The Shawshank Redemption

Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

The above is the tagline for the film The Shawshank Redemption. I saw this movie when it came out in 1994 and to be honest, it didn’t have a huge impact on me. I was twenty and hadn’t really lived life yet, even though if you told me that at the time I would have argued with you. Last weekend when I sat down to watch it with The Better Half I was asked how I liked it the first time. I shrugged. The Better Half said, “I think you’ll appreciate it more now.” Don’t you just hate it when your partner is always right?

The movie, adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, is a moving story about a man who never gives up hope. Andy Defresne (Tim Robbins), was a successful banker who is sent to prison for murdering his wife and her lover. Andy claims he’s innocent, but the evidence doesn’t look good. He’s sentenced to a life term at the Shawshank State Prison, located in Maine. There he meets Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), another inmate serving a life sentence. Life in prison isn’t easy for Andy. The warden is crooked, the guards are brutal, and some of the inmates are abusive. However, they can’t break Andy’s spirit. Using his financial knowhow he wins over the warden and guards. This offers him protection from ill-treatment. During his time in prison he always maintains his innocence. Is he? And will Shawshank ever break his spirit?

Even though this film didn’t fare too well at the box office, it was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 1994, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Freeman), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Sound Mixing. In 1995 it became one of the top rented movies of 1995. It took time, but the film garnered fans.

It took years for me to learn to appreciate this movie as well. This time when I watched it, the movie resonated. Since 1994, much has happened in my life. Good and bad. I haven’t been sent to prison, but I’ve had to overcome many hardships that did their best to sap all hope from me. I won’t go into details, but there were times when I almost succumbed and believed that things wouldn’t get better. I almost gave up hope. I didn’t though. I think my own life experiences made me cheer all the more for Andy. Here was a man who had everything against him, and yet he kept his fight alive. It goes to show, that no matter how hard life gets, if you still believe you can make things better, more than likely you can. Happiness lies within. I may have to print out the tagline for this movie and keep it at my desk to remember. “Hope can set you free.”

Up next is Saving Private Ryan.

Also I wanted to mention that Atticus and Miles are featured on Underneath the Shell today. If you get a chance, pop over and say hi.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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47 Responses to The Shawshank Redemption

  1. I’m so glad you like this now! It is one of my absolute favorite movies.

  2. i didn’t see this movie ’til about a year and a half ago, and I enjoyed it. it was fun to see james whitmore as the prison librarian. the movie’s a bit more sentimental than i usually prefer, and i’d like to read the king book it’s based on to compare the tone.

    • TBM says:

      I haven’t read the novella yet. I hear it’s better–at least I think someone mentioned that recently. Now I’m second-guessing myself.

  3. janna hill says:

    Definitely ranked in my top five favorite films. I don’t have many favs. Shame on me for not knowing it was a book first. I’ll need to read it now. I enjoyed your post.

  4. Dave says:

    I still have yet to see this movie, but given your take home message and how the film resonated within you it’s on the to-see list now.

    • TBM says:

      I hope you watch it and let me know what you think. It’s a very encouraging film, even though also difficult to watch at times.

  5. nrlymrtl says:

    I remember seeing this in highschool….with my mom. There were some scenes that were awkward to watch with her – brutal violence, not a conversation starter between us. But I was surprised she liked it for it’s message of hope. I should give it a rewatch as I too have lived some years now and would probably have a different take on it now.

    • TBM says:

      I was amazed by how much I liked the movie this time around. As soon as it finished I was stunned that I just thought it was so so twenty years ago. Life does teach us a lot over the years. And yes, a difficult film to watch with a mom. I was (and still am) shy about certain scenes and topics in movies. It doesn’t take much for me to blush.

  6. bocafrau says:

    I love that tagline. I think, I may have seen bits and pieces of this movie when the husband was watching in.

