Bank Merchant Andy Defrene is convicted of the murder of his wife and her lover, and sentenced to life imprisonment at Shawshank prison. Life seems to have taken a turn for the worse, but fortunately, Andy befriends some of the other inmates, in particular, a character is known only as Red. Over time Andy finds ways to live out life with relative ease as one can in a prison, leaving a message for all that while the body may be locked away in a cell, the spirit can never be truly imprisoned.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Top Movie Quotes
Andy Dufresne: [in letter to Red] Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
Andy Dufresne: Get busy living, or get busy dying.
Red: [narrating] Andy Dufresne – who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.
1967 Parole Hearings Man: Ellis Boyd Redding, your files say you’ve served 40 years of a life sentence. Do you feel you’ve been rehabilitated?
Red: Rehabilitated? Well, now let me see. You know, I don’t have any idea what that means.
1967 Parole Hearings Man: Well, it means that you’re ready to rejoin society…
Red: I know what you think it means, sonny. To me, it’s just a made up word. A politician’s word, so young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie, and have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?
1967 Parole Hearings Man: Well, are you?
Red: There’s not a day goes by I don’t feel regret. Not because I’m in here, because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can’t. That kid’s long gone, and this old man is all that’s left. I got to live with that. Rehabilitated? It’s just a bullshit word. So you go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don’t give a shit.
Red: Same old shit, different day
Andy Dufresne: If they ever try to trace any of those accounts, they’re gonna end up chasing a figment of my imagination.
Red: Well, I’ll be damned. Did I say you were good? Shit, you’re a Rembrandt!
Andy Dufresne: Yeah. The funny thing is – on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.
Red: [narrating] Sometimes it makes me sad, though… Andy being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.
Andy Dufresne: I was in the path of the tornado… I just didn’t expect the storm would last as long as it has.
Andy Dufresne: What about you? What are you in here for?
Red: Murder, same as you.
Andy Dufresne: Innocent?
Red: [shakes his head] Only guilty man in Shawshank.
Red: [narrating] Forty years I been asking permission to piss. I can’t squeeze a drop without say-so.
Brooks: Easy peasy japanesey.
Red: Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.
Heywood: The Count of Monte Crisco…
Floyd: That’s “Cristo” you dumb shit.
Heywood: …by Alexandree Dumb-ass. Dumb-ass.
Andy Dufresne: Dumb-ass? “Dumas”. You know what it’s about? You’ll like it, it’s about a prison break.
Red: We oughta file that under “Educational” too, oughten we?
Red: [narrating] I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.
Andy Dufresne: Red. If you ever get out of here, do me a favor.
Red: Sure, Andy. Anything.
Andy Dufresne: There’s a big hayfield up near Buxton. You know where Buxton is?
Red: Well, there’s… there’s a lot of hayfields up there.
Andy Dufresne: One in particular. It’s got a long rock wall with a big oak tree at the north end. It’s like something out of a Robert Frost poem. It’s where I asked my wife to marry me. We went there for a picnic and made love under that oak and I asked and she said yes. Promise me, Red. If you ever get out… find that spot. At the base of that wall, you’ll find a rock that has no earthly business in a Maine hayfield. Piece of black, volcanic glass. There’s something buried under it I want you to have.
Red: What, Andy? What’s buried under there?
Andy Dufresne: [turns to walk away] You’ll have to pry it up… to see.
Red: [narrating] I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.
Red: I don’t know; every man has his breaking point.
Red: [narrating] We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the lords of all creation. As for Andy – he spent that break hunkered in the shade, a strange little smile on his face, watching us drink his beer.
Andy Dufresne: She was beautiful. God I loved her. I just didn’t know how to show it, that’s all. I killed her, Red. I didn’t pull the trigger, but I drove her away. And that’s why she died, because of me.
Warden Samuel Norton: I believe in two things: discipline and the Bible. Here you’ll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord; your ass belongs to me. Welcome to Shawshank.
Red: I’d like to think that the last thing that went through his head, other than that bullet, was to wonder how the hell Andy Dufresne ever got the best of him.
Warden Samuel Norton: [after Andy escapes] Well?
Red: Well what?
Warden Samuel Norton: I see you two all the time, you’re thick as thieves, you are. He musta said *something*.
Red: Honest, Warden, not a word.
Warden Samuel Norton: [frustrated] Lord, it’s a miracle! Man up and vanished like a fart in the wind! Nothing left but some damn rocks on the windowsill. And that cupcake on the wall! Let’s ask her, maybe she knows.
Warden Samuel Norton: [to poster] What say you there, fuzzy-britches? Feel like talking? Aw, guess not. Why should she be any different?
[hefting one of Andy’s rocks]
Warden Samuel Norton: This is a conspiracy, that’s what it is.
Warden Samuel Norton: One… big… damn conspiracy! And everyone’s in on it, including *her*!
[Throws a rock at the poster, the rock goes right through it and they hear it clattering. Norton puts his arm through the torn poster and rips it away from the wall, revealing Andy’s escape tunnel]
Red: These walls are funny. First you hate ’em, then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.
