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Overall Rating
4.63

Awesome81.66%
Worth A Look: 10.02%
Average: 2.56%
Pretty Bad: 1.49%
Total Crap: 4.26%

5 reviews, 439 user ratings


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Shawshank Redemption, The
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by Andrew Howe

"Some birds were never meant to be caged"
5 stars

For most of us the future stretches as far as the eye can see, peppered with kaleidoscopic visions which provide us, in our lowest moments, with a reason to believe. So it is that we draw our plans, visualise our dreams, and ignore the bitter voice that dwells in the darkest reaches of our subconscious. Itís a melancholy melody, and the song it sings reminds us that it could all come crashing down like the proverbial house of cards, in no more time than it takes to pull a trigger, fumble the keys into the ignition, or watch a State Trooper walk the distance from the front gate to your door.

Stephen King knows the truth of it, and in 1982 he put it down on paper in a novella entitled Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. It was (and still is) one of his few mainstream efforts, bereft of supernatural occurrences and graphic murders. Itís a deceptively simple tale of friendship, injustice and the indomitable human spirit, and King plays with our fears of living out our lives within four high walls like a master puppeteer, leaving us no choice but to become entwined in the fate of his protagonists.

In 1987 a filmmaker by the name of Frank Darabont wrote to King and requested an option over the novella. King agreed, having been impressed by Darabontís 1983 adaptation of his short story The Woman in the Room, and seven years later The Shawshank Redemption was released to an audience that, having been burned by countless B-grade King adaptations, was entitled to expect the worst.

I know a great many people of varying tastes, and to this day there is exactly one film about which not one person has expressed a negative reaction, and with good reason. The Shawshank Redemption is a film about incarceration which transcends the genre, the combination of Kingís imagination, Darabontís flair for adaptation and a cadre of fine actors scything through the boundaries of age, class and philosophical inclination, leaving us with a near-perfect creation which proves that entertainment and depth donít have to be mutually exclusive.

The film concerns itself with a twenty-year friendship between Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a banker sentenced to life for the murder of his wife and her lover, and Ellis ďRedĒ Redding (Morgan Freeman), a con who has already been imprisoned for two decades when Dufresne arrives on the scene in 1947. The script charts Andyís attempts to build a new life on the inside, his refusal to lose faith contrasting with Reddingís weary resignation, and works its way to a bittersweet finale which proves that even Pyrrhic victories can be a source of satisfaction.

With this film (and later with The Green Mile) Darabont proved himself a master of the art of adaptation. I have long held that undue interference with the source work is a crime punishable by death, but there are times when liberties must be taken to improve its translation to a visual medium. Darabont takes those liberties and then some, changing characters (Redding was a white Irishman in the novella), scenes (the ending is extended past Kingís inconclusive finale) and dialogue (many of the best lines in the film are Darabontís), and in so doing polishes one of the jewels in Kingís crown until it shines. For this he is deserving of our highest praise, and every hack working the circuit today should look to him for inspiration, for with one monumental effort he proved that, provided you stay true to the spirit of the source, even the work of a master can be improved by the attentions of a talented screenwriter.

It would have all been for nothing, however, without the universally exceptional efforts of the cast. Whoever was responsible for recruiting the major players exhibited a great deal of faith, not the least in handing one of the lead roles to Robbins, who at the time had few high-profile performances to his name. Robbins is an unusual actor, for he seems at first glance to possess little screen presence or charisma, but he has a talent for getting under the viewerís skin which makes him the man of choice for certain roles. With Shawshank he found his Everest, and the result is one of the most note-perfect performances youíre ever likely to see.

Dufresne is not an immediately likeable character Ė he can seem a little detached, a perception which is enhanced by Robbinsí trademark self-assurance. He is, however, an immediately identifiable character, for his initial foray into prison life effectively recreates the experience you or I would be likely to endure. I couldnít beat off a trio of rapists or develop an instant rapport with my fellow convicts, and neither can Dufresne, so to anyone who has never wielded a lead-weighted pool cue in anger he assumes the guise of a kindred spirit. The result is a character who personifies our fear of being consigned to a ten-foot cell, alone with our fears and memories of happier times, left with nothing, as Red puts it, but ďall the time in the world to think about itĒ. It is this identification which lies at the core of the filmís success, and it is Robbinsí moving, measured performance that makes it work.

For an actor who didnít hit the big time until he was over 50, Morgan Freeman has stamped his authority on a surprisingly large number of films. Lean on Me, Glory, Driving Miss Daisy Ė none one of these would have been conceivable without his presence, and whenever the script calls for an elder statesman itís a sure bet that heís never far from the mind of the casting director. The sheer charisma of the man is all-but overpowering, an image heightened by Darabontís decision to utilise voiceovers to advance the narrative. These exquisitely-crafted monologues represent, along with Goodfellas, possibly the most memorable use of the technique in recent memory, and Freemanís grave, authoritative delivery is a wonder to behold. Barely ten minutes of screen time passes without comment, and itís a testament to his (and Darabontís) talents that it never becomes intrusive, but rather infuses the on-screen action with an even greater power than it would otherwise possess.

Special mention must also go to Freemanís ability to believably depict the effects of the passage of time. Red starts out as a reasonably-lively individual, but by the filmís conclusion is a man who has reached the tail-end of a long and trying life, and Freeman infuses him with a weariness which is almost tangible. Add to this his gloriously personable performance (especially in the first half) and a dedication to his character which defies any attempt to assert that heís merely playing a role, and youíve got an effort which, in a just world, would have seen him ascend the podium at the 1995 Academy Awards.

