28 Of The Most Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About 'The Shawshank Redemption'

'The Shawshank Redemption' wasn't overly hyped up at it's release, but has since gone on to be considered one of the greatest movies ever made.

Below are 28 of the absolute coolest facts. Check them out!


1/28) Andy and Red's opening chat in the prison yard, in which Red is pitching a baseball, took nine hours to shoot. Morgan Freeman pitched that baseball for the entire nine hours without a word of complaint. He showed up for work the next day with his arm in a sling. Morgan Freeman's favorite film of his own.

2/28) For the sewage tunnel sequence, Tim Robbins initially refused to immerse himself in the muddy water at the end of the pipe after a chemist tested the water and dubbed it lethal.

3/28) Although it is never directly stated in the film, Brooks, the old librarian, is in prison for allegedly murdering his wife and daughter after a losing streak at poker.

4/28) The crow was very difficult to film with. When Andy goes to the library to begin work as Brooks' assistant and Brooks' crow, Jake, is squawking, Tim Robbins had to time his line, "Hey, Jake. Where's Brooks?" so that the crow wouldn't squawk over him, since the bird could not be trained to squawk on cue. Robbins was able to adapt to this and time his line perfectly by learning the bird's squawking patterns, for which director Frank Darabont praised him.

You can see that Robbins' improvisation is noticeable as he watches the bird carefully while approaching it, waiting for it to squawk, and doesn't begin his line until after it does so.

5/28) Although it lost money in the theatres, it became one of the highest grossing movie rentals ever.

6/28) Clancy Brown, who plays Captain Hadley in the movie, said that he received several offers from real-life corrections officers to work with him to make his portrayal of Captain Hadley more realistic.

He turned them all down because he said that Hadley was an evil character and he didn't want to misrepresent real corrections officers.


Click on the next page for even crazier facts!

7/28) In the movie, Red says "I committed murder" when asked why he's in Shawshank, but the movie doesn't further elaborate on this.

In the novella, it explains that Red is serving three life sentences for murdering his wife, his neighbor's wife and his neighbor's son. Red disconnected the brakes on his car in order to kill his wife to collect on an insurance policy; he did not plan on two other people being in the car at the time.

8/28) Tom Hanks was offered the lead role of Andy Dufresne, but had to turn it down for his Oscar-winning role in Forrest Gump. Years later, Hanks would collaborate with director Frank Darabont on another Stephen King adaptation, The Green Mile.

9/28) Frank Darabont preferred to end the film with Red searching for Andy. His ideal ending would have been Red on the bus heading for the field. Darabont wanted to end on an open, ambiguous note, but Castle Rock insisted on a reunion between the two to please audiences with a 'happy ending'.

10/28) The prison that played Shawshank, the Ohio State Reformatory, was scheduled to be demolished, but it now serves as a museum.

Some of the set pieces from the movie, like the Warden's office and the tunnel that Andy crawls out of, are still intact.

11/28) In the funniest case of foreshadowing, Red refers to Andy's aspiration to live a free life in Mexico as a 'sh*tty pipe dream'.

Later on, Andy achieves his dream by crawling through the sewer pipe of the prison: a sh*tty pipe


Wow. Keep going for more Shawshank!

12/28) The Shawshank Redemption inspired the events of a real prison escape: in 2007, two inmates of Union County Prison escaped from their prison using similar techniques to those featured in the movie. They escaped the prison successfully, but were recaptured later on.

13/28) There are only two women who speak in the entire movie: the lady who berates Brooks' service at the grocery store, and the bank clerk when Andy escapes Shawshank.

14/28) Director Frank Darabont got a lot of inspiration for the movie from watching Goodfellas, including voice-over narration and showing the passage of time.

15/28) Rob Reiner loved the script for the movie so much that he offered Darabont 2.5 million dollars for it. Reiner was going to direct it with Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise in the lead roles.

Darabont eventually turned it down, saying it was his chance to do something really great.

16/28) When the movie was first released, it didn't even earn enough at the box office to recoup the costs of production.

17/28) The America Human Society was very strict on the scenes involving Brook's crow. During the scene where he fed it a maggot, the AHA objected on the grounds that it was cruel to the maggot, and required that they use a maggot that had died from natural causes. One was found, and the scene was filmed.


Keep going, they get even better!

18/28) Several close-ups of Andy's hands were not actually Tim Robbins. In the closeup of Andy's hands loading the revolver in the opening scenes, the hands are actually those of Frank Darabont. Later in the film, while Andy carves his name into his cell wall, Darabont's hands are used again for the insert shot. These closeups were filmed during post production, notably because Darabont felt that only he could do exactly what he wanted in the closeups.

19/28) The rock wall where Red's "treasure" is buried was built specifically for the film and stood for many years. It was built by hand by the art department months before filming began. This allowed for the alfalfa grass to grow to make it look weathered.

Eventually, the wall was taken apart and sold on eBay, one rock at a time, by the farmer who owned the land it stood on. The tree at the end of the wall stood until it was slashed in two by lightning in 2011. A portion of its remains now stands, propped up, by the pond on the grounds of the Ohio State Reformatory.

20/28) When the warden flips through Andy's Bible after his escape, he finds the cut out space where Andy's digging tool was hidden starting in the book of Exodus. Exodus means 'to escape'.

21/28) Red says that Andy escaped from Shawshank in 1966, which was the same year it was decided that a defendant must be informed of their rights when arrested (the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, etc).

This is why when Captain Hadley is arrested at the end of the movie, the officer read him his rights from a piece of paper.

22/28) Unlike most movies, the voice-over narration was recorded first, and then played on set to give the rhythm of each scene.

Morgan Freeman recorded all the voice-overs in just 40 minutes, but there was a minor hiss sound which the sound crew were unable to fix, so they had to re-record it; it took three weeks the second time.


That's crazy. Keep going for even more!

23/28) Frank Darabont has decided to never release the deleted scenes from the movie, as he finds them embarrassing and doesn't want them to be seen.

24/28) It was Tim Robbins' idea to have Andy Dufresne turn up the volume of the record player in the scene where he plays the Opera over the PA.

25/28) The original title of the novella is 'Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption', but they opted to just go with 'The Shawshank Redemption' because they didn't want audiences to think it would be a Rita Hayworth biopic.

Frank Darabont even got audition requests from several actresses about playing the lead in the 'biopic'.

26/28) The mugshots of a young-looking Morgan Freeman that are attached to his parole papers are actually pictures of Morgan's younger son, Alfonso Freeman.

Alfonso also had a cameo in the movie as a con shouting, "Fresh fish! Fresh fish today! We're reeling 'em in!"

27/28) In the original novella, Red is a middle-aged Irishman with graying red hair. However, Frank Darabont always had Morgan Freeman in mind for the role because of his authoritative presence, demeanor and deep voice.

Darabont alluded to the casting choice by having Red jokingly reply to Andy's inquiry about his nickname with the line, "Maybe it's because I'm Irish."

28/28) While Mansfield locals were eager to be extras, many weren't available during the day due to their jobs or were only available for one day, which obviously would not work in a prison film. So, extras were found at a halfway house, some of them real-life ex-cons.

Sourced to IMDb.


Click below and share these with your friends!

Patcharin Saenlakon / EyeEm / Getty Images

Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.

Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.

Keep reading... Show less