By Kriti Rana
Back in Time is ED’s newspaper-like column that reports an incident from the past as though it has happened just yesterday. It allows the reader to re-live it several years later, on the date it had occurred. This time, we take you Back in Time to the release of The Shawshank Redemption.
September 24, 1994: ‘The Shawshank Redemption,’ a film produced by ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3’ producer, Niki Marvin premiered yesterday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, here in Los Angeles. The film, directed by Frank Darabont and starring Morgan Freeman of ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ fame and Tim Robbins is based on the Stephen King novella ‘Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,’ and is set to have a limited release today, while having a wider, nationwide release in the weeks to come. was released.
The film follows the story of a banker named Andy Dufresne (Robbins) who is imprisoned for life for the murder of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of being innocent. The film is about his life in prison, and is told through the lens of Ellis ‘Red’ Boyd, a fellow convict and ‘fixer’ with whom Andy develops a strong friendship and brotherhood.
The Shawshank Redemption has opened to almost universal acclaim from viewers and critics alike with people praising its emotional depth and narrative and the performances by the entire cast. However, the film is yet to set the box office on fire and the initial collections have been disappointing for much of the cast and crew of the film. However, there is hope that The Shawshank Redemption might recover its money and make a profit when it opens for a wider release in the coming weeks.
As it turned out, The Shawshank Redemption didn’t set the cash registers on fire and didn’t make any box office records. In fact, it was a major disappointment at the cinema.
However, despite the poor collections, the film went on to be nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Actor (Freeman) and Best Picture (which it lost to Forrest Gump).
In 2007, it was included in the American Film Institute’s 100 Years… 100 Movies. In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
The Shawshank Redemption also happens to be the highest rated film on IMDb (9.3. Although, do read the story of how the film went on to be the highest rated film. Spoiler alert: It has something to do with The Dark Knight and The Godfather)
Despite being a flop at the box office, the film enjoys a huge following and popularity among viewers even to this day. Along with Pulp Fiction, another film that released that same year, The Shawshank Redemption has redefined the definition of a cult film and remains a favorite among movie buffs even after all these years.
The film’s impact has extended to beyond the shelves of movie buffs though. The Oak tree under which Andy left a note for Red in the film, for instance, has become a symbol of hope for many.
The original prison site, parts of the Ohio State Penitentiary have now become a tourist attraction, with many of the rooms and props such as the false pipe through which Andy escapes being preserved for tourists and curious visitors alike. Finally, it’s not every film that gets to inspire episodes of Family Guy and The Simpsons from time to time.
Even after more than twenty years, the film still hasn’t lost its charm. It continues to be considered as one of the greatest films ever made and the list of its fans keeps on growing all across the globe.
Freeman and Robbins have stated that they receive praise for the movie everywhere they go and Stephen King has said that it is one of the best adaptations of his works.
Watch this film, if you haven’t. If you have, watch it again. Watch it if you have even the remotest of interest in films. Watch it again to cherish what a lovely film The Shawshank Redemption is, and to realize that hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and that no good thing, like this film, ever dies.
Editor’s Note: It’s a travesty Shawshank and Pulp Fiction lost out on the Best Picture Oscar to Forrest Gump.
Image Sources: Google Images
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