Elsewhere thereís much to like Ė the underused Bob Gunton is a delight as the corrupt warden, James Whitmore is almost painful to watch as the ancient Brooks (and that is intended as a compliment), and William Sadler (Heyward), Brian Libby (Floyd), Gil Bellows (Tommy) and Mark Rolston (Bogs) deserve statues in the bit-part hall of fame. However, the laurel wreath goes to Clancy Brown, who turns in an astonishing performance as Byron Hadley, a.k.a. the hardest screw ever to walk a turn at Shawshank State Prison. Brownís chiselled features, stone-cold expression and bass-laden voice ensure Hadley takes his rightful place as one of the most menacing hard-asses ever to storm his way across the silver screen, and he gets to deliver some of the most memorable tsunamis of profanity this side of Full Metal Jacket into the bargain (in one of lifeís little quirks, he reprised his role as a prison guard in The Hurricane, and proved that he's equally capable of portraying compassion. Strange days indeed.)

Despite the filmís extended running time (140 minutes), the scriptís pacing ensures it rarely flags. Thereís always something of interest going on, be it poignant, emotional exchanges between the characters, moments of hard-hitting (but never gratuitous) violence, or absorbing sequences backed by Redís narration. The film also contains some of the most memorable movie moments youíre ever likely to witness - Andyís rooftop showdown with Hadley, his impromptu operatic broadcast, Redís final parole hearing, the entire fifteen-minute climax (which actually comes a good ten minutes before the end of the film) Ė rarely has a single film presented such an array of riches for our viewing pleasure, and subsequent viewings only enhance its impact.

The film is, on occasion, a somewhat-depressing exercise: it is infused with the weight of wasted years, reminding us that we are granted but one life, and that to live that life in vain is a cause for sorrow which defies consolation. There is a difference between living and simply existing, a difference many of the inmates eventually lose sight of, and it may just get you thinking about your life, and the fact that not all walls can be seen with the naked eye.

Its dark undertones notwithstanding, the film is ultimately life-affirming, and not simply because of its soaring climax. Andy is a paragon of understated heroism, for he refuses to allow his sense of self-worth to join his freedom in the realms of distant memory. He may have lost everything he held dear, but he knows that life does not end until the day you draw your terminal breath, so he narrows his focus and takes refuge in his dreams of a better tomorrow. His existence reminds us of how much there is to lose, but also how much there is to gain, and is a source of solace for anyone who has ever felt their life begin to slip through their hands.

The script also makes an interesting point about human nature, in that the inmates are, by and large, reasonably likeable individuals. We never discover the exact nature of their crimes, for we are asked to judge them as they are, not for what they may have done. Good people sometimes do bad things, the film tells us, and all it takes is a single drunken argument which leaves a man dead to tarnish an entire life. Some may suggest that this approach denies the victims their due, but to dwell overlong on such an issue would have undermined the filmís central concerns. In any event, each of us is capable of deeds both admirable and reprehensible, and the scriptís approach to its characters is a thought-provoking recognition of our inherent duality.

As director Darabont is reasonably unobtrusive, which is just as well since his restrained approach suits the filmís subject matter (itís worth noting that the one scene in which he really lets loose, being an aerial shot of the prison towards the beginning of the film, is credited by Darabont to production designer Terence Marsh). Despite the absence of vibrant colours (it is set in a prison, after all) the film is still pleasing to the eye, largely due to the admirable lighting (both natural and artificial), and the memorable score is the perfect companion to the proceedings.

All of which goes some of the way towards justifying my belief that this is the greatest film ever committed to celluloid. I love this film, with a passion normally reserved for living, breathing entities, and the words it whispers resonate through the years, words which speak of friendship, regret and, most of all, hope. It tells us, in letters writ large, that our spirit will always be free, and when the closing credits roll I feel renewed, if only for the briefest of moments.

