The Shawshank Redemption
-In 1947, banker Andrew "Andy" Drufresne(Tim Robbins) is convicted of the murder of his wife and her lover, based on small amounts of evidence. He is sentenced to life consecutive life sentences at Shawshank Prison in Maine, run by Warden Samuel Norton(Bob Gunton). During the first night, the chief guard Byron Hadley(Clancy Brown) brutally beats a new inmate who later dies in the infirmary. Meanwhile, Andy befriends a fellow inmate named Ellis Boyd "Red" Reddding(Morgan Freeman), who is serving a life sentence whose parole is repeatedly rejected. He is known for getting contraband and is able to get a rock hammer for Andy, aloowing him to create small stone chess pieces. Red jokes that Andy might use it to break out, but later Andy gets a poster of Rita Hayworth from Red, followed by Marilyn Monroe, and Raquel Welch.
-Using his skills as a banker with the warden, Andy helps to expand the library by writing weekly letters to the state govt. for funds. When one donation to the library provides a recording of the Marriage of Figaro, he sneaks into the warden's office and plays it over the loud speaker. And the warden comes up with the idea to have the prisoners do work around town and get kickbacks. He has Andy launder the money under the false identity Randall Stevens. Brooks is freed on parole and moves into a halfway house. Unable to adjust, he hangs himself. The library is then dedicated to him
-The next day at roll call, Norton goes into Andy's cell and looks behind the poster of Raquel Welch to find he is missing. The night before, Andy switched Norton's ledger with the prison issue Bible. Taking the chess set, one of the warden's suits, the ledger, he escapes through the sewer pipe and emerges outside, where it is raining and thundering. He poses as Randall Stevens and withdraws all of the money and sends evidence of Norton's corruption to the local newspaper. When the police arrive, Norton commits suicide to evade arrest and Hadley is arrested.
-Red recieves parole after 40 years and is allocated to the halfway house where Brooks committed suicide. He gets a job at a local grocery store and he begins to fear the outside world. That's when he remembers Andy's advice to go and find the package. When he does, it's a cache of money and a note left by Andy, telling him how to get to Zihuatenajo, by going through Fort Hancock, Texas. When he finds Andy on the beach, they reunite and begin a new life.
Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne
Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding, Andy's best friend and the film's narrator; convicted of murder in 1927. Before Freeman was cast, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman, and Robert Redford were each considered for the role. Although written as a middle-aged Irishman with greying red hair (as in the novella), Darabont cast Freeman for his authoritative presence and demeanor; he could not see anyone else as Red.
Bob Gunton as Warden Samuel Norton. He is well versed in the Bible and presents himself as a pious, devout Christian and reform-minded administrator, but his actions reveal him to be corrupt, ruthless, and remorseless.
William Sadler as Heywood, a member of Red's gang of long-serving convicts.
Clancy Brown as Capt. Byron Hadley, chief of the guards. Hadley is an intemperate guard who thinks nothing of delivering beatings to the inmates to keep them in line. When cast for the role, Brown declined the offer to study real-life prison guards as preparation for his role, because he did not want to base it on any one person.
Gil Bellows as Tommy Williams, a young convict whose experiences in a previous prison hold the truth about Andy's innocence.
Mark Rolston as Bogs Diamond, the head of "The Sisters" gang and a prison rapist.
James Whitmore as Brooks Hatlen, prison librarian/trustee and one of the oldest convicts at Shawshank having been in prison since 1905. Darabont cast Whitmore because he was one of his favorite character actors
Did You Know?
-The role of Tommy Williams was written for Brad Pitt
-The exteriors were filmed at the now abandoned Mansfield State Reformatory in Ohio. The conditions of the prison were so poor, that renovations had to be made for filming
-In Stephen King's version, Red is a white Irishman
-The Rita Hayworth movie the prisoners are watching is Gilda
-The mugshots that are supposed to be of a younger Morgan Freeman are actually of his younger son Alfonso, who appears in the movie, shouting "Fresh fish! Fresh fish! We're reeling 'em in!"
-On the bus behind where Tommy Williams was sitting was the real life former warden of the Mansfield State Reformatory
-Beer bottles didn't have screw tops in 1949
-The ambulance that took Boggs away had to be pushed because the engine died
-The prison was right in the direct flight path of the C-130 Hercules Aricraft of the 179th Airlift Wing, in Ohio. This caused sound problems
-When Capt. Hadley(Clancy Brown) is being arrested at the end, he is being read the Miranda Rights because 1966 is when the Miranda v. Arizona case made headlines and that's where it was decided that a defendant has the right to remain silent, attorney, etc.