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THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994)

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The platonic love between two men is the center of this highly original take on the prison picture. Banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) arrives at Shawshank Prison in Maine after being wrongly convicted of murder. There, he forges a close friendship with lifer Red Redding (Morgan Freeman), a relationship that sustains them through two decades of violence and prison corruption. Writer-director Frank Darabont had begun his career with a short film based on Stephen King’s story of “The Woman in the Room.” He managed to sell his adaptation of King’s Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption to Castle Rock Entertainment, where he shot it under Rob Reiner’s mentorship. Despite strong test screenings, the film did not do well at the box office initially, even after it received seven Oscar nominations. But then it took off in ancillary markets, becoming the most rented film of 1995 and a big ratings winner on cable television. It is now regarded as a classic, one of the most uplifting movies ever made and among the best films of its decade. The Ohio prison at which it was shot has become a popular tourist attraction, while people from Sarah Ferguson to Nelson Mandela have cited it as a source of inspiration. King ranks it with Stand by Me (1986) as his favorite film adaptation of his work. (d. Frank Darabont, 142m, DCP)

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