ďGet busy living, or get busy dyingĒ. That, my friends, is goddamn right.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1011&reviewer=193
originally posted: 03/01/01 11:53:14
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell very good better than green mile imho 4 stars
4/27/16 Ken A film not to be missed. Whoever thinks this is the worst, doesn't know movies. 5 stars
3/21/16 Frenzy One of the best 5 stars
4/01/15 Jamie just the best movie ever, do not miss it! 5 stars
3/18/15 JawsPapi87 truly WORST FILM EVER MADE 1 stars
2/20/15 DrRyAn no the best movie ever 2 stars
2/15/15 enicmatic al IDIOT 1 stars
1/08/15 vendoza most overrated movie of all time! hands down 1 stars
9/02/14 Doug this is the best movie evar? 4 stars
3/24/14 Justin R. A movie that's not to be missed at all. 5 stars
6/03/13 Ron An unforgettable classic. Whoever didn't like this film has problems. 5 stars
4/18/13 bobalou One of the best films ever 5 stars
4/17/13 BALLS I FUCKED MORGAN FREEMAN IN THE FACE 1 stars
12/09/12 Simon Knife-to-my-throat favorite movie. That ending would make the devil shed a tear. 5 stars
5/30/12 keith miron Good prison drama 4 stars
2/08/12 stanley welles astonishing tale of endurance, courage, life and perspective 5 stars
1/31/12 Devski This is the only movie in a decade where my dad stayed awake throughout. True classic 5 stars
3/28/11 11 Damn fine film. Reminds me of Cuckoo's Nest. 5 stars
2/15/11 millersxing the prototypical example of a film that hits a cultural nerve and soars above its pedigree. 5 stars
12/31/10 David Green Immense film, detailed and intelligent review. 5 stars
11/11/10 Lundon Bond Stephan king at his best, you wouldn't even know that he wrote the book by watch the movi 5 stars
9/01/10 BOB GAY! 1 stars
3/07/10 Marc Kelly Awesome...story telling at its finest. 5 stars
10/30/09 Omar Please go see this movie, if you haven't seen it. It's excellent and you won't regret it. 5 stars
9/19/09 Steven An absolute masterpiece of a movie. A must see for all 5 stars
7/23/09 Meatbog Simply Beautiful 5 stars
6/22/09 Domiique Very good movie. Not much into action like car chasing, Hollywood style or US first level 5 stars
5/15/09 Yoda This is one of the most morally bankrupt movies I have ever seen. 1 stars
4/10/09 old Al i managed to stay awake all the way through this film. 5 stars
2/27/09 Tom To all you haters. Go watch Meet the Spartans then you jerkoffs!! I'm watching Shawshank! 5 stars
2/10/09 Lord Savage Outstanding in all aspects of this movie, i've seen it i think, 11 times now. Never bored. 5 stars
9/22/08 don Great 5 stars
9/20/08 pallabi its undoubtedly one of the greatest movies made in d history of film making!!! 5 stars
8/24/08 PAUL SHORTT THIS BLOATED AND SOGGY PIECE OF WORK IS ONE OF THE MOST OVERRATED FILMS OF THE 1990'S 1 stars
7/22/08 the dork knight A little bit too feel good, but a good story nonetheless 4 stars
7/09/08 Farnsy Over rated. First half is enjoyable next half the plot doesn't have focus 3 stars
7/03/08 h8-i95 Overrated? This movie wasn't rated at all, much less "overrated". GREAT movie....... 5 stars
6/15/08 C A One of the greatest movies ever!! well acted, written and presented! Morgan Freeman shines 5 stars
5/06/08 Heather Classic. Fantastic acting, heavy emotional impact, interesting plot. My favorite. 5 stars
4/16/08 jayputter29@hotmail.com Once in a while, a great movie comes along. No doubt one of the best films of all time. 5 stars
3/31/08 Taulago Beautiful movie about HOPE.. 5 stars
3/26/08 >_< Excellent plot, good emotional journey brought by the film to the viewers, worth seeing 5 stars
3/08/08 bruce best film ever made 5 stars
3/08/08 Nate Excellent writting...Excellent acting 5 stars
2/09/08 Chris A must see, classic movie. 5 stars
1/26/08 proper amateur film critic overrated, cliche ridden drama with good perforamances but bad narrative 2 stars
1/08/08 david desoto my favorite film of all time. 5 stars
1/05/08 Pamela White plot excellent and Freeman has great role 5 stars
11/21/07 Amy best movie ive ever watchd. 5 stars
10/16/07 sLiver One of the few films I can watch over and over. GREAT FILM MAKING! 5 stars
9/16/07 Miss Murf Have seen many, many times over. One of the greatest movies I have seen. 5 stars
8/14/07 allen ergie d best 5 stars
7/29/07 Go Stros one of the 10 best movies of all time 5 stars
6/24/07 tribz gotta do it for an religion assessment...shits me! 4 stars
6/11/07 LSUBill Gets better every time I see it. I notice symbolism and analogies all the time.Masterpiece 5 stars
5/16/07 sean i love this movie, inspirational, a rollercoaster of emotions from beginning to end 5 stars
5/01/07 gg sentimental, conformist bullshit 1 stars
4/30/07 kuldeep simply superb 5 stars
4/25/07 David Cohen Proof that not every movie based on a Steven King story has to suck 5 stars
4/20/07 metto fuck yeahhhhh its off the hook =]] 5 stars
4/03/07 shantanu Suparb music...greate entertainer 5 stars
4/02/07 chris f the best movie ive ever watched a true masterpeice 5 stars
3/25/07 Anthony Zoppo Howe nails it in his review. Quite simply, this is the greatest movie ever made. 5 stars
3/05/07 action movie fan boring and overrated-bad boys (1983) and fortune and mens eyes are far better 2 stars
2/23/07 mark darth vader eat shit and die 5 stars
2/18/07 dmitry Yawn...sentimental tripe 2 stars
2/12/07 eric was ruined for me before i saw it 4 stars
12/28/06 Darth Vader Along with LOTR 3, most overrated movie of all time 1 stars
12/07/06 Christina Second to none for composition! 5 stars
