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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic
The Movie itself: The Shawshank Redemption is not just another movie, its not another movie adaptation either. Its a tale of hope & redemption. Its rated No.1 on IMDB by users, and often ranks amongst top 5 movies on other internet ranking sites. Often dubbed as a modern classic, this movie has developed a cult following and is considered as best on screen adaptation of a...
Published on Jan. 11 2009 by Toast

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Never rises above the hollywood platitudes
Gees, I'm going to get caned for saying this, aren't I.
The Shawshank Redemption has always been pegged as a great movie - clearly the Amazon.com readership thinks so - and I finally got round to seeing it last night.
It's definitely a engaging film; beautifully shot, well enough acted and it resolves itself quite nicely (if not a little obviously - the "twist"...
Published on July 21 2002 by Olly Buxton


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic, Jan. 11 2009
By 
Toast (Vancouver, BC Canada) - See all my reviews
The Movie itself: The Shawshank Redemption is not just another movie, its not another movie adaptation either. Its a tale of hope & redemption. Its rated No.1 on IMDB by users, and often ranks amongst top 5 movies on other internet ranking sites. Often dubbed as a modern classic, this movie has developed a cult following and is considered as best on screen adaptation of a Stephen King story. I can go on typing pages about how good this movie is and how absorbed I am in it every time I see it, but I think you all get the point, so let's move on to the fun stuff.

Video: I have owned this movie in all the formats ever released, the original DVD, the 10th Anniversary Edition and now this one. Yes this one by far is the best. The helicopter shots of the prison and its yards are simply gorgeous. I found the picture to be a little too smooth in some close up shots but sitting 6-10 feet away I doubt if anyone will notice that. The colors pallet is very consistent and gives us very little to complain. Warner's 1080p/VC-1 encode presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio is a wonderful upgrade for the previous owners of the movie who have upgraded to HDTV sets.

Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 is perfectly balanced. From the dialogue to sobbing, screams & whispers the sound is crystal clear. There are no action sequences and Bourne Trilogy type chases in this movie, so the soundtrack and the level of its loudness leaves very little to be desired.

Final Words: From "When those bars slam home, you know its for real" to "Get busy livin' or Get busy Dyin'" this movie is what true Hollywood cinema is all about. From being a box office failure to a moderate success (when it got 7 academy nominations) this epic has turned in to a must watch movie in Home Video history. Blockbuster and Netflix still rank this movie as one of the most rented movies in their database and there is a good reason for it........ its a brilliant movie with a huge replay value, one never gets tired of it. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, wondrously told and acted, July 18 2004
At the heart of this extraordinary movie is a brilliant and indelible performance by Morgan Freeman as Red, the man who knows how to get things, the "only" guilty man at Shawshank prison. He was nominated by the Academy for Best Actor in 1995 but didn't win. (Tom Hanks won for Forrest Gump.) What Freeman does so beautifully is to slightly underplay the part so that the eternal boredom and cynicism of the lifer comes through, and yet we can see how very much alive with the warmth of life the man is despite his confinement. Someday Morgan Freeman is going to win an Academy Award and it will be in belated recognition for this performance, which I think was a little too subtle for some Academy members to fully appreciate at the time.
But Freeman is not alone. Tim Robbins plays the hero of the story, banker Andy Dufresne, who has been falsely convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. Robbins has a unique quality as an actor in that he lends ever so slightly a bemused irony to the characters he plays. It is as though part of him is amused at what he is doing. I believe this is the best performance of his career, but it might be compared with his work in The Player (1992), another excellent movie, and in Mystic River (2003) for which he won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.
It is said that every good story needs a villain, and in the Bible-quoting, Bible-thumping, massively hypocritical, sadistic Warden Samuel Norton, played perfectly by Bob Gunton, we have a doozy. I want to tell you that Norton is so evil that fundamentalist Christians actually hate this movie because of how precisely his vile character is revealed. They also hate the movie because of its depiction of violent, predatory homosexual behavior (which is the reason the movie is rated R). On the wall of his office (hiding his safe with its ill-gotten contents and duplicitous accounts) is a framed plaque of the words "His judgment cometh and that right soon." The irony of these words as they apply to the men in the prison and ultimately to the warden himself is just perfect. You will take delight, I promise.
