92 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2010
This review is for the Blu-ray. It's hard to say anything about this film that hasn't been said before. A gripping tale of humanity, hope and ultimately redemption in the most unlikely of circumstances. Well into my top dozen or so films- I must admit to being a sucker for happy endings! Suffice to say that if you haven't seen it then you need to. Morgan Freeman was absolutely amazing, in both his acting and his voiceover.
The Bluray comes packaged in a narrow bluray case, which doesn't bother me. In fact I could maybe be doing with more of them to save shelf space. For the record my one was sealed. Picture Quality was extremely good and certainly added to my enjoyment of the film. There was a little grain, but the picture was very clean, and if anything the grain added to the realism in many of the prison scenes. Colours were very good, with a lot of blues and dark scenes that worked very well. Watch out for a scene towards the end with Andy standing in the rain. HD definitely brought something new to what was already a great film,and definitely added to my enjoyment of it. Ratio is 1.78:1 so it fills the screen on a widescreen TV, without stretching the picture.
Sound is much more limited, in the UK version, with Dolby digital 5.1 being the top offering. I understand the US version has a True HD soundtrack, so if that is important to you then you might consider looking for an import on Amazon.
All-in-all it was a great viewing experience though, that held my family spellbound for its whole length of over two hours. Definitely 5 stars in my book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2014
This is one of Sarah Sutton's (Nyssa in 'Doctor Who') favourite films!
'The Shawshank Redemption' was a film recommended to me by who I dedicate this review to. This is a prison film starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. I've now seen this film twice in 2014 and I agree it's one of the best films ever made in the 1990s. It comes highly recommended in my opinion.
NB. This is a 15-rated film, as it's suitable for persons of 15 years and over. It contains adult themes; a few sex references; brutal violence and strong language.
I'm glad I've been able to see this film. I must admit it took me a while to get round to watching it. This was because I was reluctant of the subject matter depicting the harsh realities of prison life. It is pretty brutal in places, especially at the beginning when Andy Dufresne gets locked away into prison.
But after discussing with friends at work and home about the film, I eventually got round to watching it. I certainly enjoyed watching this film as I found it deeply moving and its messages of hope, freedom, salvation and the human spirit resonate in this. So what's the movie about then?
The film is about a young banker called Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who gets wrongly accused for the murders of his wife and lover. Found guilty, Andy is sentenced for life and is locked at maximum security Shawshank State Prison. In prison, Andy has to overcome his fears and find a reason to live.
Andy makes friends with Red (Morgan Freeman), one of the inmates at the prison as well as finding favour with the warden and prison guards. But his growing acceptance of prison life hides his determination to be free. Andy spends 19 years of his life in prison. Will he find a way to escape?
This film is based on the short novella story by author Stephen King originally called 'Rita Haywood and the Shawshank Redemption'. I'm not an expert on Stephen King and watching this film has opened my eyes to knowing him and how his story is interpreted by writer/director Frank Darabont.
As I watched this film, I wondered where it was going to go and how the story would get resolved. There were moments where I thought the film wasn't going anywhere and it was going to be depressing all the way through. But there's a clever plot twist at the film's end that I did not expect.
I know how silly this sounds, but after watching this film I was struck by how Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman looked so young. I'd seen both these actors before in other films, and it never occurred to me that they would look so young in this. Of course this film is one of their earlier works.
Tim Robbins stars as Andy Dufresne. I've seen Tim Robbins before in 'War Of The Worlds' with Tom Cruise. I found it interesting to watch Tim in one of his earlier films and it's amazing to think how far he's come since doing that film as he's become a very talented actor, screenwriter, director, etc.
Andy goes through the hardship of his first two years in prison and manages to form a real friendship with Red. I really like how the friendship between Andy and Red develops and you really hope Andy will get out of prison at the end of the film. Andy keeps looking for hope and finds a reason to live.
Morgan Freeman also stars as Red. He's a very well-known actor these days, as he has recently been in the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale 'Batman' films 'The Dark Knight Trilogy'. It's surprising to find that this is one of his earliest films and he was nominated an Academy Award for Best Actor in this.
