The Shawshank Redemption is an American drama film from the year 1994. It was written and directed by Frank Darabont and stars Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Bob Gunton, and others. In this article, we share with you the best and most memorable Shawshank Redemption quotes.
The movie is based on based on the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King from 1982. The movie tells the story of Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins), a banker who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary after he was found guilty in the murders of his wife and her lover, despite claiming he is innocent and hasn’t committed this crime.
During his 20 years stay in prison, Andy becomes close friends with Ellis “Red” Redding (played by Morgan Freeman) and also gets involved in a money-laundering operation that is being led by Samuel Norton (played by Bob Gunton), the prison warden. Things of course don’t stop there, and if you haven’t watched the film, you ought to watch it as soon as possible.
The Shawshank Redemption is on the list of the top rated movies ever both on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. However, it failed early on in theatres when it earned only $16 million when the film’s budget stood on $25 million. People didn’t exactly rush to watch it, and preferred to watch other films that year, like Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump, making it a really difficult competition for The Shawshank Redemption.
Later on, as the film was re-released to the theatres again and was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, more people were convinced to go and watch it. At the end, the film grossed $58.3 million at the box office, making it a success.
In 1995, the film became one of the most rented on VHS, with more than 320,000 copies rented. The film is constantly being cited and quoted to this day all over the world, just for fun and mostly for inspiration. In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected The Shawshank Redemption for preservation in the National Film Registry, for reasons of cultural, historical, or aesthetical significance.
Here is a sneak peek at the quotes in this article:
Table of Contents
- Andy Dufresne The Shawshank Redemption Quotes
- Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding The Shawshank Redemption Quotes
- Warden Norton The Shawshank Redemption Quotes
- Heywood The Shawshank Redemption Quotes
- Captain Hadley The Shawshank Redemption Quotes
- Interesting Facts about The Shawshank Redemption Film
Andy Dufresne The Shawshank Redemption Quotes
Andy Dufresne: Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
Andy Dufresne: I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.
Andy Dufresne: That’s the beauty of music. They can’t take that away from you.
Andy Dufresne: 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 a – there’s a – there’s something inside that’s yours, that they can’t touch.
Andy Dufresne: I don’t waste time on losers, Tommy.
Andy Dufresne: You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has no memory. That’s where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory.
Andy Dufresne: It’s my life. Don’t you understand? It’s my life!
Andy Dufresne: The funny thing is, on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.
Andy Dufresne: She was beautiful. God I loved her. I just didn’t know how to show it, that’s all. I killed her, Red. I didn’t pull the trigger, but I drove her away. And that’s why she died, because of me.
Andy Dufresne: Fear can hold you, prisoner. Hope can set you free.
Andy Dufresne: Anything you put in my mouth you’re gonna lose.
Bogs Diamond: Where do you get this shit?
Andy Dufresne: I read it. You know how to read, you ignorant fuck?
Andy Dufresne: Perhaps it’s time you tried a new profession. What I mean is, you don’t seem to be a very good thief, maybe you should try something else.
Andy Dufresne: Me? My lawyer fucked me. Everybody’s innocent in here. Don’t you know that?
Andy Dufresne: Bad luck, I guess. It floats around. It’s got to land on somebody. It was my turn, that’s all. I was in the path of the tornado. I just didn’t expect the storm would last as long as it has.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Making a few friends, huh Andy?
Andy Dufresne: I wouldn’t say friends. I’m a convicted murderer who provides sound financial planning – it’s a wonderful pet to have.
Andy Dufresne: Dear Warden, you were right. Salvation lay within.
Andy Dufresne: I think a man working outdoors feels more like a man if he can have a bottle of suds. That’s only my opinion, sir.
Andy Dufresne: They broke the door down before I could take requests.
Andy Dufresne: Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh.
Andy Dufresne: Chess. Now there’s a game of kings.
Andy Dufresne: If you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further.
Andy Dufresne: What you hear isn’t half of it. He’s got scams you haven’t even dreamed of. Kickbacks on his kickbacks. There’s a river of dirty money running through this place.
Andy Dufresne: Wow. It only took six years. From now on, I’ll write two letters a week instead of one.
Andy Dufresne: Since I am innocent of this crime, sir, I find it decidedly inconvenient that the gun was never found.
Andy Dufresne: Dear Red. If you’re reading this, you’ve gotten out. And if you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further. You remember the name of the town, don’t you? I could use a good man to help me get my project on wheels. I’ll keep an eye out for you and the chessboard ready. Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well. Your friend. Andy.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding The Shawshank Redemption Quotes
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: I find I’m so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: I must admit I didn’t think much of Andy first time I laid eyes on him; looked like a stiff breeze would blow him over. That was my first impression of the man.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: These walls are funny. First you hate ’em. Then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: I could see why some of the boys took him for snobby. He had a quiet way about him, a walk and a talk that just wasn’t normal around here. He strolled, like a man in a park without a care or a worry in the world, like he had on an invisible coat that would shield him from this place.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: It goes back to what I said about Andy wearing his freedom like an invisibility coat, about how he never really developed a prison mentality. His eyes never got that dull look.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: A whole life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the lords of all creation.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: What was right with him he’d only give you a little at a time. What was wrong with him he kept bottled up inside.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes, really. Pressure and time. That and a big goddamn poster.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: I look back on the way I was then. A young… stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I wanna talk to him. I wanna try and talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can’t. That kid’s long gone. This old man is all that’s left. I gotta 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.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: I wish I could tell you Andy fought the good fight. I wish I could tell you that… But prison is no fairy tale world.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: In prison, a man will do most anything to keep his mind occupied.