Here is some other information about the movie that may interest you. As most people know, it was adapted from a novella by Stephen King entitled "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption." Rita Hayworth figures in the story because Red procures a poster of her for Andy that he pins up on the wall of his cell. The poster is a still from the film Gilda (1946) starring her and Glenn Ford. We see a clip from the black and white film as the prisoners watch, cheering and hollering when Rita Hayworth appears. If you haven't seen her, check out that old movie. She really is gorgeous and a forerunner of Marilyn Monroe, who next appears on Andy's wall in a still from The Seven Year Itch (1955). It's the famous shot of her in which her skirt is blown up to reveal her shapely legs. Following her on Andy's wall (and, by the way, these pinups figure prominently in the plot) is Rachel Welsh from One Million Years B.C. (1966). In a simple and effective device these pinups show us graphically how long Andy and Red have been pining away.
Frank Darabont's direction is full of similar devices that clearly and naturally tell the story. There is Brooks (James Whitmore) who gets out after fifty years but is so institutionalized that he can't cope with life on the outside and hangs himself. Playing off of this is Red's periodic appearance before the parole board where his parole is summarily REJECTED. Watch how this plays out at the end.
The cinematography by Roger Deakins is excellent. The editing superb: there's not a single dead spot in the whole movie. The difference between the good guys (Red, Andy, Brooks, etc.) and the bad guys (the warden, the guards, the "sisters," etc.) is perhaps too starkly drawn, and perhaps Andy is a bit too heroic and determined beyond what might be realistic, and perhaps the "redemption" is a bit too miraculous in how beautifully it works out. But never mind. We love it.
All in all this is a great story vividly told that will leave you with a true sense of redemption in your soul. It is not a chick flick, and that is an understatement. It is a male bonding movie about friendship and the strength of character, about going up against what is wrong and unfair and coming out on top through pure true grit and a little luck.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Out of all the movies I've seen, July 15 2004
This is one of the few movies that has ever moved or impacted me in a way I can't explain.
I'm usally a fan of movies with shootout fights, and excellent plots. But this movie had a plot that made me careless about violence, I just wanted to figure out what happened next. This movie kept me intruiged till the end. With excellent performences by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.
This movie just really captured my spirit in a way, very few movies and video games have ever captured me.
The only bad thing is, is that when I'm done, I realized I missed something on T.V. or two hours and 26 minutes of my life just passed by. But it's not really a bad thing cuz I wouldn't care what was on T.V. and That 2 hours and 26 minutes was spent wisely.
To those who watch movies should definitly check this out, because altho it didn't win best picture, this is something Titanic, A Beautiful Mind, and Chicago could never be. Out of all the movies I've ever seen, to me, this is the greatest movie ever made.
peace
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Classic Film from a Stephen King short story., June 25 2004
A Man by the name of Andy Dufrense (Oscar-Winner:Tim Robbins) by his mid-thirties, a intelligent banker is been unjustly convicted of murder of his ex-wife and her lover. Andy is sent to Maine's Shawshank State Prison for Life. A Lifer by the name of "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman), who knows the ropes in Prison. Andy's does earns Red's friendship and he brings hope & change for the Prison. Andy is full of surprises and he knows his way to save the best for last.
Written and Directed by Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Majestic) capture the trimuph of the human spirit as memorably in this instant classic. This film was never capture in theaters back in 1994. The movie did earn Seven Academy Awards nominations including:Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapated Screenplay, Best Music Score, Best Cinematography, Best Editing & Best Actor for Freeman. Robbins & Freeman brings a rich, moving performances in the film. This film did become a Cult Hit on Video and a Television Favorite. DVD has an sharp anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1) transfer and an clear-Ditigally Remastered-Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. DVD Extras are only a few:Theatrical Trailer, Still Gallery & Awards from the Film. Do not miss this dark wonderful film. Based on a Short Story by Stephen King-"Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption". Grade:A+.