Red has been in prison long before Andy. He's an African-American male who narrates the story. Red is like a 'prison-spiv' as he gets anything from cigarettes to chocolates. Red is convicted of murder and doesn't see the 'hope' that Andy sees. But Red forms a friendship with Andy that is very moving.
The guest cast also includes Bob Gunton as Warden Samuel Norton in charge of Shawshank prison. He believes in two things - discipline and the Bible. He finds favour with Andy during the course of the film. There's a shocking twist to Norton, as his devout Christian manner isn't as it appears to be.
There's also William Sadler as Heywood. Heywood is an in-mate at Shawshank Prison and is one of Red's gang. Although seeming like a bully at first, he does come across as a likeable character later on in the film. He comes to like Andy as well and supports to help Andy whenever he's in trouble.
There's also Clancy Brown as Captain Byron Hadley, chief of the prison guards. Hadley is somebody you'd really want to hate as he's a sadistic and brutal captain of the guards and likes to beat the in-mates up; treat them unfairly and keeping them in line. I'm sure Clancy Brown is a nice person really.
There's also James Whitmore as Brooks, an elderly in-mate at Shawshank Prison. Brooks has been in prison all his life and is the prison librarian who Andy gets to work with in the prison. He soon serves his time and is let out of prison. There's a very upsetting scene on how he copes outside of prison.
There's also Gil Bellows as Tommy Williams, a young man who gets convicted of a crime and is sent to Shawshank Prison in the 1950s when Andy and Red meet him. Tommy may know something about the truth of Andy's innocence and the murder crime he didn't commit. Will he live to tell it?
There's also Mark Rolston as Bogs, the leader of 'The Sisters' group who bully and beat up Andy before he in turn gets beaten by Captain Hadley. He is soon sent off to another prison afterwards.
The prison setting is very gothic and atmospheric. It's pretty bleak, unsettling and depressing when Andy first comes to Shawshank and you really feel for him when he's struggling to cope with adapting to prison life at first. The film's lighting for the setting is very impressive when watching it.
The DVD special features are as follows. There's a making-of documentary called 'The Redeeming Feature' with cast and crew interviews including Tim Robbins; Morgan Freeman; director/writer Frank Darabont; etc. There are also interviews with former in-mates and members of the Church.
There are also more cast interviews with Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman made in 1993/4 to promote the film's release and there is also a theatrical trailer of 'The Shawshank Redemption'.
I'm grateful to Sarah Sutton who I dedicate this to for recommending 'The Shawshank Redemption' to me. I'm surprised this film didn't become a big success when it came out in the cinemas. 'The Shawshank Redemption' is a deeply moving film filled with messages of hope in the face of despair.
It's a pretty uplifting film about salvation in various forms and it took me by surprise on how the film would be resolved. The plot's twist is very clever and I like Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman's performances as Andy and Red. I highly recommend this film! You won't be disappointed with this!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2000
This is easily the best of the Steven King based films, even surpassing "The Green Mile", "The Shining" and "Carrie". That alone is merit enough to buy this brilliant film. The cast is topped by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, two of the best actors of their generations. This story revolves around Andy Dufresne (Robbins) and his wrongful conviction of murder and the following ordeal behind the walls of Shawshank Prison. This is a powerful emotionally charged piece of cinematic history and well deserves a place in any video collection.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2014
This is a film that is heavy on character and dialogue and delivers on both.
The performances by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are outstanding, as are each of the supporting actors. This film was adapted from a short story, 'Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption,' written by Stephen King. Perhaps it is because it's adapted from a short story as to why this works so well as there are only minor changes and nothing essential is left out, leaving the film makers with the ability to strengthen and stretch out the main focus, which is the bond created by the two main characters.
In my personal opinion I would say this film is one of the most successful book to script adaptations in film history.