11/06/06 David Pollastrini very faithful adaptation 5 stars
10/17/06 Quigley how often do movies with stories this amazing come along? superb on every level possible 5 stars
10/08/06 Biker_373 Best prison film made that i have seen! 5 stars
10/03/06 katie i am watchin it in english media it it fantastic film ever 5 stars
10/03/06 Jeremy Davies Good movie, awesome ending 4 stars
9/26/06 SABO The best movie ever PERIOD ! 5 stars
9/26/06 Luisa Beautiful, moving film, great actors!! 5 stars
9/16/06 Ben Wielandt No film from the 90ties matches this pearl, no this diamond of a film 5 stars
8/20/06 Devin Brines Fucking good. 5 stars
8/11/06 David Cohen Robbed at the Oscars, proof that winning an Oscar means nothing nowadays! 5 stars
8/08/06 Albert I'm just gonna say it-- best movie I have ever seen 5 stars
8/05/06 nicklor24 One of the greastest movie ever 5 stars
7/24/06 Quazar good movie. he should've killed more people tho 4 stars
7/20/06 moops fantastic review 5 stars
7/05/06 daveyt excellent, work of art, genius 5 stars
7/04/06 blueangel A movie with a message of hope. 5 stars
6/08/06 Peggy Doty Loved it 5 stars
5/29/06 delores brown morgan freeman should have won the oscar 5 stars
5/08/06 chienne Bloody great film, Freeman doesn't look like the world's oldest cotton bud. 5 stars
4/24/06 Andrew Shaver One of the best movies I have ever seen. 5 stars
4/12/06 anthonyuk beautiful and moving,certainly in my top ten films of all time 5 stars
3/17/06 HL A Movie Jewel...One of the Best Ever. 5 stars
2/27/06 ahmed the best movie in the world 5 stars
1/09/06 sweetgrrl1972 Movies just don't get better than this. 5 stars
12/13/05 Karen Hawes This was a powerful movie and gives hope 4 stars
12/03/05 Jennifer S. This movie pulls you in and doesn't let go until the end. "Quickest" 3 hour movie ever! 5 stars
11/23/05 adam Best film ever made period! 5 stars
11/03/05 cooler The most beautiful film I have ever seen.Simply Stunning 5 stars
10/29/05 Courtney Greatest film ever 5 stars
10/05/05 Jesse Taylor Can pass as the best movie ever made. 5 stars
10/02/05 ALDO well made movie..never boring 5 stars
9/08/05 Johnny Excellent. Anyone who says this movie's boring should go lick themselves! 5 stars
8/31/05 ES It's great, the characters are deep and real, the story harrowing and heartwarming at once 5 stars
8/20/05 Derek Morse Absolute classic, one of the few 3 hour movies I can sit through. 5 stars
8/18/05 Jake A brilliant spiritual and emotional journey. Anyone who says this is crap is an idiot! 5 stars
7/17/05 ! Beverly Hills, that's where I want to be. ...livin' in Beverly Hills! 1 stars
7/15/05 yo fucking borefest, more excitement taking a diarrhea shit. 1 stars
7/11/05 Burt Ward OVERRATED! 1 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma The best film I've ever seen. Period. 5 stars
7/03/05 jimmy the shittist movie I have ever seen. *SNORE* 1 stars
6/29/05 Fan Life changing... the best movie ever made 5 stars
6/25/05 blonde not as boring as i thought it would be 4 stars
6/17/05 Manu Ginobli Good film, it ain't shit compared to Pulp Fiction though. 4 stars
6/15/05 CHEESENACHOS great movie, should be seen by everyone 5 stars
6/08/05 me fuck this movie 2 stars
5/25/05 Jake A Wonderfull masterpiece 5 stars
5/19/05 oHFD overrated, good acting yes, but simple/boring plot keep it an average film. 3 stars
5/18/05 Cindy Lovell Absolutely fantastic...a classic 5 stars
5/17/05 what? surprisingly boring. 3 stars
5/10/05 Vince As close to perfection as it gets. Top of my list. 5 stars
4/09/05 Joe Better than Stand By Me 5 stars
4/03/05 fhf more overrated morgan freeman rubbish. 1 stars
3/12/05 Richard Betts The greatest movie of all time. Fuck the Godfather. 5 stars
2/23/05 lol sry but JAWS is the best movie ever. even prt 2 is better!!!!!! 2 stars
2/19/05 whackie Best movie ever 5 stars
2/09/05 908 eh, okay. Stand By Me is better though. 3 stars
2/02/05 Smitty By far, the best movie that didn't win an oscar 5 stars
1/31/05 oooop I wouldn't call it the best movie ever, but it's a good film nonetheless. 4 stars
1/30/05 Albero Castillo The Greatest Film I Have Ever Seen 5 stars
1/28/05 New Jersey Rules One of the shittiest movies, ever. 1 stars
1/14/05 David May Amazing 5 stars
12/27/04 mjoc It most definitely is the best movie ever. Or maybe a close 2nd to The Godfather 5 stars
12/07/04 Kurt Cobain Arguably Best Film of '94, there's no other movie I'd rather watch on a boring day. 5 stars
12/01/04 richard betts pulp fiction is good, but this is the best movie ever. honestly. 5 stars
11/20/04 Bianca A. de Gracia at my age 16, this film is good and unbelievable it has a good twist in the story 4 stars
11/17/04 Gooey ........ 1 stars
11/14/04 X $ % & ! Overrated 1 stars
11/05/04 Rich Strickler great storytelling, beautifully acted, top shelf 5 stars
10/29/04 amanda this movie coulnt get any better 5 stars
10/25/04 UMER best movie of 1994 with pulp fiction and forrest gump running just behind 5 stars
10/23/04 Olaitan Olanipekun This is a demontrative act of balance between justice and injustice. 5 stars
10/21/04 Deanna It's a stop and watch whenever I see it on TV. 5 stars
10/17/04 Jean Great. Uplifting, hopeful movie, set in prison! Not sugercoated; man spent yrs in prison. 5 stars
10/15/04 Jim interesting 3 stars
9/28/04 Patricia Excellent film. I think it' teffirfic. It deals with serious problems It's very witt at the 5 stars
9/07/04 Littlepurch A perfect cast in a nearly perfect film. A bit harrowing but still fantastic. 5 stars
