The Shawshank Redemption

Question: I am wondering if the scene at the tree in Buxton where Freeman goes to keep his promise to Andy, is the same tree location used in the movie Robin Hood with Morgan Freeman? It sure does look to be the same rock fence and tree on a hill.

Mariellen Lamb

Question: I don't think this is ever answered in the movie, so could someone tell me approximately how much time has elapsed since Andy's escape, until he meets up with Red on the beach in Mexico? Or until Red gets paroled?

Answer: Andy escapes from Shawshank in August 1966, as evidenced by the date on the paper that Norton reads shortly before his suicide. Red's parole comes up the following year, 1967, exact date unknown. He then works at the store for an unspecified but short period of time before fulfilling his promise to Andy to go and find the box buried in the field - from the greenery visible, most likely in the mid-to-late summer - and he then heads to Mexico. In all likelihood, the total time between Andy's escape and he and Red being united is about a year, give or take a couple of months either way.

Tailkinker Premium member

Plausible, but the question asked if the real time frame/date was addressed in the movie. I believe the answer is No. The date of escape was stated as 1966, but Red's release date was not formally indicated.

Question: Stupid, random question but I'll ask anyway. If there was a grate in the pipe that he escaped from, Andy would'be been screwed at that point huh?

Answer: To put it mildly. Red addresses it in his narration in the novella: "Here's a joke even funnier than the parole would have been: Andy breaks into the sewer line, crawls through five hundred yards of choking, shit-smelling darkness, and comes up against a heavy-gauge mesh screen at the end of it all. Ha, ha, very funny."

Answer: Randall Stephens. And strictly speaking, he didn't "help" Norton create the fake person...he did it on his own initiative, to launder Norton's ill-gotten gains. If Norton knew about Randall Stephens at all, he likely didn't understand the purpose but trusted that Andy was doing it for his (Norton's) own good.

Question: When Andy tells the warden how Tommy knows who really murdered his wife, the warden sympathetically says that Tommy made up the story to impress Andy, and he's surprised that Andy believed it. He also says they'd never be able to find that Elmo guy, and even if they did, he'd never confess. Isn't the warden essentially admitting he thinks that Andy is not guilty? Otherwise he'd just say 'I don't believe you, I know you were the one who killed your wife.'.

Brian Katcher

Chosen answer: The warden doesn't care whether Andy is innocent or guilty, only that his money-making schemes continue (with Andy's help).

Question: Andy Dufrense sent the accounting ledger to the Portland Daily Bugle, this is how they found out about the fraud schemes, but how did they find out about the murder of Tommy Williams? It was in the headline "Corruption, Murder at Shawshank"

Answer: The information about Tommy's death was in the letter that Andy sent along with the ledger. In it, he explained everything that was happening at Shawshank. He sent the accounting ledger as well because he knew that: a)without proof, the letter would be ignored and: b)that the fraud and corruption would be the only thing that would actually get the warden and Hadley arrested as there was no proof of Tommy's murder.

Guy

Question: I'm not sure if this is an actual mistake or a question: when Andy is escaping, we see him climb down something before he leaves the prison, (scaffolding, I think) and he is wearing boots or shoes of some kind. How could he do that since he left his shoes in the shoebox for the warden to find? The warden's shoes were safely tucked away in the plastic bag Andy had attached to his foot by the rope. It wasn't like he could carry a spare pair when he went to the warden's office to close up for the night.

Answer: Either prisoners are given more than one pair or Andy obtained another. He does have a lot of pull at the prison. Getting another pair of shoes would be trivial for him.

Grumpy Scot

Question: What is the white powder made out of that they throw on them at the beginning of the movie? I mean, I know it is a delousing agent, but what specifically is it? What is it made out of?

rstill

Chosen answer: It's an insecticide (probably DDT, which was in wide use in the late 1940's) to rid the body of lice before prisoners are admitted into the prison. With all the bodily contact in a prison, a lice infestation would not only affect the inmates but the guards as well. It's also a health hazard.

Question: Why does Andy go to Norton (warden) about the information that Tommy provides him rather than see his lawyer? While he may not think Norton would go to the lengths he did to keep him there, what advantage would seeing the warden before a lawyer do?

