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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Tim Robbins
Morgan Freeman
Bob Gunton.
Directors
Frank Darabont.
Screenwriters
Frank Darabont.
Running Time
143 minutes

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The Shawshank Redemption
Cracking Stephen King tale with Tim Robbins and Morgan at their impressive best


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Plot
US Lawyer is sent to Shawshank prison for life, charts his experiences, friendships and influences on the prison whilst maintaining his innocence.


Review
This movie is based on a novella by Stephen King, but don't let that put you off. It's not a horror film, rather a thumpingly good ode to friendship, hope, wit, wiles and wisdom, brimming with crackling characters and topped with the most twisteroo of twists since The Crying Game. Found guilty of killing his unfaithful wife and her lover in a fit of passion, sullen accountant Andy Dufresne (Robbins, casting off his goofball image to display more layers than the proverbial onion) is shipped to the gothic wind-swept corridors of the Shawshank State Prison for life. It is here the movie gracefully unfolds. With a beautifully rounded script, writer/director Darabont conjures up a spellbinding personal odyssey stretching through the years from 1946 to 1967.

Dufresne, all the while protesting his innocence, slowly overcomes the hellfire tortures of the prison system - an unblinking range of beatings, rapings and abject humiliations - while managing to inspire his fellow inmates to lift their degraded horizons. Among them is Red (Freeman, in a matchless supporting role), the lifer who can, given time, provide virtually anything. And for reasons best known to himself, Dufresne requires 40s starlet Rita Hayworth, provisioned in poster form.

The mood swings rigorously through every emotion as the cranky, wiseguy and downright crazed array of criminals bare the brunt of the turbulent life within the doomy Shawshank catacomb. Then it gets really mean, gearing up for its injury-time shockers. Dufresne, a whiz with figures, is bullied into running the warden's (Gunton) petty accounting scams, giving him the chance to execute his and the film's final, greatest miracle.

If you're miserable enough to look for gripes then, yes, it does drift on too long and who needs prison buggery again? Yet the ending has such poetic completeness you're too busy contentedly chuckling to worry about sore behinds. This may have confounded American audiences - it flopped big-time on planet Yank - but a more divine movie experience you will not find this side of Oscardom. Spread the word.


Extras

Shawshank Redemption, The Shawshank Redemption, The
Released: 18 May 1998
Peppered with the usual notes on production and actor profiles, all eloquent if brief, this does boast excellent filmed interviews with cast and makers, adding real insight to the processes at work.


Verdict
If you don't love Shawshank, chances are you're beyond redemption.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Shawshank Redemption
Empire Star Rating

All Shawshanked out!

I've taken quite some time in perfecting an actual review for this film...and I'm sorry to say I still haven't got passed - It's brilliant. There, you don't need me to say anything else... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by BennyBoo81 at 11:46, 29 March 2014 | Report This Post


One of the absolute treasures of cinema

A brilliant adaptation of a great story from the master Stephen King, with incredible performances all around, The Shawshank Redemption is one of those movies that is perfect in every way and truly deserves its five stars. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Gittes at 22:52, 07 June 2013 | Report This Post


"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

An affecting and heartfelt drama, The Shawshank Redemption remains one of the greatest films of the 1990's, and a fascinating debut by director Frank Darabont. A feel-good prison movie is a rare breed, and this is just that, yet so much more... this is life affirming. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by movienut707 at 01:50, 18 January 2013 | Report This Post


Erotic prison drama at its worst.

Okay, first things first Adam Sandler is perfect as Red. I mean you wouldn't think that skinny white man would look so much like Nelson Mandela. Meryl Streep has a heart rendering performance as Andy Du... De... Dufrne? Whatever. The film based on Stephanie Meyers twilight saga novels doesnt live up to the books, I mean where are the vampires?! where are the werewolves?! where is RPATZ?! I thought the beautiful rape scene between bender from futurama and meryl streep was quite horny but tragic a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by gayindian at 14:42, 27 July 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Shawshank

Today is the day Andy Dufresne would have been released. If only he'd waited......... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jonson at 16:33, 28 June 2012 | Report This Post


Shawshank

Cruel, Beautiful,dark, cold and triumpfant. The perfect film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by antosh25 at 11:21, 06 December 2011 | Report This Post


Funny

It is. How can this movie be consider one of the best movies ever made ? Well, if Avatar is, why not this one ? To see this film in the same spot where The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Blade Runner stand is a joke ! I call this movie a mellow bad ripoff of Escape from Alcatraz. The leading cast is the best thing here, but that does´nt mean that Tim Robbins isn´t mediocre. But, justice is a thing that doesn´t exist in the movies world. A Lord of the Rings film won the Oscar for best pic... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by carpen7er at 16:17, 28 April 2011 | Report This Post


Perfect

The Shawshank Redemption is a perfectly woven, superbly performed, and flawlessly shot cinematic masterpiece that is sure to never be forgotten. Along with Darabont's other prison outing, The Green Mile, he has crafted a pair of subtly affecting dramas with real heart. Shawshank, however takes the prize. Phenomenal stuff. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 22:54, 15 February 2011 | Report This Post


I like the gay men when they try to fuck the main character!! yum yum :P ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dinsy77 at 10:10, 07 February 2011 | Report This Post


Astonishing

The perfect movie is never going to be be made but this sure as hell comes close to being it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bigollytg at 15:47, 05 February 2011 | Report This Post


Astonishing

The perfect movie is never going to be be made but this sure as hell comes close to being it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bigollytg at 15:47, 05 February 2011 | Report This Post


Ground-Breaking Film.

