The Shawshank Redemption (1994) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Shawshank Redemption1994

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)



Critic Consensus: The Shawshank Redemption is an uplifting, deeply satisfying prison drama with sensitive direction and fine performances.

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Movie Info

In 1946, a banker named Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is convicted of a double murder, even though he stubbornly proclaims his innocence. He's sentenced to a life term at the Shawshank State Prison in Maine, where another lifer, Ellis "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman), picks him as the new recruit most likely to crack under the pressure. The ugly realities of prison life are quickly introduced to Andy: a corrupt warden (Bob Gunton), sadistic guards led by Capt. Byron Hadley (Clancy Brown), and inmates who are little better than animals, willing to use rape or beatings to insure their dominance. But Andy does not crack: he has the hope of the truly innocent, which (together with his smarts) allow him to prevail behind bars. He uses his banking skills to win favor with the warden and the guards, doing the books for Norton's illegal business schemes and keeping an eye on the investments of most of the prison staff. In exchange, he is able to improve the prison library and bring some dignity and respect back to many of the inmates, including Red. Based on a story by Stephen King, The Shawshank Redemption was the directorial debut of screenwriter Frank Darabont. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Tim Robbins
as Andy Dufresne
Morgan Freeman
as Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding
Bob Gunton
as Warden Norton
Clancy Brown
as Captain Hadley
Gil Bellows
as Tommy Williams
James Whitmore
as Brooks Hatlen
Mark Rolston
as Bogs Diamond
Jude Ciccolella
as Guard Mert
Paul McCrane
as Guard Trout
Joe Ragno
as Ernie
Renee Blaine
as Andy Dufresne's Wife
Scott Mann
as Glenn Quentin
Gordon Greene
as 1947 Parole Hearings Man
John Horton
as 1946 Judge
Gordon C. Greene
as 1947 Parole Hearings Man
Alfonso Freeman
as Fresh Fish Con
V.J. Foster
as Hungry Fish Con
John E. Summers
as New Fish Guard
Joe Pecoraro
as Projectionist
Mack Miles
as Tyrell
Donald Zinn
as Moresby Batter
Alan R. Kessler
as Laundry Bob
Morgan Lund
as Laundry Truck Driver
Cornell Wallace
as Laundry Leonard
Ned Bellamy
as Guard Youngblood
Joseph Pecoraro
as Projectionist
Brian Delate
as Guard Dekins
Donald E. Zinn
as Moresby Batter
Dorothy Silver
as 1954 Landlady
Robert Haley
as 1954 Food-Way Manager
Dana Snyder
as 1954 Food-Way Woman
John D. Craig
as 1957 Parole Hearings Man
Ken Magee
as Ned Grimes
Bill Bolender
as Elmo Blatch
Ron Newell
as Elderly Hole Guard
John R. Woodward
as Bullhorn Tower Guard
Chuck Brauchler
as Man Missing Guard
Dion Anderson
as Head Bull Haig
Claire Slemmer
as Bank Teller
James Kisicki
as Bank Manager
Rohn Thomas
as Bugle Editor
Rob Reider
as Duty Guard
Brian Brophy
as 1967 Parole Hearings Man
Paul Kennedy
as 1967 Food-Way Manager
Bill Sadler
as Heywood
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News & Interviews for The Shawshank Redemption

Critic Reviews for The Shawshank Redemption

All Critics (82) | Top Critics (22)

Cinematic alchemy of a kind that's all too rare, propelled by a supremely talented cast, a sumptuous score by Thomas Newman and a first-rate script and direction from first-timer Frank Darabont.

October 1, 2019 | Full Review…

A tough, complex story [told] with clarity, compassion and considerable dramatic force.

September 21, 2019 | Full Review…

In the lead roles, both Robbins and Freeman are outstanding, layering their performances with snippets of individuality: Their small, daily sustenances and minor triumphs are wonderfully inspiring.

September 23, 2016 | Full Review…

This is an engagingly simple, good-hearted film, with just enough darkness around the edges to give contrast and relief to its glowingly benign view of human nature.

September 22, 2015 | Rating: 3/4

Simply marvelous entertainment.

January 16, 2013 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Freeman, who is simply a great actor, a man who has never struck a false note in his career, both narrates this tale and anchors it with his authoritative playing.

June 15, 2011 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Shawshank Redemption


Tender, funny, and inspirational, The Shawshank Redemption is a well-crafted prison drama and another great movie to add to Frank Darabont's impressive filmography. Morgan Freeman is the standout as one of the most endearing characters in cinema history, while Tim Robbins and a host of excellent character actors fill out an outstanding ensemble cast that make you feel like you are there with them in that prison. This is an emotionally satisfying film with many memorable character moments sprinkled into an otherwise pretty standard plot. While I find it to be a little too sensitive at times, this is an excellent motion picture and a must see.

Josh Lewis
Josh Lewis

Super Reviewer

It may deserve to be generally regarded as (one of) the most overrated film(s) ever made, but it is above all a wonderful, uplifting and deeply touching tale of hope and perseverance that certainly deserves to be remembered as one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King story.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Strong acting. Moderately inventive story, but not exactly unpredictable. A pleasantly uplifting film, but don't expect a transformative experience. PS -- Love the "Sisters" -- wish they won!

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

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