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Six Facts About The Shawshank Redemption No One Knows

So you think you know all the trivia about your favorite film? Believe you’ve read all the behind-the-scenes, insider information about how it got made? Convinced you’ve seen and heard all the secrets and off-the-record comments behind the IMDB’s number one movie of all time?


Ok, so you know about “Exodus” and the Bible and the rock hammer. You know that the original ending was supposed to be a shot of Red’s bus, driving away. You know that the building was scheduled for demolition on the first day of shooting. And that Redford, Newman, Eastwood, Charlie Sheen, and Tom Cruise were all considered at some point to play the leads.

But there are 6 more facts we at the Shawshank Woodshop have uncovered that few people know. And we’re happy to share them with you now:

Number 6: Here’s something that you know, but you don’t really think about: the film includes the deaths of five main characters, who are all seen on-screen: Andy’s wife, Glenn Quentin, Tommy Williams, Brooks Hatlen, and Samuel Norton --- the last two by suicide, the last three we in the audience witness on screen. If you count the implication that Andy has also killed himself, that’s pretty heavy emotional burden for a movie to carry. In fact, it’s highly unlikely for a film in which two main characters take their lives, and yet he movie becomes a world-wide favorite. Can you think of a popular film that features the suicides of two or more main characters? We can’t.

Number 5. There were actually two safes made for Warden Norton’s office. One went in the wall in the Warden’s office, the second one went into a fake wall, and didn’t have a back on it, so that cinematographer Roger Deakins could shoot footage of the Warden and Andy through the open door of the second safe. Interestingly, about three years ago, in a Facebook post, someone claimed to own the second safe, implying it was stolen from the set. Hmmmm…

Number 4: At just about the exact halfway point in the movie, Andy makes a statement that confirms that music is at the heart of his and Red’s redemption. He states that we all need music in order to remind us that there’s hope in our lives. He points to his head and his heart, and says we need music so we don’t forget…

“That’s the beauty of music, They can’t… get that from ya.. Haven’t you ever felt that way about music?”

“Played a mean harmonica as a younger man. Lost interest in it thought. Didn’t make much sense in here.” “Here’s where it makes the most sense. You need it, so you don’t forget.”


“Forget that there are… places in the world that aren’t… made out of stone, that… there’s something inside… that they can’t get to, that they… can’t touch, that’s yours.”

“What are you talkin’ bout?”

“Hope.” Basically, Andy reminds Red that we need music to remind us that wherever we are in life, whatever obstacles we face, we still have hope. Andy plays Mozart, Red plays the harmonica. Music helped Andy maintain hope, and ultimately he convinced Red that hope isn’t a dangerous thing that can drive a man insane. But rather, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and that no good thing ever dies. That’s how music lies at the heart of Red and Andy’s redemption.

Number 3. James Gandolfini had originally signed on to portray Bogs Diamond. That’s right: Tony Soprano was pretty much set to play the leader of the Sisters. Thankfully, it all worked out for the better when Mark Rolston eventually took the role, created the ultimate prison psycho, and the rest is history.

Number 2: In real life, Bob Gunton had studied to be a priest at St. Peter’s College in Baltimore, Maryland. Seems like his experience in that seminary helped him to better depict the characteristics he displayed in the role of the righteous (and hypocritically evil) Warden Samuel Norton.

And the Number One Thing Most People REALLY Don’t Know About The Shawshank Redemption:

Frank Darabont had written about a page of dialogue for Andy and Red, as they reunited on the water’s edge in that warm place with no memory. But when he shot the helicopter footage, he realized the conversation wasn’t needed: pulling away and letting the men have their reunion moment in privacy invoked stronger feelings for the audience, so he decided not to use the dialogue after all. But here it is, as it appeared in the screenplay.

Red blows a note on his harmonica.

Andy stands up from his boat.


“Long time.”


“You look like a man who… knows how to get things.” RED

“I’ve been known to locate certain things, from time to time…”

RED picks up a sander and joins ANDY in working on restoring the boat.


PS: Here's one more thing most people don't can see and touch the world's largest collection of Shawshank screen-used and screen-matched prop replicas right here -- exclusively -- at the Shawshank Woodshop. When you call us at (419) 835-5163, be sure and ask about your favorite prop from the movie. Chances are, we not only have it, but we'll let you hold it and take pictures of it. We have a strict "HANDS ON" policy here -- because we believe that movie treasures are to be shown and shared, not locked up.

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