Is Shawshank Redemption a True Story?
Published April 22, 2022
The American prison drama film was released to positive reviews 27 years ago, but is Shawshank Redemption a true story? Despite its initial box office flop, The Shawshank Redemption has now been hailed as one of cinema’s most appreciated films. Along with seven Academy Award nominations, Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption is the highest-rated film of all time on IMDb. In 2015, the Library of Congress (LC) selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry (NFR).
Shawshank Redemption Overview
The Shawshank Redemption follows the story of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a banker that spends the next 19 years planning to escape from the Shawshank State Penitentiary. Dufresne befriends fellow convict and contraband smuggler Ellis Redding, a.k.a. Red, (Morgan Freeman), the film’s narrator, who unintentionally helps the banker with the equipment necessary for his escape. Unfortunately, the movie never tells why Red is imprisoned, despite the fact that he serves as the film’s narrator.
Based on Stephen King Novella
The Shawshank Redemption is not, or based on, a true story; it is an adaptation of a 1982 novella, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, from Stephen King. The story originally appeared in Different Seasons, a compilation of four King stories based around the four seasons of the year. In the early 1990s, Frank Darabont adapted King’s novella into a screenplay, cutting Rita Hayworth from the title to prevent confusion. The Shawshank Redemption marked Darabont’s theatrical debut as a filmmaker, although it was neither his first or last adaptation of King’s work.
Darabont’s first screenwriting and directing credit is for a 1983 short film adaptation of King’s story “The Woman in the Room,” which was published originally in the 1978 anthology Night Shift. King charged the filmmaker merely a dollar for the rights to adapt “The Woman in the Room” into a short film, which allowed Darabont to return in 1987 for Rita Hayworth as well as Shawshank Redemption. King received $5,000 from Darabont for the rights to adapt the prison drama into a feature film following his screenwriting credit on A Nightmare on Elm Street 3. Darabont has partnered with King on numerous occasions since The Shawshank Redemption, most recently on another period prison drama, The Green Mile.
Is Shawshank Redemption a True Story?
Given that The Shawshank Redemption is not based on a real-life story, why do some people think it is? It could be influenced by the similarities between Darabont’s film and a real-life escapee held in the same penitentiary. Although the story and the prison are located in Maine, The Shawshank Redemption was filmed in Mansfield at the Ohio State Reformatory. Coincidentally, in 1959, Frank Freshwaters escaped from the Ohio State Reformatory after serving a 20-year term. While Freshwaters, like Dufresne, recognized the benefits of being friends with jail officials, he did not dig to freedom. Additionally, the criminal was caught 56 years after his escape, a situation that would have significantly affected the finale of The Shawshank Redemption.
Try GlobalTel & Reduce Your Jail Call Costs By Up To 90%
GlobalTel’s inmate calling service lowers jail call rates by up to 90% for jail calls from US facilities. Sign up now and use the special jail call phone number we create for you to eliminate the long distance jail call fees. Try GlobalTel for only $45.99 for 90 days. Make US/domestic and international jail calls at the local rate and stay connected to your incarcerated loved ones for less. Learn more about how to sign up for calls from inmates here.
About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn is an SEO Specialist with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Before launching a career in SEO, she started as a content writer for various digital magazines and renowned publications. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage other people to speak up.