THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994) C widescreen 142m dir: Frank Darabont
w/Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, Mark Rolston, James Whitmore, Jeffrey DeMunn, Larry Brandenburg
From Variety's contemporary review of the film: "There's a painstaking exactness to The Shawshank Redemption that is both laudable and exhausting. The 19 years that the film's protagonist spends behind prison walls is a term shared by the audience. It's vivid, grueling and painful, and passes with the appropriate tedium and sudden bursts of horror that one imagines reflect the true nature of incarceration.
"The saga begins in 1947, when bank vice president Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) goes on trial for the murder of his wife and her lover. Circumstantial evidence proves enough to land him in Shawshank Prison with two concurrent life sentences.
"While it's unquestionably Andy's story, the chronicle is related in voice over by 'Red' (Morgan Freeman), a lifer who's set himself up as someone who can get 'things' from the outside. He marvels at the new man's tenacity, knowing intrinsically that Andy is different and that he likes him, quirks and all.
"Soon Andy is put to work in all manner of financial activity. He is Warden Norton's (Bob Gunton) crown jewel and the source of both an enhanced public image for the man and a quietly acquired personal fortune. But the warden cannot afford to have Andy paroled. The man knows too much, and he is too valuable an asset.
"Writer/director Frank Darabont adapts his source material [Stephen King's short novel] with sly acuity. It's a fiendishly clever construct in which seemingly oblique words or incidents prove to have fierce resonance. Central to the film's success is a riveting, unfussy performance from Robbins. Freeman has the showier role, allowing him a grace and dignity that come naturally."
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION was nominated for seven Oscars: Best Picture, Actor (Freeman), Adapted Screenplay (Darabont), Cinematography (Roger Deakins), Editing (Richard Francis-Bruce), Original Score (Thomas Newman), and Sound (Robert J. Litt, Elliot Tyson, Michael Herbick, Willie Burton).