"Get Busy Livin' Or Get Busy Dyin'." That's one of so many quotable lines from the remarkable 1994 film, The Shawshank Redemption. This cinematic classic, currently ranked #1 on IMDB’s user list of the most popular films of all time. It follows the story of Andy Dufresne and Red who form an unlikely friendship in prison. Andy, played by Tim Robbins, is falsely accused of murdering his wife and her lover. Red committed a horrible crime in his youth, and had been in Shawshank for many years (side note: while it's not explained in detail in movie, in the novella - written by Stephen King - Red is serving three life sentences for murdering his wife, his neighbor's wife, and his neighbor's son. Red disconnected the brakes on his car in order to kill his wife and collect on an insurance policy; he did not plan on two other people joining his wife for her ill-fated drive.) They form a bond and Andy, being a highly unusual prisoner who suffered at the hands of some other prisoners early on and then at the hands of the warden as he did work for him, eventually escapes. Red is let out years later, and goes to see his friend.
But really, it's the study of hope, bonds, and friendship and even long-term convicts dealing with life inside a penitentiary. How Andy’s perpetual reverie of freedom and hope and Red’s worry that after so long behind bars, he might not know how to live on the outside. This complexity of all of this is played so masterfully by the characters.
When it came out in 1994, The Shawshank Redemption didn't actually do very well in theaters, despite critical acclaim. It only grossed $18 million during its initial run and while it was nominated for Best Picture and Best Actor (for Morgan Freeman) and five other Oscars, they didn't win a single one.
Today, of course, it's considered one of the best movies of all time, which makes its 25th anniversary here in 2019 all the more special. Shawshank director Frank Darabont will be going to Mansfield, Ohio, where the movie was shot in 1994 to celebrate this anniversary, joining a panel discussion on August 16 and on August 17, there will be other members of the cast at a Shawshank Meet & Greet at the historic Ohio State Reformatory (in the movie, however, the prison was located in Maine.)
And next month, people all over the country can watch The Shawshank Redemption on the big screen once again, in select theaters September 23, 24 and 25. We'll keep you posted! We've learned not to be (or say) "obtuse"...
Here's the original movie trailer for The Shawshank Redemption:
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