9/03/04 Vince A masterpiece on every level 5 stars
9/01/04 A upton A great movie 5 stars
8/27/04 albert the best of mr. king! 5 stars
8/12/04 David alright... 3 stars
8/03/04 Santhosh Battar Beautifully pictured movie 5 stars
8/03/04 Bojan exelent 5 stars
8/01/04 Kathryn Knowlton one of the best movies ever 5 stars
7/29/04 anton I like this movie 5 stars
7/23/04 JASON FISKE One of those movies that you can turn on in the middle and want to finish watching 5 stars
7/14/04 Samurai Z Dumb Ass Great Movie! 5 stars
7/11/04 Paul Carone "Cock! Cock! Cock! Cock! Cock! Cock!" 5 stars
7/07/04 Saigo Instant classic. Nothing else to say. 5 stars
6/30/04 Anita Excellent. This is why Tim Robbins is my favorite actor. 5 stars
6/25/04 Gray if you aren't moved by this seek help (no joke) 5 stars
6/15/04 Lizzy Can you say emotion overload! Damn good movie! 5 stars
6/03/04 Angel My favorite King story, my favorite King movie. 5 stars
5/28/04 coco Hope is the most importantĀI 5 stars
5/26/04 Gretchen Ross Great film but lacking SOMEthing. Hard to say what it is. 4 stars
5/23/04 Mitch Without a doubt one of the greatest films of the 90s. 5 stars
5/11/04 greg winn will be one of the alltime greats 5 stars
5/06/04 J.Peckerfoot liam loves it,i think it is fantastic but not for repeated viewing. 5 stars
4/29/04 Jim dull 1 stars
4/10/04 IP Freeley one of the top ten films ever made...this movie is fantastic 5 stars
4/07/04 kristy garcia it was a good film with a good story 4 stars
3/31/04 sansho A pleasing film but...is it really among the best ever? 4 stars
3/31/04 Laura Ward Quietly powerful! It's rare to see a Stephen King movie well done, but this movie is one 4 stars
3/27/04 ann berry Poweful story and acting is superb 5 stars
3/27/04 michowl Excellent, be prepared to experience nearly every emotion possible during this movie. 5 stars
3/26/04 S-P The Perfect Movie- Inspires Every Emotion 5 stars
3/26/04 Kimberly Kay Crellin Only from the mind of Stephen King... 5 stars
3/24/04 Angel touching and unbeliveable I loved it and still do 5 stars
3/20/04 Marcia Scurfield Heroes can be found anywhere--even in a prison. 5 stars
3/17/04 Jamy Williamson everyone I know loves this movie, myself included! 4 stars
3/08/04 Helen Bradley Great film acting script excellent 5 stars
3/04/04 kelly Great movie... everyone should watch it at least 3 times to turly understand everything it 5 stars
2/25/04 Brian Zhang two thumbs up 5 stars
2/19/04 MP Bartley A poem of a film 5 stars
1/22/04 Abe Giesbrecht Work of art 5 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Overlong, but who cares? This is a sensationally good masterpiece! 5 stars
1/10/04 Rod Johnston Hope, it is the qunitessential human delusion. 5 stars
1/07/04 Two-G - horror_blood2 (aka Double G) (1 G) Awesome but still not better than STAND BY ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/04/04 Desperado Robbins, Freeman=Incredible, story=First Rate, Movie A+ 5 stars
12/27/03 Plums Beaten by Forrest Gump at the Oscars! LMAO 3 stars
11/25/03 MelissaNYC Robbins=gorgeous. Morgan=brilliant. Remains my favorite movie of all time. Amazing! 5 stars
11/23/03 Mary My daughter and I have watched this;together the million times it's been on cable! 5 stars
11/16/03 Shane Smith Greatest film ever - suicide scene drives me to tears 5 stars
11/15/03 eddie the best iv'e seen in ages 5 stars
11/12/03 Baker Awesome 5 stars
10/30/03 I Would Better than The Green Mile, but hasn't got shit on Carrie or The Shining. 4 stars
10/14/03 natasha williams very real 5 stars
10/05/03 Samuel Justus A touching story, i liked it! 4 stars
9/29/03 Doc Hollywood Fantstic 5 stars
9/22/03 John Bale The most plausable Steven King adaption yet thanks to Darabont and a brilliant Freeman 5 stars
9/15/03 i hate george bush and tony blair superb 5 stars
9/04/03 newman fan this is a shameless rip of cool hand luke, with a more satisfying (see: unlikely) ending 4 stars
8/28/03 anna One of Top 10 Best Movies with a Prison setting ever made. 5 stars
8/04/03 Putski Nothing Groundbreaking 3 stars
8/02/03 coolwave quality filmaking... 5 stars
8/02/03 Bob I just never got the hype. Seemed like an average prison drama that didn't move me. 2 stars
7/27/03 DIRTYHARRY WITH MAGNUM FORCE a fine film esp that last walk on the beach when red meets dufresne 5 stars
7/25/03 Patrick Uplifting. So cool. 5 stars
7/22/03 P.Rodriguez I think needs Jules needs to have a brain scan 5 stars
7/21/03 comtose brilliant! 5 stars
7/15/03 Mark Sentimental, brilliantly acted, just great 5 stars
7/08/03 Bob Prigel One of the best films ever! 5 stars
7/06/03 john_cord okay 3 stars
7/05/03 Mike Best movie ever 5 stars
7/04/03 T3 Pretty good. 5 stars
6/18/03 Andrew Callaway Very good. One of Stephen Kings better books. 4 stars
6/17/03 Scott Incredible 5 stars
6/07/03 Jules boring 1 stars
6/01/03 Persephone genius: it's at times sobering, exhilerating, ironic, inspiring 5 stars
5/02/03 Dan_A One of the best ones out there 5 stars
4/17/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik Incredible. 5 stars
4/17/03 Fonq35 I love this film. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things...C'MON! You gotta love it 5 stars
4/01/03 Mr. Do this story is so genius. 5 stars
3/07/03 YES The best film of all-time, the ending is just brilliant. 5 stars
3/06/03 Derrick One of the best movies I've ever seen! 5 stars
3/06/03 KOOOL MUSLIM KID I HOPE THE PACIFIC IS AS BLUE AS IT HAS BEEN IN MY DREAMS - - SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL!! 5 stars
