A meek banker named Andy Dufresne is wrongfully convicted of murdering both his wife and her lover in 1947. He is sent to Shawshank State Prison for a life sentence. While there, he finds a friend in Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding. While at Shawshank, he is beaten and raped repeatedly by a gang while working in the prison laundry, and the corrupt warden and his lieutenant are abusive to Andy to the extent of commiting crimes on the way. Andy gets a poster of Raquel Welch and adores it, which nobody else understands. He tells Red that he is planning an escape, but only Red believes he can pull it off.
Andy has hope that he will escape from the dreadful prison, a hope that will make him look into the very depths of his soul. At the very end, the warden cannot find Andy, and discovers that the poster of Raquel Welch was so important to Andy because it was covering the escape tunnel he was digging in his cell for twenty years with Red's rock hammer. Andy has done what everybody else said he couldn't do, he escaped from Shawshank Prison by crawling through a sewage pipe and washing in a thunderstorm. Using underground methods and money he secretly did hide from the warden he manages to escape from the region and expose the corrupt activities of the warden and his lieutenant. The lieutenant is arrested and the warden commits suicide. Red has been paroled after serving forty years in prison. Through a secret message of Andy he later finds out, whre Andy is. He skips the border to Texas to live in Mexico with Andy.
- Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne
- Morgan Freeman as Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding
- Bob Gunton as Warden Samuel Norton
- William Sadler as Heywood
- Clancy Brown as Capt. Byron Hadley
- Gil Bellow as Tommy Williams
- Mark Rolston as Bogs Diamond
- James Whitmore as Brooks Hatlen
The film is regarded among the greatest films of all time, and one of the best Stephen King Adaptations.
The film is ranked #1 on IMDB's Top 250 list.