Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption (Single-Disc Edition)

#72 on the 2007 AFI List of the 100 Best American Movies

The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.

Adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the film tells 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 innocence. During his time at the prison, he befriends a fellow inmate, Ellis Boyd "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

# 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. The short dialogue with Andy is a jest towards this casting decision as Red - when asked about the origin of his nick name - answers "Maybe it's because I'm Irish."
# 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.

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