The Shawshank Redemption is one of the most amazing and intriguing, well-played and directed movies of all time. It has been 23 years since this movie first came out. The movie shows the emotional bond between two inmates and the tale of obtuse warden is cinematic brilliance.
Starring Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins, and Bob Gunton, the movie didn’t make much waves when it first hit the theaters in 1997. But it did find tons of success and cult following through video rentals and now streaming platforms.
This film is a classic depicting one of the best prison break scenes ever. Another intriguing scene is the opening shot of Tim Robbins’ character, who is drunk as hell and is holding a gun over his wife and her lover. It cuts back to the legal proceedings which will ultimately lend Andy (Tim Robbins) to jail.
Yes, it is a spoiler alert, but if you still haven’t seen this movie, you are beyond help. To honor this classic movie, here are some amazing facts about this. If you love this movie as much as I do, you would know most of these facts.
Frank Darabont pays tribute to Allen Green in this picture
A lot of people wondered who Allen Green was as he was given a tribute in the ending. Well, he was a friend of Mr. Darabont, film’s director. He passed away before the premier of the film and thus, Darabont honored him in the credits.
The interesting information is that Allen was an integral part of making this film.
More info here: https://happygreenbeans.com/blog/1994/4870916952817664.html.
The shot of Andy and Red’s opening chat took 9 hours to film
The first chatting scene of Andy Dufrense and Ellis Redding (Morgan Freeman) took nine hours to film. For this scene, Morgan kept throwing baseball without complaint for the whole time non-stop. He came to set the next day with his arm in a sling.
It released in Israel with a different name
The production team released this movie in Israel with a different name- Walls of hope.
The prison that doubled as Shawshank is now a tourist attraction
The prison in the book world is in Maine. But in the movie, a prison in Mansfield, Ohio doubled as Shawshank. After the production of the film was complete, the prison set was supposed to get demolished.
But fortunately, it was saved and is now one of the biggest tourist attractions in Ohio. Also, the oak tree where Andy buries the letter for his friend, Red is still there.
Darabont paid $5000 for the book’s rights
The best part is that Stephen King didn’t cash the check. After years, King framed the check, and sent it back to Frank Darabont, with a note, ‘In case you ever need bail money. Love, Steve’.
A lot of A-list actors refused the role of Andy
Tom Hanks was approached first for the role of Andy Dufrense. But he had to refuse because he had already committed to star in Forrest Gump, a movie that people still remember him for. Other top actors considered for this role were Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen, and Kevin Costner, who loved the script but had other commitments.
Morgan Freeman’s mugshot in the film is not his
In the parole paper scene, it was the mugshot of his younger son, Alfonso Freeman. The young Freeman also has a cameo as an inmate shouting, ‘Fresh fish, fresh fish today! We are reeling them in’.
The maggots that Brooks fed to his crow were dead
For this particular scene, the American Humane Association requested the production to use maggots who died a natural death. Surprisingly, the production team complied with this weird request.
Frank took inspiration from Goodfellas
The director, Frank, watched GoodFellas every Sunday for inspiration. The voice-over narration and passing of time, as depicted in Goodfellas, was his source of inspiration for Shawshank.
The extras in the film were ex-cons
The production team found eager extras in the locals. But they weren’t available to shoot in a day, which wasn’t an ideal situation. So, the team hired people from halfway house, and most of them were ex-cons.
The book described Red as a nger-haired Irishman
The character was supposed to be a site Irishman but went to Morgan Freeman, who did a remarkable job.
The studio made Frank change the ending of the movie
The studio demanded that Frank showed a happy end with Red and Andy reuniting. But the director didn’t think that it would sit well with the premise of the movie. So, he showed them greeting each other from afar, so as to keep the mystery alive.
Only two female had speaking roles in the movie
In this film, you will find only two speaking scenes with female actresses. One was when a lady was assisting Andy at the bank. The other one was when a girl was complaining about Brooke’s skills as a clerk.
The original title had to be replaced
When Darabont was working on the script, he intended to keep the original name, ‘Rita Hayworth’. But he had to change it as it created confusion amongst actresses who thought it was an autobiography of Rita. Thus, he found many actresses asking him to consider them for this role. Therefore, he changed the name of ‘The Shawshank redemption.’
They drank cheap beer
There is a scene in the movie where Andy and Red drink beer, the brand was Stroh making the saying true, that ‘Prison guard drinks cheap beer.’
The close-up shots of Andy’s hands and feet aren’t his
The close-up shots is weird of the director, Frank Darabont.
The Shawshank Redemption has become a cult favorite and if it were to be released today, it would enjoy tons of success. Anyhow, it is an intriguing and well-acted movie, and everyone who hasn’t seen it yet should do it.
Were you aware of these facts? Or were they a total surprise for you? Tell me in the comments below.