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5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! Brilliant movie!, June 16 2004
By A Customer
This review is going to be quite short, as I don't have time to write a full review as I'd like to. As a fan of comedies such as American Pie and South Park, I have to say that I was suspicious when our college english class had to watch this movie. I didn't think it would be fun at all. However, when the movie was over, I wanted to see it again. Unlike many other movies like it (i.e., Titanic), it is not cliche; it is very original, and unpredictable (you never seem to suspect that Andy is going to escape). All characters are developed, and the plot and ending are very satisfying. The theme is not necessarily noticable from a mile off, which deals with having hope even in the most hopeless of situations (like being in a prison). The story draws you in from start to finish. Well done! (also, for those of you who are appalled that I mentioned Titanic in a less than perfect light, I'd like to say this openly: TITANIC SUCKED!! It was the epitome of cliche and predictibility; everything that happened you could see from a mile off, the characters were lame and SAPPY, as you can expect when Leonardo DeCaprio is in the cast, and the story was all over the place. Easily one of the worst 10 movies I've ever seen).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hope springs eternal..., June 11 2004
By 
Stephen King claims that this is the best film adaptation of one of his stories. Although my vote would be for The Shining (a film he hates) I see what he means. The novella, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, is one of King's "non-horror" works. As such, director Frank Darabont doesn't fall into the trap that almost all other filmmakers do when adapting King's work: ignore characterization for cheap thrills. One of the things that make Stephen King a great writer (and I mean this) is that his books are about PEOPLE. He makes us care about the characters, and then we are frightened when they are put in jeopardy. The movie, The Shawshank Redemption, succeeds because it is all about the characters - who they are, and the journey they take.
The story is about an innocent man (Tim Robbins) sentenced to life in prison - well, two life sentences, actually. He forms a friendship with a fellow-inmate named Red (Morgan Freeman) and uses his own natural resources to create a life for himself. The film does differ from the source material in several ways. Ironically, because of the shortness of King's story, more is put-in than taken-out. The ending is changed slightly, but it works for the screen. The message of the film (and the book) is that hope springs eternal. "Either get busy living or get busy dying." Considering the enduring popularity of the piece, it seems most people opt for the former.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Healing, Loving, Moving, Stunning, June 1 2004
By 
Fred McGhee "fredmcghee" (Austin, TX) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
What a movie. I have seen it dozens of times. I have the DVD. But even when it pops up on cable (like F/X), I cannot not watch it. This film has that truly exceptional touch of magic, that very few motion pictures have. An absolute gem of a film, that has taken its rightful place alongside classics, in my mind, such as Casablanca.
The performances--all of them--are magnificent. The cinematography is rich, life affirming, encompassing, and colorful. The screenplay is in parts positively sublime; Red's (Morgan Freeman) dialogue in the last five minutes of this film reduces me to tears and fills me with such a well of emotion that I have to go outside for a walk and hug the first stranger I meet. An absolute clinic in non-simplistic and direct screenwriting that keeps it simple and truthful. And the direction of this film is fantastic.
This is not just a truly great film, it is also a necessary one. The values it discusses and the emotions it conveys are in short supply in today's world: love, patience, perserverence, trust, loyalty, sensitivity, truth, and compassion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, wondrously told and acted, May 20 2004
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal/NorCal/Maui) - See all my reviews
At the heart of this extraordinary movie is a brilliant and indelible performance by Morgan Freeman as Red, the man who knows how to get things, the "only" guilty man at Shawshank prison. He was nominated by the Academy for Best Actor in 1995 but didn't win. (Tom Hanks won for Forrest Gump.) What Freeman does so beautifully is to slightly underplay the part so that the eternal boredom and cynicism of the lifer comes through, and yet we can see how very much alive with the warmth of life the man is despite his confinement. Someday Morgan Freeman is going to win an Academy Award and it will be in belated recognition for this performance, which I think was a little too subtle for some Academy members to fully appreciate at the time.
But Freeman is not alone. Tim Robbins plays the hero of the story, banker Andy Dufresne, who has been falsely convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. Robbins has a unique quality as an actor in that he lends ever so slightly a bemused irony to the characters he plays. It is as though part of him is amused at what he is doing. I believe this is the best performance of his career, but it might be compared with his work in The Player (1992), another excellent movie, and in Mystic River (2003) for which he won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.
It is said that every good story needs a villain, and in the Bible-quoting, Bible-thumping, massively hypocritical, sadistic Warden Samuel Norton, played perfectly by Bob Gunton, we have a doozy. I want to tell you that Norton is so evil that fundamentalist Christians actually hate this movie because of how precisely his vile character is revealed. They also hate the movie because of its depiction of violent, predatory homosexual behavior (which is the reason the movie is rated R). On the wall of his office (hiding his safe with its ill-gotten contents and duplicitous accounts) is a framed plaque of the words "His judgment cometh and that right soon." The irony of these words as they apply to the men in the prison and ultimately to the warden himself is just perfect. You will take delight, I promise.
