Box art for The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption

drama


Academy Award-winner Tim Robbins ("Mystic River," "The Hudsucker Proxy") stars in this Oscar-nominated drama about a banker who is wrongly convicted of the murder of his wife and her lover.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    90%
  • Audience Score
    98%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Language
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Sex
3 out of 5
Violence
5 out of 5

Gritty but comforting story of friendship.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is rated R for a reason: The gritty world of Shawshank Prison is populated with sadistic guards, a corrupt warden, and predatory fellow inmates. Two characters have sex (their clothes are on, and it's not graphic), one loveable character hangs himself, guards shoot an inmate and frame it as an escape attempt, inmates attempt and, we are told, succeed in raping Andy, and guards beat and kill an inmate in the opening scenes. But the film also shows inmates forming a loving community of friendship and support despite oppressive conditions.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the ways oppressed people have kept their spirit historically -- for example, through spirituals created by slaves. How do Andy and Red handle prison differently? How would you handle such a bleak future? Why did Brooks feel more comfortable in prison than out of prison? Why did Andy get Red a harmonica? What did that represent? Why did Red and Andy disagree on whether they should have hope for a better life? Did their class and race affect their approach?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: ...a throwback to the kind of serious, literate drama Hollywood used to make.

- Derek Adams, Time Out, Saturday, June 24, 2006

Rotten: It wanders down subplots at every opportunity and ignores an abundance of narrative exit points before settling on the aforementioned finale.

- Desson Thomson, Washington Post, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Fresh: Simply marvelous entertainment.

- Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune, Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Audience Reviews

5 stars

This movie was amazing. I knew it would be good but I didnt think it would be this good.It was just simply amazing. Just a masterpiece. I highly recommend you see this movie if you havent already. Its got an amazing story and the acting is also great. Theres nothing about this movie that I dont love. One of the greatest movie ever made. Grade: A

- bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb1, Saturday, October 9, 2010

5 stars

This is an excellent film. The acting is amazing and the story is full of drama. This is one of the best films I have ever seen. Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins deliver strong performances, I highly recommend this film. The first time I watched this film I was literally speechless. I couldn't believe the power the film had. What's so great about the film is it's simplicity. The fact that they were able to pull off something so grand with such a simple story of two men finding redemption by common acts of kindness is superb. The Shawshank Redemption is one of the greatest and most inspirational films ever made. Every time I need uplifting, I watch this film, and I always feel better. The cast that Frank Darabont has assembled here is incredible. The films follows prisoner Andy Dufresne as he is incarcerated in Shawshank Penitentiary. What follows is Dufresne steadily becoming friends with other imates, most notably Boy "Red" Redding. The two men slowly build a strong friendship. Over the course of the film both men find redemption and become better people as Andy Dufresne gives much needed hope to Red. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman both deliver moving performances. The Shawshank Redemption is a special film with a strong message. This is what stuck with me. Anyone looking for something positive can find it watching The Shawshank Redemption. This is a masterwork of cinema, one may feel inclined not to watch it because of the simplistic storyline, but Frank Darabont manages to create something grand on screen, something that we all can relate to. This is definitely one of the greatest films ever made.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Wednesday, September 22, 2010

5 stars

Few who have seen this film can deny its excellence. This is film at its very best. Absolutely, positively, one of the very best films ever made. I can't recommend it highly enough. Yes, it is *that* good.

- rjayhutchinson, Friday, July 30, 2010