The Shawshank Redemption is one of those movies that could never be re-maded (don't you dare, Hollywood) and have that rare five star rating from a very picky reviewer (ie me). After checking out The Green Mile which I deeply enjoyed, I rented this out and finished it off last night. Ground-breaking pefomances from Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, a greatly written script, some shocking/tender/emotional moments and that ending which will leave you with a lump in your throat. Highly recommened if ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 09:32, 21 August 2010 | Report This Post


Ground-Breaking Film.

The Shawshank Redemption is one of those movies that could never be re-maded (don't you dare, Hollywood) and have that rare five star rating from a very picky reviewer (ie me). After checking out The Green Mile which I deeply enjoyed, I rented this out and finished it off last night. Ground-breaking pefomances from Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, a greatly written script, some shocking/tender/emotional moments and that ending which will leave you with a lump in your throat. Highly recommened if ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 09:32, 21 August 2010 | Report This Post


How do I add twenty stars?

It's the kind of film that you'd have people giving it more if they could An American Classic for the world to cherisch forever With love from New Zealand. Shawhank lovers Recently there was a online poll vote for peoples favourite film in New Zealand. Shawshank redemption was number one ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by monkeyhumour at 06:43, 14 April 2010 | Report This Post


I hate you Forrest!

My friend once asked me if this was a good film and if i thought he'd like it and i said"Do you like any film?"and he said"Yeah"and then I said"Then you're gonna love this"and i was right.In fact,he kept on borrowing it for like every month afterwards until I finally bought it for him for Christmas,(even though it was just September.)So,anyway,this is a must-see.Greatest film I've ever seen.(and WWAAAAYY better than Forrest Gump! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JohnPaul1996 at 15:20, 06 March 2010 | Report This Post


Classic

This film is not only the greatest film of all time but the soundtrack is something to be admired creating an excellent effect creating inspirational scenes twinned with the most amazing acting and heatwarming moments make the film just perfect. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Hydrola at 19:27, 27 January 2010 | Report This Post


The greatest movie of all time

Great films stir emotions. They have an impact that lasts long beyond the trip to the cinema. They give you an opportunity to reflect on your life, to ponder on the moments and they can inspire. The often misnamed ‘Shawshank Redemption’ (Scrimshaw Reduction?) was a box office failure when it came out in the UK in 1995. It’s a story about 2 men, in prison in the 1940s, 50s and 60s and what happens to them... and that sounds pretty dull. But actually there is a simple message to... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Andy Simcox at 21:21, 10 January 2010 | Report This Post


I was hassled into watching this by a friend as I'd thought it didn't look like my kind of thing but I'm so grateful he did. Fantastic film, one of my favourite films of all time. My only gripe is it has since led me to watch some pretty terrible films because Morgan Freeman is in them! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by BFG at 16:14, 06 November 2009 | Report This Post


brilliant

an absolutely brilliant prison drama, a really good tale of friendship. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mark09laugh@gmx.com at 14:34, 09 October 2009 | Report This Post


brilliant

an absolutely brilliant prison drama, a really good tale of friendship. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mark09laugh@gmx.com at 14:34, 09 October 2009 | Report This Post


The Shawshank Redemption

Brilliant film ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kris9209 at 23:21, 29 July 2009 | Report This Post


just wish i could put another fifty stars. One of the best movies ever - if you don't feel all warm and choked up at the end then you probably aren't even human. Awesome. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nesta37 at 00:04, 31 May 2009 | Report This Post


just wish i could put another fifty stars. One of the best movies ever - if you don't feel all warm and choked up at the end then you probably aren't even human. Awesome. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nesta37 at 00:04, 31 May 2009 | Report This Post


Imagine that there are another 5 starts after this one ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JRFP at 18:19, 04 May 2009 | Report This Post


A Beautiful Movie

I'm a bloke, but I couldn't help but cry at the end of this film. One of the greatest ever made, undoubtedly the best never to win any Oscars whatsoever. I know Forrest Gump came out in the same year, and Pulp Fiction, and Gump was a deserved winner, but this is still outstandingly good. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JoKeRJaMeZ at 18:27, 22 April 2009 | Report This Post


More user comments


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