Lummie Premium member

Chosen answer: You're right--it's a character mistake, but an explainable one. Andy probably figured that because he was doing so much work for the Warden (accounting for dirty money, kickbacks, tax compliance, etc.), that the Warden would use his power to get Andy a new trial. Sounds like a fair trade--Andy makes sure there's no way for anyone to disover the illegality of the laundering, and the Warden gets Andy pardoned. What Andy didn't realize, however, was that the Warden didn't want to risk having Andy, after his pardon & release, reveal the details of the illegal schemes that were going on. So to make sure Andy got the message that he was going nowhere and would reveal nothing, he was give the two months in solitary confinement (as you know from the movie, of course).

Matty Blast

Answer: It was the 1940's to 1960's. Prisoners did not have the same rights and access to the legal system as they do today. Look what happened when a new prisoner cried...In those days all they had to say was "he got out of line and we had to beat him and he died." Prisons were not scrutinized - they were there to hold "bad" people and no one really cared what went on in them.

Question: If Norton had helped Andy get a new trial, would it really work? There was no evidence that Elmo Blatch committed the murders.

MikeH

Chosen answer: The sole piece of evidence was to be Tommy's testimony, which could have exonerated Andy even if it didn't prove that Blatch was the killer. When Tommy was murdered by Hadley under orders from Norton, that ended any chance of Andy getting a new trial.

zendaddy621

Answer: I would say that Andy getting a NEW trial would be virtually impossible. For a prisoner to get a new trial, their attorney has to file an appeal with any information "supposedly" exonerating their client and/or proves some kind of malfeasance or errors in the original trial. Now courts rarely like to ever grant new trials to begin with so one must have awfully damning evidence to get one. I can only surmise that it would've been even harder during that Era than now as well. Now here's the problem or rub for Andy. All of the evidence, which is to say one piece in the testimony, wouldn't likely even be allowed into record or entry as evidence. First, it would likely fall under the here-say rules and deemed inadmissible in court... However, say even Tommy stayed alive and testified to what he knew and it could be entered in as evidence, it would do nothing without verification/corroboration. Now I can't remember if anything was said to whatever became of Elmo Blatch... I never read the book either so I can't say... But HAD Mr Blatch still been alive at that point, he would have been investigated and interviewed. If any evidence was found that pointed to Mr Blatch and/or Mr Blatch admitted his guilt, only then would Andy likely have enough for a new trial which would almost certainly end with Andy's conviction vacated especially if Blatch admitted it. However, via the film, all evidence leads to Andy and there's almost no chance Blatch would have admitted his own guilt especially since he relished the fact that someone else was paying for his crime. The only hope Andy would have had is that Mr Blatch had at least one or more other cell mates that he also spilled his guts to. Then Andy might have some hope that enough admissible testimony might award him a new trial. Problem is that none of that would have completely exonerated him and he'd just be retried. Which would still point to him because even if they could prove that Blatch had been in the area and his "supposed" confession, it would be circumstantial evidence and not likely to overcome the physical evidence that pointed straight at Andy. Hence Andy would just be back into jail. There's a lot that would have to go right or break Andy's way for him to get exonerated. He was the perfect patsy which was even an intended outcome by Blatch.

Question: Why would Heywood start chanting "fresh fish"? Betting on who will break down is pretty bad, but I understand they probably have nothing better to do. But what was the point of starting the chant? He seems to feel bad when Fatass is beaten to death, but what was he expecting to happen?

MikeH

Answer: They were betting on who would break first out of the new inmates and the chant was meant to incite an emotional outburst from them. Most times, someone will just cry or break down. Heywood wasn't expecting Fatass to completely lose it and felt guilty because of his actions. This is one the first indicators in the film that some of the long term inmates like Heywood still have their humanity.

BaconIsMyBFF

Question: Red quotes Andy a price of $10 for the rock hammer, and associated fees. Seems like a lot of money for the time period, doesn't it? And what did prisoners get paid, if anything?

Answer: $10 in the '40s is equivalent to roughly $180-$190 today, so yes, rather pricey for an item that retails for under $20 nowadays. Still, Red charges his fees, plus a significant mark-up due to the increased risk of smuggling contraband that could be perceived (by prison officials) as a weapon. The estimate of the cost of the hammer comes from the novel. And no, the prisoners likely weren't paid (even if, at that time, they had the option, the warden is so corrupt he'd likely keep their wages for himself); according to the novel, Andy smuggled a few hundred dollars into prison with him, hidden in...let's just call it a secret place.

