The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

shaw“Salvation lies within” – Warden Samuel Norton

Number of Times Seen – Too many to count (Theater, DVD, 20 May 2013)

Brief Synopsis – The story of two convicted criminals in the 1940’s who become friends and  the bond they share over the next twenty years

My Take on it –  I remember seeing this movie in the Theater in 1994 and throughout the viewing, it nagged me that I was familiar with the story. I had forgotten that I had read the book 7 years earlier, written by none other than Stephen King himself.  This along with Apt Pupil (1995) and Stand By Me (1986) {known as The Body} were all in the novella Different Seasons. The story is only 109 pages, but it’s so rich with exposition that Frank Darabont was able to create a 2 and a half hour movie out of it.

This is one of the few movies where I can honestly say that the film version of the book was just as good as the book itself was. Usually the movie is missing so much from the book that you feel many plot points are missing.  Darabont did an amazing job adapting this movie [similar to what he would do 5 years later with The Green Mile (1999)]

I’m not an expert on technical categories, but this movie has two that stand out among others. The music score is very riveting and great to listen to. The cinematography is superb, Roger Deakins, did an amazing job especially during his birds eye view shots of the inmates in the quad. It really makes you lose your breath in awe.

Shawshank came out in the wrong year. It was up against Forrest Gump (1994), Pulp Fiction (1994), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and Quiz Show (1994).  How many years have there been 5 excellent movies competing for the Best Picture Oscar. The problem is that even if it had been made a year earlier it would have lost to the juggernaut Schindler’s List (1993) and one year later it would have been up against Braveheart (1995) and Apollo 13 (1995), so we will never know if it would have had a chance…

Regardless, looking back 19 years later, it is one of the best movies ever made.

Not much else that I can about this movie that hasn’t already been said.

Bottom Line – Worthy of being IMDB’s top rated movie.  In a weaker year at the Oscar’s it would have had a chance, in 1994, it didn’t.  Extremely Highly recommended!!!

Rating – Oscar Worthy

23 thoughts on “The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

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  9. Great review. Shawshank, to me, is leagues ahead of the other best picture nominees that year. I’ll forever have a slight hatred for Forrest Gump that’s not really deserved, simply because I think Shawshank
    deserved the Oscar. ; )


    • I definitely agree with you in retrospect. But…. in 1994, Shawshank wasn’t as much of a hit and as popular and lots of people just didn’t see it until it hit video and cable.

      I read the novella as a kid and even I didn’t remember the book until I was halfway thru the movie b/c the title is (slightly) different.

      Having read it numerous times since, I’m still amazed at how close the movie is to the book eventhough the book is only 110 pages.

      Thanks for commenting T9M! Nice to see you back at it 🙂


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