3/04/03 Jay Will probably go down as one of the bst films of our generation 5 stars
3/01/03 mc Watch this movie again whenever you need your sense of life refreshed. 5 stars
2/28/03 Ger Coughlan Pure Class - Well written & Directed - Top Marks! 5 stars
2/25/03 blake best movie ever made 5 stars
2/13/03 acidman Super super super 5 stars
2/08/03 natasha_theobald inspiring in the best possible, least saccharine way 5 stars
1/29/03 Alex Flynn This masterpiece didn't get one oscar! Not one! 5 stars
1/29/03 wintermute They say the Pacific has no memory - I wish it stood up to mul. viewings better tho 4 stars
1/29/03 filmshot fantastic 5 stars
1/28/03 The Aussie Film Reviewer You really can't help but love this flick. Flawless. 5 stars
1/25/03 LORD OF THE RINGS I HOPE THE PACIFIC IS AS BLUE AS IT HAS BEEN IN MY DREAMS!! --- SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL 5 stars
12/31/02 Jack Sommersby A near-perfect masterpiece. 5 stars
12/29/02 Melahn all about doing the impossible 5 stars
12/16/02 3-Legged Spider A Terrific Mindjob !!! Best film ever made. Period. 5 stars
12/08/02 Michael Flynn ****: Three Words: Best. Movie. EVER. 5 stars
11/29/02 Clint Eastwood INCREDIBLE!! 5 stars
11/27/02 Mason BEST FILM EVER MADE...REALLLY!!!! 5 stars
11/26/02 Brilliant really Mason 5 stars
11/23/02 RED THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER 5 stars
11/22/02 harold superb!!!!! 5 stars
11/22/02 dead fantastic 5 stars
11/12/02 Fonq35 Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'... God I love this film! 5 stars
11/10/02 Stevo All right, but totally overrated. 3 stars
11/07/02 melbourne im only joking,THIS IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER MADE 5 stars
11/04/02 jeremy Best movie EVER 5 stars
10/27/02 Mr. Hat What I tell ya?! Frank Darabont is a fucking master director! 5 stars
10/21/02 kool muslim guy i hope the pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams!! - a simply magnificent film 5 stars
10/20/02 Flounder One of the most delightful movies I have ever seen. 5 stars
10/14/02 red best movie ever 5 stars
9/27/02 Gracy Lionheart A wonderful film that stays with you after you've seen it. 5 stars
9/23/02 comatose brilliant ending 5 stars
9/18/02 Getchell Williams My #1 Movie of all time 5 stars
8/28/02 Hessian 1 of the best movies I've ever seen. #1 in my top 20. 5 stars
8/26/02 snowconehead Incredible 5 stars
8/14/02 Wlater Higgins Legislation should be passed requiring all people to see this movie once a month. 5 stars
8/05/02 David Thorman Full of cliched characters. And the escape plot was hatched with Sergeant Schultz in mind. 1 stars
8/03/02 DREW BEST MOVIE OF THE 90'S, IF NOT EVER. PERIOD.. 5 stars
7/30/02 Bookonmarx Can't disagree here - fabulous film, simple yet full of pathos 5 stars
7/09/02 gunter thats disgusting, and it was 500 yards 5 stars
6/12/02 Hulahula Crawling through 300 yards of shit deserves 5 stars! 5 stars
5/25/02 Charles Tatum Recycles too many cliches from other prison flicks 3 stars
5/21/02 Bob Jimmy marley its like sex 5 stars
5/18/02 Doc Holiday amazing film 5 stars
5/16/02 Melissa Better than any movie I've seen before or since! 5 stars
5/14/02 Joegurt This movie is the epitome of the word "clever" 5 stars
4/27/02 Melissa in NYC Best movie ever made. Morgan Freeman is a jem! 5 stars
4/03/02 girl wonderful movie! 5 stars
3/30/02 Paul Meade Remarkable film, great ending. 5 stars
2/27/02 Maintain santity Awesome movie 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Top quality acting here. An actual improvement on the novella. 5 stars
2/17/02 Clarance One of my favorite movies of all time! 5 stars
2/01/02 Alex Moir I loved the rape scene!! It is so realistic... It brought back so many fond memories! 5 stars
2/01/02 Alex Great Movie!!!! 5 stars
1/15/02 paul one of the best of all-time 5 stars
1/03/02 Scream-Mania A touching film. 5 stars
12/29/01 Marius This film is the greatest flm ever, none above none beside 5 stars
12/13/01 Dominik Duprelle There are few films about frienship like this one. A Classic. 5 stars
12/02/01 Flip Kromer I still get choked up and I've seen it 5+ times... 5 stars
12/01/01 Cracked head Overrated but enjoyable. It just isn't as great as some put it. 4 stars
12/01/01 Mark Conway One of the greatest movies ever, very emotional ending. 5 stars
11/20/01 alex holland Great movie!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/06/01 Jordan Nutson A Triumph in Film Making 5 stars
10/29/01 Croweater Dull script? This is a totally engrossing movie experience. 5 stars
10/26/01 James Horton Superb!!!! My favourite Movie 5 stars
10/09/01 Mark Conway This film is a true classic, very touching and fantastic acting, its my all time favourite 5 stars
10/05/01 Nick Marlette IT is the best movie in the whole world....i know it from the first word to the last word!! 5 stars
10/03/01 Butterbean A touching, mindblowing film that lives up to the hype 5 stars
10/03/01 Jorge Couceiro Oh, yeah! 5 stars
9/30/01 Moog the Goog One of the most under-rated masterpieces of the 90s 5 stars
9/23/01 Henry Ginsberg I just saw this film for the second time.It fucking rules. 5 stars
9/23/01 Larry Smith MORGAN FREEMAN - one of century's finest actors! 5 stars
9/21/01 Tim Smith What hasn't already been said? There is NO better film than this one! And never will be! 5 stars
9/17/01 mohamed ali 5 stars
9/17/01 Jaames Redford This is THE best film EVER!!! I can't believe it didn't get 1 oscar it's fucking awesome 5 stars