The direction is brilliant in the way it is almost not noticeable as it relies on the actors and their interactions with each other to keep the audience interested. Cinematography is worth a mention also as each shot is captured beautifully. In summary, Shawshank is a must see and a well deserved film classic.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2001
The Shawshank Redemption was originally a book written by Stephen King and like many other King books it was given the film treatment in 1994. The film depicts the prison term of "Andy" a well-to-do banker who was jailed for the murder of his wife and her Lover. Soon though Andy finds that in Shawshank "everybody is innocent". Andy also learns that life in a 1940's prison is brutal where inmates are accustomed to ritual beatings and homosexual gangs. Red is the main dealer in the prison and can get anything from the outside for money or even cigarettes. At first he sees Andy as a guy who won't be able to last long in prison but soon he learns that Andy is more than he seems.
Patience is the main theme to this film and shows how much is needed for anyone doing a long stretch in prison. But the film also shows how one man can get what he really wants and how after prisoners hove been released they are actually institutionalised and cannot live as normal civilians again. This film is a favourite everywhere especially with movie buffs and rightly it was nominated for 7 Acadamy Awards including best picture, actor and Screenplay.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2001
Frank Darabonts suberb prison drama adapted from a Stephen King story gets everything right. The story will keep you hooked right from the start with great moments of tension and a great twist at the end. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman both give their best preformances ever. I defy anyone not to feel good after this film.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
After being convicted of killing his wife and her lover 'Andy Dufresne' (Tim Robbins) is given two life sentences
and sent to 'Shawshank Prison' to serve his term.
He soon realizes that the prison is a brutal regime, step out of line a vicious beating from the prison guards
awaits....the prison warden 'Norton' (Bob Gunton) is a disciplinarian and great believer in the word of the Lord,
though he certainly does not practice what he preaches.
In time both the guards and indeed the prison warden will realize the educated 'Andy' will prove useful.......
'Andy's' story is told by 'Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding' (Morgan Freeman) who had already served 20 years with little
hope of release, turned down by the parole board time after time.
'Red' is the man one turns to if there is something you want, he can get most things, 'Rita Hayworth' -well no,
but a picture perhaps.
'Andy'finds blending in difficult and at first is targeted by other prisoners taking several beatings...
During the first month in prison 'Andy' barely spoke to anyone, the first, 'Red' who he approaches to get him a
tool, from the outset without anyone catching on 'Andy' has just one thing on his mind - escape.
A great friendship between 'Andy' and 'Red' blossoms down the years, one that's destined to stand the test of time.
This is a gripping, sometimes heart-warming sometimes-moving sometimes-amusing sometimes-brutal and totally
absorbing, the film draws you in from the outset.
Many superb performances throughout.
One of those films that qualify's as an out and out CLASSIC
(long time since last watching the film, certainly worthy of a re-visit now and again)
Features - Packed with over 4 hours of amazing extras including commentary by Frank Darabont, cast interviews
and much more...
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The Shawshank Redemption is one of my all time favourite films. Based on a Stephen King short story, it follows the story of one man who is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. The film follows him through the many years he spends in prison and the people he meets.
A heart-warming story with a fantastic ending. A film everyone should watch at least once
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2001
The Shawshank Redemption is simply one of the best films ever made.It has everything-good plot,superb acting,perfect casting and a great ending.The film is never dull and keeps you riveted throughout-Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are superb!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2003
The Acting is faultless, the storyline is so well directed, you become captivated by this truly brilliant masterpiece. A good Hollywood film, with a tangible narrative, impressive acting, and finds its origins in a Stephen king novel is challenging to come across, however The Shawshank redemption indisputably wins the challenge. Once the film has began, you become totally involved emotionally and mentally to this work of genius. At times the film is so extraordinary shocking it takes your breathe away. The film deals with disdainful, corrupt, cruel prison offices and closeness and love of friendship. Although its over 2 hours long, you just cant move away from the Television screen, as if you have been super glued to youe seat regardless of what is going on around you. Shawshank is so well written, that only towards the end of the film do you fully understand it...
I am not going to give a review of the film in fear of spoiling it for you... just buy it