Today I talk about one of my favorite movies and for a long time it was IMDB’s number one rated movie of all time.
(If you prefer audio, you can listen to this episode on the Smarter Artist Podcast)
That’s The Shawshank Redemption.
This movie is amazing. I love it.
It’s actually not my favorite movie of all time and I don’t think it’s the best ever, but I do think it’s a movie that is absolutely worth watching multiple times.
It’s got great performances, great writing, great direction.
The story comes from Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, which is one of my favorite Stephen King stories, along with The Body, which became Stand By Me. They’re both in Different Seasons.
Frank Darabond, who brought Walking Dead to AMC and he also ruined Stephen King’s other short story, The Mist, with a really downer of an adaptation. And he did The Green Mile.
But with Shawshank, he got everything right.
It’s a really, really excellent movie.
I love the different time period. It kind of makes it timeless.
But there’s so much more there.
The movie is about the human experience and that’s what makes it so amazing. It’s about life-long friendships. You’ve got Red and Andy. The human spirit, where there’s a will there’s a way.
Andy Dufresne, the main character played by Tim Robbins, tunnels his way out with a rock hammer, like a tiny little rock hammer.
It’s just kind of amazing to even contemplate it.
He’s just there for decades and he uses that time to escape.
It’s also about how life isn’t always fair.
Andy is innocent and he does do time for a crime he didn’t do.
But corruption is a fact of life and this movie does not flinch from that.
On that note, it’s about taking the moral ground.
The whole time you see him, Andy doesn’t complain. He doesn’t complain about the abuse. He doesn’t complain about his lot in life.
He just demonstrates a tremendous strength of character and he knows that he has to wait it out.
His persistence and his perseverance: it takes 20 years for Andy to escape.
Writing one letter a week for six years got him funding for prison library.
This is a man who is willing to be patient and wait.
He’s also somebody who thinks outside the box to solve his problem.
He’s somebody who’s okay helping others. And even if he helped the warden with his taxes, just to feel normal, as Red said, he still did it.
He was always respectful because he knew that that would earn him respect.
He calls Red, sir and Mr. which is kind. I don’t think a lot of people were doing that to Red so Andy was immediately different.
It’s also about what goes around comes around, because truly there is a magical friendship between Red and Andy, but there’s also a relationship of respect between the warden and Andy that wouldn’t exist if Andy didn’t put that out there in the way that he did.
Because it could have been much, much worse, and it wasn’t.
So, if you like Stephen King, if you like excellent movies, if you like stories about the human condition, I cannot recommend Shawshank Redemption any more than I am. I love this movie.
I’m really excited to watch it, probably this winter break with my children, who have never seen it. It’s rated R but I think it’s about time.
So, good luck. I hope you watch Shawshank and I hope you use it to make your own stories more powerful, and more resonant .
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