Heywood: Shit. I could never get like that.
Prisoner: Oh yeah? Say that when you been here as long as Brooks has.
Red: Goddamn right. They send you here for life, and that’s exactly what they take. The part that counts, anyway.
Red: [narrating] In 1966, Andy Dufresne escaped from Shawshank prison. All they found of him was a muddy set of prison clothes, a bar of soap, and an old rock hammer, damn near worn down to the nub. I remember thinking it would take a man six hundred years to tunnel through the wall with it. Old Andy did it in less than twenty. Oh, Andy loved geology. I imagine it appealed to his meticulous nature. An ice age here, million years of mountain building there. Geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes really, pressure, and time. That, and a big goddamn poster. Like I said, in prison a man will do most anything to keep his mind occupied. Turns out Andy’s favorite hobby was totin’ his wall out into the exercise yard, a handful at a time. I guess after Tommy was killed, Andy decided he’d been here just about long enough. Andy did like he was told, buffed those shoes to a high mirror shine. The guards simply didn’t notice. Neither did I… I mean, seriously, how often do you really look at a mans shoes? Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit smelling foulness I can’t even imagine, or maybe I just don’t want to. Five hundred yards… that’s the length of five football fields, just shy of half a mile.
Andy Dufresne: That’s the beauty of music. They can’t get that from you… Haven’t you ever felt that way about music?
Red: I played a mean harmonica as a younger man. Lost interest in it though. Didn’t make much sense in here.
Andy Dufresne: Here’s where it makes the most sense. You need it so you don’t forget.
Andy Dufresne: Forget that… there are places in this world that aren’t made out of stone. That there’s something inside… that they can’t get to, that they can’t touch. That’s yours.
Red: What’re you talking about?
Andy Dufresne: Hope.
Red: [narrating] Not long after the warden deprived us of his company, I got a postcard in the mail. It was blank, but the postmark said Fort Hancock, Texas. Fort Hancock… right on the border. That’s where Andy crossed. When I picture him heading south in his own car with the top down, it always makes me laugh. Andy Dufresne… who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side. Andy Dufresne… headed for the Pacific.
Andy Dufresne: [in a letter to Red] Dear Red. If you’re reading this, you’ve gotten out. And if you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further. You remember the name of the town, don’t you?
Andy Dufresne: I could use a good man to help me get my project on wheels. I’ll keep an eye out for you and the chessboard ready. Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well. Your friend. Andy.
Andy Dufresne: Bad luck, I guess. It floats around. It’s got to land on somebody. It was my turn, that’s all. I was in the path of the tornado. I just didn’t expect the storm would last as long as it has.
Fat Ass: I don’t belong here! I want to go home! I want my mother!
Another Prisoner: I had your mother, she wasn’t that great!
Warden Samuel Norton: [to new inmates, after explaining the prison routine] Any questions?
Prisoner: When do we eat?
Captain Hadley: [Approaches prisoner] You eat when we say you eat. You piss when we say you piss, and you shit when we say you shit. You got that, you maggot dick motherfucker?
Andy Dufresne: You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific?
Andy Dufresne: They say it has no memory. That’s where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory.
Warden Samuel Norton: Lord! It’s a miracle! Man up and vanished like a fart in the wind!
District Attorney: And that also is very convenient, isn’t it, Mr. Dufresne?
Andy Dufresne: Since I am innocent of this crime, sir, I find it decidedly *inconvenient* that the gun was never found.
[after Tommy told the story of how he got arrested]
Andy Dufresne: Maybe it’s time for you to switch careers.
Tommy Williams: Huh?
Andy Dufresne: What I mean is, you don’t seem to be a very good thief, maybe you should try something else.
Tommy Williams: Yeah, well, what the hell do you know about it Capone? What are you in for?
Andy Dufresne: Me? My lawyer fucked me. Everybody’s innocent in here. Didn’t you know that?
Red: [narrating] The first night’s the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in naked as the day you were born, skin burning and half blind from that delousing shit they throw on you, and when they put you in that cell… and those bars slam home… that’s when you know it’s for real. A whole life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it.
Boggs: Now, I’m gonna open my fly and you’re gonna swallow what I give ya to swallow. And after you swallow mine you’re gonna swallow Rooster’s cause ya done broke his nose and I think he oughta have something to show for it.
Andy Dufresne: Anything you put in my mouth you’re gonna lose.
Boggs: Naw, you don’t understand. You do that and I’ll put all eight inches of steel in your ear.
Andy Dufresne: All right. But you should know that sudden serious brain injury causes the victim to bite down hard. In fact, I hear the bite reflex is so strong they have to pry the victims jaws open with a crowbar.
Boggs: Where do you get this shit?
Andy Dufresne: I read it. You know how to read, you ignorant fuck?
Red: I find I’m so excited that I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at a start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.
Red: [narrating] His first night in the joint, Andy Dufresne cost me two packs of cigarettes. He never made a sound.
Warden Samuel Norton: [after Andy escapes] I want him found. Not tomorrow, not after breakfast – *now*.
Red: The man likes to play chess; let’s get him some rocks.