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The Shawshank Redemption

Andy Dufresne’s Bible

1994 saw the release of The Shawshank Redemption, a film based on a Stephen King novella and directed by Frank Darabont. Although box office figures were low, it was well received by critics and was nominated for 7 Oscars. It is now considered a classic after huge success on VHS and DVD and is currently ranked at number 1 in IMDB’s list of all time favourite films. A timeless story of hope, and the survival of the human spirit through adversity.

Tim Robbins plays Andy Dufresne, a banker wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. In prison he quickly befriends Ellis Redding played by Morgan Freeman and the movie follows their lives and friendship over a period of 20 years. Ultimately Dufresne escapes, and as his elaborate plan is revealed, this Bible becomes the central prop.

Earlier in the film, the warden (played by Bob Gunton) hands Dufresne the bible and tells him that “Salvation lies within” a reference to the religious regime that operates there for all inmates. In the final payoff, the warden finds that his secret and illegal bookkeeping accounts have been switched during the escape with Andy’s Bible. In the front of the book Robbins character has penned “Dear Warden, you were right, salvation lay within”. Turning the page to the very appropriate Exodus chapter, Gunton then finds the perfect outline of the tiny rock hammer that Dufresne used to patiently tunnel his way out. The warden knows he is cornered and kills himself to avoid arrest and a lifetime in his own prison.

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