9/13/01 Steph Ward gr8 film! cause it has all the emotions: happy,sad,angry etc. could watch it agen an agen! 5 stars
9/11/01 Dave Good, but too many walruses are in the jail. 5 stars
9/11/01 michael rock one of the best films ever made 5 stars
9/09/01 Donnie Mulki This movie ruled! 5 stars
9/05/01 Hiten Dhruv One of the all time greats! 5 stars
9/03/01 spaceworm I saw it before you did. 5 stars
8/29/01 RSpears One of the most watchable films of the '90s 5 stars
8/15/01 david ellertsson one of the best movies ever made 5 stars
8/11/01 IP_Freely this is probably one of the top 20 movies ever made..maybe even top 10 5 stars
8/04/01 sarah I've watched this 3 times now & its still entertaining 5 stars
8/03/01 Paren My favourite movie of all time! 5 stars
7/31/01 DMF Good acting, but it seems designed to go for the tears. Too pushy. 4 stars
7/29/01 Jennifer Gaissert Loved it. Own it. 'Nuf said. 5 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg Compeling and well acted . 5 stars
7/14/01 TLsmooth Freeman is classic. What a fucking story!! 5 stars
7/10/01 Ted Halm Narration by actor Freeman keeps this movie timeless. Great writing 5 stars
7/10/01 Brian E. absolutely one of my 10 best films 5 stars
7/08/01 Reini Urban More a 3 1/2 star then a five-star. 4 stars
7/05/01 scott weber an inspiration to those who have the courage to live free 5 stars
7/03/01 taj Hypnotic, heartfelt and fascinating. I (like so many others) simply love this one. 5 stars
7/02/01 Clarance Who woulda thought Stephen King?! HELL YA! Best Flick! 5 stars
6/29/01 master.node I kept thinking, "This seems good, but why do I feel so manipulated?" 4 stars
6/25/01 gromm To paraphrase Tool: "This next [movie] is about anal sex." Metaphorically speaking. 5 stars
6/14/01 Disco_stu So good 5 stars
6/05/01 MOVIE best from the best 5 stars
5/27/01 B.B Gripping plot... 5 stars
5/24/01 Ronnie Amazing 5 stars
5/07/01 Mikko Salminen A bit too predictible. 4 stars
5/03/01 KIMBOOBILY THIS IS SUCH A GREAT MOVIE- HANDS DOWN 5 stars
4/29/01 The Jedi Droid one of the best movie ever made...so under rated 5 stars
4/23/01 Neil Ramsbotham love the ending 5 stars
4/21/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) A poignant and GROSSLY UNDERRATED film. I'd reccomend it even if I weren't an SK fan. 5 stars
4/10/01 muneer78 One of the best dramas made in the modern age of film. 5 stars
4/06/01 Melissa Ramos It stands to be one of the greatest films in movie history. 5 stars
3/28/01 Bee Engaging, uplifting 5 stars
3/26/01 Monster W. Kung Extremely good prison flick... it reminded me of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest in a way. 5 stars
3/21/01 Brandi Terry I could watch this movie over and over again! 5 stars
3/14/01 Ashley Morrison It's unusual when a movie can balace subtlety with an engaging plot 5 stars
3/13/01 Stephen Balloch The best film of the 1990s 5 stars
3/12/01 Kellis One of the few movies I can honestly enjoy 5 stars
3/11/01 mad hatter One of the few really good movies to come out of hollywood in years. 5 stars
3/10/01 Jake Its just so awe-inspiring. Doesn't get any better than this. 5 stars
3/01/01 Scott Few movies tie together, leave you feeling as good, and teach you somehting as this film. 5 stars
2/26/01 Big P. Terrific movie, with some unbelievably powerful scenes. 5 stars
2/20/01 yoohoo one of the best ever 5 stars
2/17/01 mister char this was a great movie, lots of nudity 5 stars
2/14/01 Lee A tad over-rated but still very good 4 stars
2/14/01 TomServo It's the best! 5 stars
2/08/01 Jeremy Thompson This movie is fucking incredible 5 stars
2/07/01 Obi Wan Just saw it again last night. Still loved it!!! I wish more movie could be as moving! 5 stars
2/06/01 Classicdog Topnotch!! One of the best!!! 5 stars
2/06/01 I can hear u gettin fatter AWESOME 5 stars
2/05/01 COol GuY one of my faves 5 stars
1/31/01 Fat Guy in a Little Coat Simply one o' the best movies ever 5 stars
1/31/01 Ludolecorse great actors and fuckin tears cheerin up 5 stars
1/27/01 Soggy Bottom Boy This was a very good prison flic, but has been a bit over-rated. 4 stars
1/24/01 Sully Top Notch!! If you're stupid enough to hate this movie - go brush your 3 remaining teeth. 5 stars
1/23/01 scorekeeper To those of you who didn't like this, or any other great film, please get yourself a soul. 5 stars
12/31/00 kevin excelent movie!!!!! A+ 5 stars
11/29/00 SP all aspects perfectly crafted 5 stars
11/22/00 Dave excellent movie! 5 stars
11/18/00 salvo brilliant story, good film, perfect 5 stars
11/02/00 Tom Who doesn't like this film,it's wonderful,i didn't like the scenes reminiscent of Alcatraz 5 stars
10/31/00 James Fairly good film - worth a look if you have a spare couple of hours 4 stars
10/31/00 dan see this movie now! 5 stars
10/29/00 steven hargreaves the all time best film other than scarface 5 stars
10/24/00 Clarance BEST MOVIE I'VE EVER SEEN!!! MY ALL TIME FAV! 5 stars
10/07/00 ryan this movie is greatly underrated. it deserves more recomendations.ps.this was the best Movi 5 stars
10/01/00 Matt I'm in disbelief that somebody gave this a SAA 5 stars
9/22/00 White Rabbit This is a good film to be sure but I think it is a little overrated 4 stars
9/20/00 Jeff well-crafted but overpraised prison melodrama 4 stars
8/29/00 Green Minority Touching and loaded with high-flying pathos. Not forced at all. A movie for the ages 5 stars
8/24/00 ShaqWho One of the Greatest Movies Ever Made 5 stars
8/19/00 spunkmirej This movie rocks. It's probably my favorite movie of all time. 5 stars
