Trivia: The Shawshank Redemption

  • Ability Over Appearance: Traditionally, guys called "Red" are redheads (this was the case in the novella). Initial casting calls had that in mind. The role is played by Morgan Freeman, who would not pick up that nickname naturally but owns the role anyway. It's explained in the film (though not in the novella), that Red's nickname comes from his name, Ellis Redding.
  • Acclaimed Flop: The film had a lukewarm box office reception (mainly due to its Word Salad Title and the distinct lack of female cast members) despite receiving favorable reviews from critics.
  • Actor Allusion: Morgan Freeman did time in South Africa.
  • AFIS 100 Years Series:
  • Font Anachronism: The rubber stamp used by the parole hearings people in 1947 prints in the Helvetica font, a decade too soon.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!:
    • The mug shot shown on Red's parole paperwork is a photo of Morgan Freeman's son Alfonso. Alfonso also has a cameo at the beginning of the movie, he's the inmate who says "Fresh fish! Fresh fish today! We're reeling 'em in!" as the bus carrying Andy comes in.
      • He also starred as Fred Redding in the parody short The SharkTank Redemption.
    • Did anybody else notice that the Captain is actually Mr. Krabs? He is also Lex Luthor and The Kurgan
    • And as of 2011, the Lex Luthor torch has been passed to Boggs!
    • So Lex Luthor was beating up Lex Luthor!
    • Dale prosecuted Andy.
    • Drake rapes Andy.
    • Death is an inmate.
  • Insert Cameo:
    • The hands loading the gun in the beginning of the film belong to director Frank Darabont.
  • Playing Against Type: Oddly enough, Morgan Freeman as Red counts, even though it's one of Freeman's best-known roles. Though Red is a generally good-natured guy, he's a far cry from the kindly old authority figures and humble mentors that Freeman is best known for playing. Instead, he's a cynical murderer who deeply regrets the mistakes of his past, and ultimately has his life saved by following someone else's example.
  • Mean Character Nice Actor: Quite a few.
    • Captain Hadley is a sadistic prison officer, but his actor Clancy Brown is one of the nicest guys in both the film and TV industry. He described the filming location as "a horrible monument to inhuman treatment of men by men" and stated that he had a problem acting out some of the brutal No Holds Barred Beatdowns he had to dish out to the prisoners.
      • In the same vein, Brown received multiple offers from former corrections officers to help him develop the character, all of which he turned down because he didn't want his performance to reflect badly on real COs.
    • Mark Rolston, the actor who played Boggs (a serial rapist) genuinely seemed overjoyed to be working with everyone in interviews and seems nothing like his character.
    • Bob Gunton, who played Warden Norton, is by all accounts a quite laid-back and chilled out guy (and for real, not in the evil or fake kind of way).
  • Real-Life Relative: The mugshots of a young-looking Red that are attached to his parole papers are actually pictures of Morgan Freeman's younger son, Alfonso Freeman. Alfonso also cameos as the con who shouts "Fresh fish! Fresh fish today! We're reeling 'em in!"
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: This movie was criticized for portraying prison guards as using beatings to control inmates, but prison guards have been known to do exactly that in real life, and such things would have been even more widespread during the time the film takes place in.
  • Throw It In: Tim Robbins ad-libbed Andy Dufresne turning up the volume on the speaker in defiance of Norton telling him to turn it off.
  • Trope Namers: This film named Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook.
  • Vindicated by Cable: Back in 1994, it earned just over $28 million at the US box office; it has since enjoyed a remarkable life on cable television and home video. Ted Turner loved this movie so much, he made sure it was playing on at least one of his cable networks every weekend for about a decade (Helped by the fact that he had sold the rights to the movie cheaply to his own stations so playing it was cheap), which helped the film earn back its budget and give it the mainstream recognition it never received while in theaters. You can still find it on TBS or a similar channel, even 15 years later.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Tom Hanks turned down the role of Andy Dufresne.
    • As did Kevin Costner, in order to make Waterworld. Needless to say, he regrets it.
    • Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, and Charlie Sheen were all considered to play Andy as well.
    • The role of Tommy Williams was intended for Brad Pitt.
    • Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Paul Newman, and Robert Redford were all considered to play Red.
    • There were numerous deleted scenes from the film, mainly cut for pacing purposes, including:
      • After Andy's escape, an unfortunate guard is sent into his tunnel to see where it leads, and when he sees the seqage pipe broken into, he vomits. Red hears this happen from his own cell and cracks up laughing. He's sent to solitary confinement for two weeks...where he continues laughing.
      • Red's feelings on the 1960s after he is paroled, as well as a panic attack in the grocery store that sends him running for a bathroom cubicle that calms him down because it reminds him of his cell.

Other

  • Unusually the voiceover narration was recorded before filming began and was then played on set to dictate the rhythm of each scene. The guide track was recorded in an Iowa recording studio by Morgan Freeman in only 40 minutes. Unfortunately, there was a minor hiss to the track which sound engineers in Los Angeles were unable to eradicate. Consequently it had to be re-recorded in a proper studio; this time it took 3 weeks.