Question: Andy didn't kill his wife and her lover. Still, he says in the beginning of the film that he did do something wrong. What does he mean by that?

Answer: He later tells Red that he was a distant man and a workaholic whose neglect drove his wife into the arms of another man, where she was killed. Andy thinks if he had been a more attentive husband, she never would have strayed, and therefore blames himself for her death.

Brian Katcher

Question: Is the bank teller the same actress shown on the parole board when Red is paroled?

Answer: No. Although IMDb lists the bank teller as Claire Slemmer, her list of credits does not include being on the parole board. The actress playing the board member is not even listed in the credits.

lartaker1975

Question: Towards the beginning, after the guard captain beats up the fat guy, the says "call the trustees and have them take him to the infirmary." What are the "trustees"?

rstill

Chosen answer: As referenced in this movie, trustees are prisoners that have earned the right to work in parts of the prison - in this case, the hospital wing. The name implies that they can be trusted to do the required work with minimal supervision.

BGraz

Question: With so many bank accounts under a phony name, where were all the monthly bank statements going?

mrfrede

Answer: Bank statements weren't mailed as they were in more recent times. In those days, when you went to the bank, a passbook or ledger was updated and provided to you. Remember, in those times everything was hand-written and manually recorded. Statements weren't created automatically and mass-mailed.

Question: Is it really possible that the guards left Andy's cell completely unchecked after his deal with Norton? I mean, no all round inspections, structural maintenance or even repainting - anything that would have revealed his escape plan at once - for 20 straight years?

Dangar

Answer: The prison is known to be corrupt and thus maintenance would be at a bare minimum. Prison guards rarely actually go into the cells unless there is concrete information of a smuggled item etc. Andy was well liked by most of the inmates so no-one would really snitch on him. He was also working for Norton so his cell had a lot of things a prison cell should not have - books, the poster, the rock collection, a table etc. Red narrates that Andy worked for so long to escape, working in small increments, chipping away bit by bit and dumping the dirt outside. Guards, managers etc would change over 20 years and nothing happened that would warrant a renovation.

Answer: Well they probably did do inspections, but of the common things like the mattress and toilet. They don't check behind the poster, I think most try their best to ignore it. None of the guards expected he was making a hole behind it, since that's not possible, in their eyes. I hardly doubt they paint (or plaster) a cell that's occupied by an inmate. And the construction work is so expensive and time-consuming, they don't do structural maintenance unless it's really necessary (meaning when something falls off).

lionhead

Answer: He wanted Jake to have his freedom. He couldn't keep him at the halfway house, and perhaps Brooks suspected he wouldn't be around much longer.

Brian Katcher

Question: How did the inmates on rooftops manage to get their hands on beer?

Answer: It was given to them by the guards.

lionhead

But isn't beer banned in prisons?

Guards can be bribed to bring in contraband.

raywest Premium member

Part of Andy's agreement with Hadley for helping him with his taxes is that the prisoners working on the roof are given some beer as a reward.

Phaneron Premium member

Andy gives Hadley (the head guard) financial advice on how to keep a large sum of money, which he (Hadley) received as an inheritance. Andy, being an accountant, offers to do all the necessary tax work, in exchange for three beers apiece for his fellow inmates. Hadley agrees, and arranges for the beer to be delivered and given to them. (All of this is shown in the scene immediately prior to that in which the inmates are drinking beer).

Answer: Under all but rare circumstances, alcoholic beverages are not allowed in US prisons, which was also the case in 1949, when this scene takes place; the significance of this scene is to establish that Andy began to enjoy special privileges while incarcerated, which is also how he eventually got the warden to allow him to establish the prison library.

zendaddy621

Question: When the warden goes to see Andy in the hole, he has a pin on his lapel. Does anyone know what it's for?

Answer: I can't say for sure in the movie but in the novella it is described as being a 30 year church pin. It's reasonable to assume that it's the same in the movie.

Bane91

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: In the original novel that the Shawshank Redemption is based on, Red is an Irishman which is where his nickname came from. In the movie, when Andy asks Red where his nickname came from, Red pauses and says "Maybe it's because I'm Irish" with a hint of sarcasm.

More trivia for The Shawshank Redemption

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