Here is some other information about the movie that may interest you. As most people know, it was adapted from a novella by Stephen King entitled "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption." Rita Hayworth figures in the story because Red procures a poster of her for Andy that he pins up on the wall of his cell. The poster is a still from the film Gilda (1946) starring her and Glenn Ford. We see a clip from the black and white film as the prisoners watch, cheering and hollering when Rita Hayworth appears. If you haven't seen her, check out that old movie. She really is gorgeous and a forerunner of Marilyn Monroe, who next appears on Andy's wall in a still from The Seven Year Itch (1955). It's the famous shot of her in which her skirt is blown up to reveal her shapely legs. Following her on Andy's wall (and, by the way, these pinups figure prominently in the plot) is Rachel Welsh from One Million Years B.C. (1966). In a simple and effective device these pinups show us graphically how long Andy and Red have been pining away.
Frank Darabont's direction is full of similar devices that clearly and naturally tell the story. There is Brooks (James Whitmore) who gets out after fifty years but is so institutionalized that he can't cope with life on the outside and hangs himself. Playing off of this is Red's periodic appearance before the parole board where his parole is summarily REJECTED. Watch how this plays out at the end.
The cinematography by Roger Deakins is excellent. The editing superb: there's not a single dead spot in the whole movie. The difference between the good guys (Red, Andy, Brooks, etc.) and the bad guys (the warden, the guards, the "sisters," etc.) is perhaps too starkly drawn, and perhaps Andy is a bit too heroic and determined beyond what might be realistic, and perhaps the "redemption" is a bit too miraculous in how beautifully it works out. But never mind. We love it.
All in all this is a great story vividly told that will leave you with a true sense of redemption in your soul. It is not a chick flick, and that is an understatement. It is a male bonding movie about friendship and the strength of character, about going up against what is wrong and unfair and coming out on top through pure true grit and a little luck.
Bottom line: one of the best ever made, currently rated #2 (behind The Godfather) at the IMDb. Don't miss it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A TRIUMPH OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT!, May 18 2004
By 
Michael A. Torres (Tucson, Arizona United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Very few movies capture the triumph of the human spirit as memorably as The Shawshank Redemption. That is definetely a true statement! To tell you the truth, The Shawshank Redemption really moved me. It is a movie made to perfection (which more movies should be these days). Since there are so many reviews on this site, I won't go into details about the story, but rather express my love for this wonderful movie. Personally, I thing Morgan Freeman gives the best performance in this movie hands down! Tim Robbins was great too, but something about Morgan's performance really makes you understand and feel for him deeply. Frank Darabont (in his directorial debut) did a stunning job directing this film. I guess that I could go on and on about this movie but is seems useless since there are so many reviews on this site. But if anyone gets a chance to read this review (who hasn't seen the movie) please give it a chance! Hopefully you will feel the same way about it as I do. Simply a MASTERPIECE!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best movie of the 90s, April 25 2004
By 
One can never get tired of this movie. I have watched it multiple times and have always found something new in this movie that fascinates me. It has depth of character, hope, class, style of acting and screen play which transcends the ordinary. In my opinion, Morgan Freeman deserves the Oscar for this movie, though Tom Hanks did a good job in Forrest Gump. However, Forrest Gump does not have the following that this movie has. I was surprised that the AFI did not pick this as one of the 100 best movies.
Though the story line may appear predictable: innocent banker put in jail who escapes (has come in different ways in other movies), the way it is presented is wonderful. Special scenes that are breathtaking are the ones where Freeman's parole is accepted.
"Rehabilitated, well... I do not know what that word means. Are you asking me whether I am sorry for what I did. There is not a day that goes by when I am sorry for what I did. Not because I am here, or because you think that I am here, but because of the way I was, the stupid kid who committed the terrible crime. I want to talk to him, tell him the way things are. But that kid is long gone, this old man is all that is left. So you go ahead and stamp your forms sonny and stop wasting my time, because to tell you the truth, I dont give a damn."
His introspective style is also refreshing. The only caveat is the length of the movie and the violence. This is a worthwhile movie for anyone starting a collection.
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Shawshank Redemption (Bilingual) [Blu-ray]
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