  7. Novroz says:

    First of all, thank you for the shout-out, TBM 🙂

    second, I am glad you like Shawshank…it’s one of my favorite King’s book-movie adaption. Both book and movie are equally great. We can learn a lot from Andy’s determination to live on.

    Third, looking forward to read your thought on SPR…which also reminds me I haven’t reviewed that movie even though I proudly declare it as one of my all-time fav movies.

    • TBM says:

      Thanks for the opportunity of sharing my boys. I love to brag about them–I think they are beautiful. I hope you review SPR–would love to know your thoughts. I haven’t watched it recently so I’m looking forward to seeing it again. I remember the opening scenes are difficult to get through.

      And Andy, what a great character. Never give up hope.

  8. Pingback: The Shawshank Redemption | Happy New Days

  9. niasunset says:

    I haven’t watched it dear TBM, seems interesting. I loved this quote “Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.” Thank you, love, nia

  10. Tracey says:

    I find it interesting that the movie didn’t really have an impact on you when you first saw it. I watched it in high school – we had to do an assignment of some sort on the movie – and I loved it then as much as I love it now.

    • TBM says:

      Yeah I’m not sure why I didn’t like it and I can’t even say if I didn’t like it. it was years ago. But I didn’t have much of an opinion on it. Glad you like it.

  11. journeytominimalism says:

    Starting to think I should watch this one again….

  12. pattisj says:

    Maybe I need to watch this again. Off to see the pets!

  13. Adam says:

    This is my favorite movie, and any time I start talking about movies with people I tell them that this is the best movie ever made. It takes the time it needs to tell a beautiful story, and all of the characters are wonderful.

    I haven’t read the novella yet, but I have to wonder how it could possibly be better than the movie. It’s on my to-read list, so I’ll have to talk about it when I read it.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the movie.

    • TBM says:

      The supporting cast in this film is fantastic. And Morgan is wonderful. I’ve always loved him and his narration adds even more to the film. He has such a wonderful voice. I wonder if he does any audio books. I hope you enjoy the novella. I think I’ll add it to my TBR.

  14. Caroline says:

    I didn’t read your whole review because I’m planning on reading the book soon.
    Sometimes we need to watch a movie a second time to appreciate it.

    • TBM says:

      I agree. I must have been in a so so mood when I watched it the first time and came away with that feeling. I hope you review the book. would love to know your thoughts.

  15. Love this movie, never read the book though.

  16. Iamrcc says:

    This is one of my all time favorite movies. So glad you gave it a second look. I seen it at least a half a dozen times. Thanks for the like of my post “Dividing Line”.

    • TBM says:

      I’m really glad I watched it again instead of just writing it off completely. Sometimes things don’t click with me right away. That’s happened with a couple of movies or books that have since then become a favorite.

  17. The Guat says:

    Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude. You know if you had a Shawshank quote I was gonna stop by, I know you know that it is one of my favorite movies. I felt like such an idiot when I didn’t see it when it came out in theatres I was busy watching Forest Gump and Pulp Fiction. But I did catch maybe like two years after it premiered and I was blown away. BLOWN! I absolutely love it and so wish I would have seen it on the Big Screen. Great post my friend and so glad that the first impression didn’t stick with you because Andy Dufresne and Red rock.

    • TBM says:

      It’s funny since many people were focusing on Forest Gump and Pulp Fiction and missed out on this one, and yet it ranks higher on the AFI list. Interesting. Maybe for the 20th Anniversary they will release it on the big screen. You might want to start lobbying for that since the 20th is in 2014. Dude, you have some work to do!

  18. I loved Shawshank too. Thanks for reminding me.

  19. Fergiemoto says:

    I’ve seen this a couple of times. I thought it was a good movie.

  20. LOVE this movie. when morgan freeman talks about getting on with living and going to see his friend at the end, it’s just perfect in my opinion.

  21. lynnsbooks says:

    Such an excellent film – as is your next choice Saving Private Ryan.
    Lynn 😀

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