The Shawshank Redemptionis a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman .
Adapted from the Stephen King novellaRita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the film portrays the story of Andy Dufresne, a banker who spends nearly two decades in Shawshank State Prison for the murder of his wife and her lover despite his claims of being innocent. During his time at the prison, he befriends a fellow inmate, Ellis "Red" Redding, and finds himself protected by the guards after the warden begins using him in his money laundering operation.
Despite a lukewarm box office reception that was barely enough to cover its budget, the film received favorable reviews from critics, multiple award nominations, and has since enjoyed a remarkable life on cable television , VHS , DVD , and Blu-ray . It was included in the American Film Institute 's 100 Years…100 Movies 10th Anniversary Edition .
In 1947, banker Andrew "Andy" Dufresne ( Tim Robbins ) is wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, based on strong circumstantial evidence . He is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences at Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine, run by Warden Samuel Norton ( Bob Gunton ). Life at the prison is harsh. During the first night the chief guard, Byron Hadley ( Clancy Brown ), savagely beats a newly arrived inmate because of his crying, who later dies in the infirmary. Andy's quiet but well-spoken demeanor give him a friend in Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding ( Morgan Freeman ), an inmate serving a life sentence whose parole application was recently rejected. Red is known for obtaining contraband and Andy has him obtain him a rock hammer to maintain his rock collection hobby, allowing him to create small stone sculptures and chess pieces. Red jokes that Andy might use it to break out until he sees how small the hammer is. Andy later obtains a large poster of Rita Hayworth from Red, followed in later years by Marilyn Monroe and Raquel Welch .
During the first two years of his incarceration, Andy works in the prison laundry. He attracts attention from "the Sisters" and member Bogs ( Mark Rolston ), a group of prisoners who sexually assault other prisoners. Though he persistently resists, Andy is beaten and raped on a regular basis. Andy overhears Hadley complain about having to pay taxes on a forthcoming inheritance. After explaining a legal loophole to Hadley, Andy is reassigned to assist the prison librarian, elderly inmate Brooks Hatlen ( James Whitmore ), a pretext to allow Andy to work on financial requests full time. Andy's financial advice is soon sought by other guards at Shawshank and by visiting guards from nearby prisons. Hadley delivers a crippling beating to Bogs, after his gang's brutal sexual assault puts Andy in the infirmary. Andy is left alone from then on.
Using his goodwill with the warden, Andy helps to expand the prison library by writing weekly letters to the state government for funds. When one donation to the library provides him with the operaThe Marriage of Figaro, he plays an excerpt over the public address system for all the inmates to hear, well aware of the solitary confinement he will receive for the brief moment of bliss. Warden Norton develops schemes of using prison labor for public works, undercutting the cost of skilled labor and receiving kickbacks . Norton has Andy launder the money under the false identity of "Randall Stevens", in exchange for allowing Andy to keep his private cell and to continue maintaining the library. Brooks is freed on parole and moves into a halfway house . Unable to adjust to the outside world, he hangs himself. Andy dedicates the expanded library to him.
In 1965, Tommy Williams ( Gil Bellows ) is incarcerated on robbery charges. He joins Andy and Red's circle of friends, and Andy assists him in getting his GED . When learning of Andy's case, Tommy reveals an inmate at another prison, Elmo Blatch ( Bill Bolender ), claimed to have committed a nearly identical murder, which proves Andy's claims of innocence. Norton, fearing Andy might tell of his corruption if released, refuses to co-operate. After they argue, he throws Andy into solitary confinement for two months. Norton has Hadley kill Tommy, claiming he was attempting an escape. Andy returns to his regular cell block and tells Red of his dream of living in Zihuatanejo , a Mexican Pacific coastal town, and setting up a cafe with boat rides for his customers. He instructs Red, should he ever be freed, to visit a specific hayfield near Buxton to retrieve a package from Andy.
The next day at roll call , Andy's cell is empty. When Norton, angry at Andy's disappearance, throws one of Andy's rocks at the poster of Raquel Welch, the rock tears through the poster, revealing a tunnel that Andy has dug with the rock hammer over the last two decades. The night before, Andy switches Norton's ledger with his prison-issue Bible. Taking the ledger, his chess set, and one of the warden's suits, he escapes through the tunnel and a narrow sewage drain during a thunderstorm. After escaping, Andy poses as Randall Stevens to withdraw most of the corruption money from several banks, then sends evidence of Norton's corruption and murder of Tommy to a local newspaper. The police arrive at the prison, and Hadley is arrested, but Norton commits suicide to evade arrest.
Red receives parole after serving 40 years and is allocated the apartment where Brooks committed suicide, and works at the same grocery store. Red begins to feel fear of the outside world, just like Brooks. Red remembers Andy's advice and visits Buxton. There, he finds a cache of money and a note left by Andy, telling him to get to Zihuatanejo. Red violates his parole and travels to Fort Hancock, Texas to skip the border to Mexico. The two are happily reunited on the beach to begin a new life.