1999) · Hearts in Atlantis (2001) · Dreamcatcher 
  (2003) · Secret Window (2004) · Riding the Bullet (2004) · 1408 (2007) · The Mist (2007) · Dolan's Cadillac (2009) · A Good Marriage (2014) · Cell (2016) · It (2017) · It Chapter Two (2019)  
  Carrie     Carrie (1976) · The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999) · Carrie (2002) · Carrie (2013)  
  Creepshow     Creepshow (1982) · Creepshow 2 (1987) · Creepshow 3 (2006)  
  Children of the Corn     Children of the Corn (1984) · The Final Sacrifice (1993) · Urban Harvest (1995) · The Gathering (1996) · Fields of Terror (1998) · Isaac's Return (1999) ·
  Revelation (2001) · Children of the Corn (2009) · Genesis (2011)  
  Firestarter     Firestarter (1984) · Rekindled (2002)  
  Trucks     Maximum Overdrive (1986) · Trucks (1997)  
  Pet Sematary     Pet Sematary (1989) · Pet Sematary Two (1992) · Pet Sematary (2019)  
  The Mangler     The Mangler (1995) · The Mangler 2 (2001) · *The Mangler Reborn (2005)  
  Television     Episodes     "Gramma" (1986) · "Sorry, Right Number" (1987) · "The Revelations of Becka Paulson" (1997)  
  Series     Golden Years (1991) · The Dead Zone (2002–07) · Kingdom Hospital (2004) · Haven (2010–present) · Under the Dome (2013–15) · 11.22.63 (2016)  
  Films or miniseries     It (1990) · The Tommyknockers (1993) · The Stand (1994) · The Langoliers (1995) · The Shining (1997) · Quicksilver Highway (1997) · Storm of the Century
  (1999) · Stephen King's Desperation (2006) · Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King (2006) · Bag of Bones (2011) · Big Driver (2014)  
  Salem's Lot     Salem's Lot (1979) · A Return to Salem's Lot (1987) · Salem's Lot (2004)  
  Sometimes They Come Back     Sometimes They Come Back (1991) · Sometimes They Come Back... Again (1996) · Sometimes They Come Back... for More
  Rose Red     Rose Red (2002) · The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer (2003)  
  See also     {{Stephen King}}