The Shawshank Redemption

Corrected entry: When Andy escapes through the tunnel he had dug during his 19 years at Shawshank it looks several meters long. Since his cell was on an upper floor it must have been through a wall of unheard-of thickness. (01:51:15)


Correction: There's no shot in the movie which gives a clear idea of exactly how long the tunnel is. It is not stretching credibility to imagine that a prison would have unusually thick walls.


Corrected entry: Except Red getting a little grey by the end of the movie, none of the other characters, be it a prisoner or a guard, shows any signs of aging over a time span of 19 years.


Correction: Both the Wardens and Andy's hair are getting greyer (Very clear in case of warden Norton). Andy also starts wearing reading glasses. Also, Frank Darabont makes it clear in the directors commentary that he never wanted to have Morgan or Tim in heavy make-up to age them because he said it looked too much like... well, heavy make-up. He wanted the changes to be subtle


Corrected entry: When Andy is in solitary Warden Norton threatens him, saying he'll take him out of his "one-bunk Hilton and cast him down with the sodomites". Being moved to another cell would be a huge problem because of the tunnel he's digging, but the reference to a "one-bunk Hilton", even though it's a direct quote from the novel, makes no sense in the context of the movie. In the book it refers to the fact that Andy is unique among the prisoners in having a cell to himself. But in the movie, all of the prisoners have cells of their own - every prisoner has a "one-bunk Hilton", so there's no reason to refer to Andy's situation as special.

Correction: When Norton refers to it as a "Hilton", he means the luxuries Andy is allowed. His cell is jam-packed with obviously contraband material like the rock blankets, posters and pictures on the walls, but the guards have let him get away with it for several years. The "one bunk" is just further description, rather than highlighting that as unusual. For a Hilton, one bunk is still rather down market...


Corrected entry: In the courtroom scene in the beginning, Andy is convicted and sentenced to two life sentences. Even if Andy was representing himself (it appeared there was no defense lawyer present) the State of Maine still has had a Court of Appeals since 1789, yet it seems like Andy doesn't even care about appealing his case.

Leonard Hassen

Correction: Explained in the book. Andy is in such a funk over the trial and results, as well as his cheating wife, it takes him most of a year to decide he wants to live again. Presumably, he begins making appeals then.

Grumpy Scot

Corrected entry: When Brooks is making the rounds with his library cart, he passes Andy a book and the rock hammer, and then keeps on pushing the cart past Andy's cell. But Andy's cell is the last one, and there's nothing else in that direction except a concrete wall - not even a staircase. He should have turned the cart around and gone back the way he came.

Correction: If you watch when the new inmates first walk into their cell you can see a staircaise near the far wall, so it is possible for Brooks to keep on pushing the cart without having to turn around.

Corrected entry: When Andy's cell is searched Hadley comes across a "rock blanket" which Andy explains with his hobby rock shaping and polishing, showing them the chess pieces. No one asks him how he does the shaping - after all he had to hide the rock hammer which Norton later finds in the bible. (00:47:55)


Correction: The "toss in the cells" was not a real inspection. It was an opportunity for Norton to size up Andy. (Red even says that after the scene.) Since it wasn't a serious inspection, Norton neither was interested in conducting a thorough review of Andy's cell nor was intent on discovering the root cause to Andy's rock carving hobby (knowing nothing about it, the rock blanket would seem good enough). Besides, no one actually thought that a prisoner had the resolve to spend 19 years tunneling through a prison wall, piece by piece, to escape. (Red never suspected it, and Norton and the guards stare at the hole in the wall with awe at the end.) It's reasonable to assume that rock hammers, tools, and cutting devices were prohibited in the prison after that ... to prevent prisoners from trying to escape using that method again.

Corrected entry: After Andy escapes through the tunnel and Red is doing the voiceover on the post escape search, Red comments on how Andy swam through "500 yards" of the most fouls smelling stench imaginable..."500 yards, the length of 5 football fields, just shy of half a mile." 500 yards is 1500 feet and a mile is 5280 feet...thus a half mile would be 2640, a far cry from 1500. Bugs me every time I watch it. (01:52:50)

Correction: He doesn't say "exactly half a mile". He says "just shy of half a mile". "Shy" is a relative term. Also, it is reasonable to assume that Red never actually measured the distance of the tunnel and never traced Andy's escape route for himself. So, he only has Andy's estimate of the distance to rely on as well. All in all, the distance is an estimate and should not be taken as an exact measurement. In addition to this, that quote is taken directly from King's original story; thus, blame King if you like but don't blame the filmmakers.

