The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 drama directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. The film was based on a Steven King novella entitled Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. The film had a lackluster performance at the box office and barely made back the $25 million that it cost. The box office performance did not keep the film from becoming a critical success and it went on to be nominated for seven academy awards. Perhaps the biggest testament to the film has been its longevity as it has remained a staple of cable television in the decades since its theatrical run. The film has been featured on a number of AFI and BBC “Best of” lists. So does this film about the triumph of the human spirit deserve to be counted among the best and wear the label classic?
Should this film be considered a classic? I will say this up front. This is a film that is hard not to like. Everything from the casting, to the acting, to the script, to the sets, to the music fit together perfectly. Not only that, but the pacing of the film is perfect and even after multiple viewings it is hard to pull away from the screen. Robbins and Freeman both put in great performances but it is the stellar supporting cast that really make the film shine for me. That said, I don’t think this is one of the 100 movies you need to see before you die. Is it a great modern film? Yes, I just don’t think it is quite at the “classic” level.
Would I own this film? No, I wouldn’t own it. Despite loving most everything about the film, the language is too much for me to have it in my personal collection. For my personal tastes, I would rather watch the film on cable with some of the vulgarities edited out. It really is a pity because I enjoy this film every time I watch it.