The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

2h 22m / R / Drama

Part of Shawshank Redemption’s lasting appeal must come down to its capacity to defy expectations — it’s a dark and grueling portrait of human cruelty, and a feel-good buddy picture where the good guys win, all at the same time. This is not a “prison drama” in any conventional sense of the word. It is not about violence, riots or melodrama — the word “redemption” is in the title for a reason. Based on a short story by Stephen King (this movie was one of his famous $1 babies, the rights being sold to director Frank Darabont for the sum of a single American dollar), it’s quite unlike most of King’s work. The horror here is not of the supernatural kind, but of the sort that flows from the realization than ten or twenty or fifty years of a man’s life have unreeled in the same unchanging, grinding and pitiless routine. And the opposite of that horror is hope — Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) maintains hope when any reasonable person would have lost it, and Red (Morgan Freeman) has to be dragged back into hopefulness after all seems lost. So of course it’s so beloved. Everyone needs something to believe in, right?

Immediately after the screening, retired Tampa Tribune film critic Bob Ross will lead a short discussion and audience Q&A. The session is included with film admission.

The Summer Classics Movie Series is presented by Bank of America. Additional support is provided by J.J. Taylor Distributing, Florida, Inc., New Belgium Brewing, and WEDU-PBS.