Correction: No, it doesn't. It makes the sound of a glazed ceramic pipe being hit with a brick in a confined space. The sound was recorded on the set - an abandoned prison - as can be seen in the documentary "A Redeeming Feature".

Corrected entry: Inconcievable that Andy would serve nearly 20 years in the same prison let alone the same cell. Surely routine maintenance and modernisation of his cell plus occasional shakedowns would have uncovered his nocturnal tunneling.

Correction: Maybe so, but this is direct from the book, so blame Stephen King, not the filmmakers. The reason, by the way, that Andy's cell was never inspected or shaken down, and why he never had a roommate, was because he was Shawshank's pet financial wizard. Because he was quiet, soft-spoken, and respectful, and did the dirty work the wardens and guards asked of him without complaint, he got to keep his "one-bunk Hilton" (as the story says).

Phil C.

Corrected entry: When Tim Robbins is about to escape through his cell hole, we see in one shot of him unbuttoning his prison shirt revealing a nice looking tie and shirt. The next shot shows his hand placing items in a plastic bag. Then the next shot of him is when he is crawling through the cement hole with his prison shirt on, even though he unbuttoned his prison shirt. He remains with his prison shirt on until he leaves the sewer pipe and into freedom. That's when he takes off his prison shirt, revealing a plain shirt, no shirt with a tie - or even a collar.

Kelsey H.

Correction: He is unbottoning his shirt so that he can remove it, then remove the "good" clothes underneath. He then places the good clothes in the bag so that they'll stay clean while transiting the pipe. Then he puts them on after he gets through.


Corrected entry: When Red is working in the grocery store, he mentions through narration that he 'can't squeeze a drop', i.e. urinate, without permission. They had toilets in their cells and wouldn't have to ask permission.


Correction: He wasn't talking about the time he was in his cell. During the day every single action is controlled by the guards. Hadley expresses it very clearly - 'You eat when we say you eat, you sh*t when we say you sh*t ...' and so on. While Red was working in the woodshop, or in the exercise yard, cinema, etc. everything he did was watched and timed by the guards, including toilet breaks.

Corrected entry: Near the end of the film when the press has been alerted to the goings-on in the Shawshank prison, the police are reading Captain of the Guards, Hatley the Miranda rights - you have the right to remain silent, etc. The Miranda Rights weren't introduced until the year after.

Correction: Actually, Miranda v. Arizona was decided in 1966, the same year Andy escaped and the warden was arrested. Therefore, this isn't necessarily a mistake (depending on what month the arrest scene takes place in). It's actually very accurately portrayed, as well. The arresting officer even uses the Miranda card issued to police in 1966 which has on it exactly what to say.

Corrected entry: My instructor brought this up in my psychology class. Brooks' suicide scene is completely unrealistic. The fall that resulted when he kicked the chair out from under him was nowhere near long enough to break his neck, therefore, he strangled to death. However, when one strangles to death by hanging, the limbs are flailing wildly and convulsions usually occur. Brooks' feet barely twitch.

Correction: Brooks was a very old man. His bones were very weak and brittle, as most geriatrics' bones are. This naturally occurring problem would have been augmented by the very poor nutrition he would have received while in prison. It is entirely plausible for a short fall such as this one to have resulted in a broken neck with this particular individual.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: When Andy is escaping, he uses a large rock to bust through the sewage pipe. He strikes the pipe three times with the rock, and seemingly breaks through. It seems near impossible that any form of rock, especially only swung three times, can bust through what appeared to be a solid metal drainage pipe. Even if that were possible, it seems even more unlikely Andy could then try to shape a hole big enough for him to slip through into the pipe, without wasting too much more time, or being heard.

Correction: Anybody want to deal with reality here? The scene was shot in an abandoned prison - Mansfield Reformatory in Ohio. That's a real sewage pipe in a real prison (albeit an abandoned one) and Tim Robbins sat astride it and smashed a real hole in it with a real rock. The fountain of sewage bursting out of the pipe is impossible and was faked, of course, but for all the rest, it's the real thing, as close to reality as you are going to get. The obvious question? When they needed a retake Robbins slid down the pipe a little and they restaged the whole thing. They aced it on the third take.