7/18/00 Sissy Yeah!!!! I love this movie! Tim robbins was great. 5 stars
7/11/00 Matthew Bartley Probably the finest movie of the 90's. Could have watched another three hours 5 stars
7/08/00 skye chapman very enjoyable. (not a classic) 4 stars
6/29/00 perverted pixie Who could predict that brilliant twist at the end! Outstanding. 5 stars
5/26/00 LoonyGoon A modern classic. Great movie, dumb title. 5 stars
5/12/00 Steve Layne Outstaning acting and Its better than Pulp fiction. 4 stars
5/11/00 PJ A beautiful grand movie, as close to a classic the 90's will produce 5 stars
5/07/00 Klute. Puts Green Mile well in it's place. 5 stars
4/18/00 Brien COol 5 stars
4/14/00 TJ St John A modern day classic! 5 stars
4/06/00 Add No matter watch you think, u should see this, its up lifting and has a great ending 5 stars
3/29/00 Denise Monroe Great character relationships and excellent story! 5 stars
3/15/00 Ed Though it does have story holes it is still great 5 stars
3/15/00 Steve Every time this comes up on cable, the movie sucks me in and can't help but watch it again. 5 stars
3/11/00 Bozo can't believe this lost best pic to 'gump'; now THIS is a fucking movie 5 stars
3/01/00 Mic Impressive film. One of the best of 1994. 5 stars
2/19/00 tony s The first must see Steven King adaptation. A landmark in film 5 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski The best Stephen King adaptation along with "Stand By Me." 5 stars
1/10/00 Will King's greatest story - screw that horror shit - made into an incredible movie. 5 stars
12/10/99 Kenton R. Riley Jaw-dropping plot, Amazing Cast. 5 stars
11/28/99 Ryan Phillipe gets hit by a car and it Rules!!! Wow who is this Tim Robbins guy. Where did he come from. Wow a mindblowing picture. WOW! Ah 5 stars
11/11/99 Arup Baral Fav. movie all time. Watch it when you feel down 5 stars
11/06/99 Anthony Ellis This movie has it all, it's sensational. ***** out of *****. BRILLIANT! 5 stars
10/25/99 Bueller A great film. Too bad the title sucks until after you've seen it. 5 stars
10/25/99 will f'n a. this movie rocks. 5 stars
10/10/99 SJKelley Wonderful story, characters, directing. The whole plate of beans. 5 stars
10/07/99 Glitter Berry Tim & Morgan are absolutely magnetic...you can watch this one again and again 5 stars
10/01/99 rob This is the absolute greatest movie of all time. Morgan Freeman deserved the Oscar. 5 stars
9/20/99 f*r*o*s*t*y I truly loved this film. One of the best. 5 stars
9/15/99 Dennis Forcier Not bad. Not great, but not bad. 4 stars
8/10/99 Ted Wetzel A moving and well acted movie.One of the decade's best. 5 stars
8/01/99 Obi Wan Powerful....Moving....defn8ly a classic 5 stars
7/18/99 Cynthia it was an excellent movie!!! 5 stars
7/05/99 Ben Leostein Rating: *** (out of ****) Category: "Good" 4 stars
7/04/99 randy grubbs a classic 5 stars
6/26/99 hum see this 5 stars
6/19/99 Jason Well, viewers can find that the team paid a lot of hard work in it. Good. 5 stars
6/12/99 Biscus One of the best adapted movies ever 5 stars
6/09/99 PurityJustBegs This film gave me goosebumps...beautiful, and sublime movie. Morgan Freeman is the master.. 5 stars
5/27/99 f*r*o*s*t*y And it was beautiful... 5 stars
4/19/99 jimmy jam my lame ass cousin even like it 5 stars
4/06/99 Michael Grimm best prison movie ever 5 stars
4/04/99 Freyja If only there was more Shawshanks, and less I Know What You Screamed Last Summer... 5 stars
3/22/99 A. M. Hollywood formula saved by some good performances. 3 stars
3/17/99 little jerry A very rare film.Made with great feeling & sense of character.Magnificent storytelling. 5 stars
3/09/99 Go Swans Best film of all time. Without a doubt 5 stars
2/20/99 Piz a great prophetic tale with wonderful performance and delivery. based on King? imagine that 5 stars
2/19/99 Bruce Hedge When is your next movie Tim Robbins? 5 stars
2/02/99 Matthew Bartley Finally a movie that is made like they were used to 5 stars
1/23/99 Goofaloo All over brilliant. Robbins is spectacular. 5 stars
1/20/99 C Dub Definitely on my top 10 all-time list 5 stars
1/19/99 Chronically hip whether you're wordy or not, you're gonna get into this film. very moving. 4 stars
1/17/99 Melissa Absolutely brilliant. I was bawling by the end. Robbins and Freeman are excellent. 5 stars
12/23/98 PirateGirl Not just another guy movie. Go see it. 5 stars
12/05/98 Katsat Interesting but a bit too cliched and corny. And too CLEAN for a prison. 4 stars
11/29/98 Mike F really really good. 5 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink Yes, it's clichťd and predictable. But I LOVED every minute of it!!!!!! 4 stars
11/24/98 Fred Stephen King should dump horror and do more stuff like this. 5 stars
11/21/98 little jerry This is a rare reminder of our involving a film can be.Hope'The Green Mile' is as good. 5 stars
11/17/98 Gamma An OUTSTANDING Movie. Everyone should see this. Two of my favorite actors too. 5 stars
11/07/98 Jayson Lauden Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, need I say more? 5 stars
11/02/98 MR HOLLYWOOD !! Really worth seeing,Oscar material..... 5 stars
10/18/98 Kwyjibo Phenomonal 5 stars
10/13/98 Tom Wood amazing film---morgan feeman is wonderful 4 stars
10/11/98 Negative Creep On My Top ten. 5 stars
10/09/98 Charlie Lim Worth Seeing 5 stars
9/18/98 Johny Great film, who'd a guessed it came from Stephen King? 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Sep-1994 (R)
  DVD: 05-Oct-2004

UK
  17-Feb-1995 (15)
  DVD: 19-Oct-1998

Australia
  16-Feb-1995 (MA)




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