Correction: You can tell by then sound the rock makes when it hits the pipe that the pipe is not metal but ceramic. That is why it was relatively easy for Andy to break through them to escape.


Correction: Definitely cast iron, have you ever had to remove an old bathtub in pieces? One hard strike with a small sledgehammer, and cast iron will shatter like porcelain.

Correction: Ceramic is not, nor has ever been used for domestic water, storm or sewer piping. Especially an old building such as this. The pipe has hub-less connections. It would most likely be cast iron or steel per the date.

Corrected entry: At the very start of the movie the lawyer questioning Andy is wearing a grey suit with a pink striped tie, and Andy is wearing a dark suit. When the scene cuts from Andy's flashback for the last time and the lawyer sums up his case, they have literally swapped suits.

Correction: The suits don't change until the third time it cuts back from the flashback, about 5 mins and 30 seconds into the film. At this point, Andy is no longer on the witness stand, and the lawyer is making his closing statement. I think we can assume the trial took more than one day. So it makes sense that the suits change. Further evidence that this isn't a mistake is that they are wearing different ties as well.

Corrected entry: At the end when Andy escapes, he is wearing the warden's shoes and suit shirt, which fit him perfectly. It is obvious neither would fit a man of Andy's frame. (01:52:25)

Correction: We see him wearing the wardens shoes and shirt in the prison one time. He only needs them to avoid suspicion once he gets to town. He then had enough time to buy better fitting stuff before visiting the banks.


Corrected entry: When Norton commits suicide he takes out his gun out of an unlocked desk drawer. Unbelievable behaviour considering that before he had Andy working in his office even after he had left - leaving an unsecured weapon alone with an unguarded prisoner? (01:56:15)


Correction: Andy never worked at that desk, he worked in the outer office. He never knew the gun was in the warden's desk to begin with and it wasn't stored loaded.

No, prior scene when the warden leaves for the night and Andy stays to shine his shoes, Andy is left alone in that office.

Corrected entry: Andy plays Mozart over the public address system of the prison. When Hadley finally breaks through the door after the aria is over the needle is still in the first groove. (01:04:45)


Correction: The needle arm automatically returned there at the end of the track.


Corrected entry: When Tommy is murdered the guard fires 2 quick successive shots. The rifle is a bolt action rifle and could not reasonably fire two shots that quickly.

Correction: This is the edited for TV version. The original version cuts to graphic shots of blood coming from Tommy's wounds. When these scenes are edited out for television, the gun seems to have been fired more quickly.

Phixius Premium member

Corrected entry: It makes no sense that everyone believed Tommy was trying to escape when he was shot. There are no guards in the guard towers at night, and if there were, there would be a guard in every tower, meaning another guard would've seen Hadley shoot Tommy.


Correction: Hadley and the Warden wield considerable power at the prison. They didn't need to convince everyone, they just needed a plausible explanation if there was a police investigation. Hadley could easily intimidate the guards and prisoners into remaining silent.

Factual error: When Red is sitting under the oak tree in 1967 and pulls the money out of the envelope, the top bill is signed by Nicholas F. Brady, who was Secretary of the Treasury September 1988 - January 1993. It's less about reading the handwriting as noting the different appearance of different signatures from different eras. (02:14:40)

More mistakes in The Shawshank Redemption

Red: There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret. Not because I'm in here, or 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 and 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.

More quotes from The Shawshank Redemption

Trivia: When Andy Dufresne makes his escape, and he crawls through the sewer pipe, the sludge in the pipe was made from a mixture of chocolate syrup, sawdust and water. Even today the pipes still smell like cocoa. (Confirmed by the Mansfield, OH Tourism Dept).


More trivia for The Shawshank Redemption

Question: Did the Warden know about the "Randall Stevens" character? At first it would seem that he didn't, since Andy used the identity to clean out the bank accounts and escape to Mexico. On the other hand, how could the Warden make deposits and withdrawals (before Andy's escape) from his bank accounts without noticing?

Matty Blast

Chosen answer: He probably only knows the name. He doesn't want to know anymore, so he can pin the blame on Andy should anything go wrong. He no doubt hasn't even considered that Andy might have ID so he can access the accounts after his escape.

Grumpy Scot

More questions & answers from The Shawshank Redemption

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