Andy Dufresne: Thirty years. Jesus, when you say it like that…
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: …You wonder where it went.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: All I want is to be back where things make sense. Where I won’t have to be afraid all the time. Only one thing stops me. A promise I made to Andy.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: They send you here for life, that’s exactly what they’re taking.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: I like to think the last thing that went through his head other than that bullet, was how the hell that Andy Dufresne got the best of him.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: The man likes to play chess; let’s get him some rocks.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Most new fish come close to madness the first night. Somebody always breaks down crying… The only question is, who’s it going to be? It’s as good a thing to bet on as any, I guess. I had my money on Andy Dufresne.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Andy Dufresne, who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Every man has his breaking point.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t wanna know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you those voices soared, higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Well, I’ll be damned. Did I say you were good? Shit, you’re a Rembrandt!
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Forty years I been asking permission to piss. I can’t squeeze a drop without say-so.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Same old shit, different day.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: I know what you think it means, sonny. To me, it’s just a made up word. A politician’s word, so young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie, and have a job.
Andy Dufresne: What about you? What are you in here for?
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Murder, same as you.
Andy Dufresne: Innocent?
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Only guilty man in Shawshank.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: The first night’s the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in naked as the day you were born, skin burning and half blind from that delousing shit they throw on you, and when they put you in that cell… and those bars slam home… that’s when you know it’s for real. A whole life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it.
Andy Dufresne: I don’t suppose it would help if I told them that I’m not homosexual.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Neither are they. You have to be human first. They don’t qualify.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: There’s a harsh truth to face. No way I’m gonna make it on the outside. All I do anymore is think of ways to break my parole, so maybe they’d send me back. Terrible thing, to live in fear. Brooks Hatlen knew it. Knew it all too well. All I want is to be back where things make sense. Where I won’t have to be afraid all the time. Only one thing stops me. A promise I made to Andy.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: You’re gonna fit right in. Everyone in here is innocent, you know that? Heywood, what you in here for?
Heywood: Didn’t do it. Lawyer fucked me.
Andy Dufresne: Can you get her?
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Take a few weeks.
Andy Dufresne: Weeks?
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Well yeah, Andy. I don’t have her stuffed down the front of my pants right now, I’m sorry to say, but I’ll get her. Relax!
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: The man’s been in here fifty years, Heywood. Fifty years! This is all he knows. In here, he’s an important man. He’s an educated man. Outside, he’s nothin’! Just a used up con with arthritis in both hands.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Tommy Williams came to Shawshank in 1965 on a two-year stretch for B&E. That’s breaking & entering to you. Cops caught him sneaking TV sets out the back door of a JC Penney. Young punk. Mr. Rock and Roll. Cocky as hell. We liked him immediately.
Andy Dufresne: I understand you’re a man who knows how to get things.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: I’m known to locate certain things from time to time.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: There must be a con like me in every prison in America. I’m the guy who can get if for you; cigarettes, a bag of reefer, if that’s your thing, a bottle of brandy to celebrate your kid’s high school graduation, damn near anything within reason. Yes, sir, I’m a regular Sears and Roebuck.
Heywood: Hey, what about me? Crazy old fool goddamn near cut my throat!
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Aw Heywood, you’ve had worse from shaving!
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: One day, when I have a long gray beard and two or three marbles rollin’ around upstairs, they’ll let me out.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: The colossal prick even managed to sound magnanimous.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: The boys always go fishing with first-timers, and they don’t stop until they reel one in.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: It was outdoor detail – and May is one damn fine month to be working outdoors.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: “Red”, my name’s Red.
Warden Norton The Shawshank Redemption Quotes
Warden Norton: Salvation lies within.
Warden Norton: I’m Mr. Norton, the Warden. You are convicted felons. That’s why they’ve sent you to me.
Warden Norton: Rule number one: No blasphemy. I will not have the Lord’s name taken in vain in my prison. The other rules… you’ll figure out as you go along.
Warden Norton: Lord! It’s a miracle! Man up and vanished like a fart in the wind! Nothing left but some damn rocks on the windowsill. And that cupcake on the wall! Let’s ask her, maybe she knows.
Warden Norton: I believe in two things. Discipline and the Bible. Here you’ll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord. Your ass belongs to me. Welcome to Shawshank.
Warden Norton: This is a conspiracy, that’s what it is. One… big… damn conspiracy! And everyone’s in on it, including her!
Warden Norton: Well, let’s say for the moment this Blatch does exist. You think he’d just fall to his knees and cry “Yes, I did it, I confess! Oh, and by the way, add a life term to my sentence.”
Warden Norton: Son, you’re forgetting yourself.
Warden Norton: If you wanna indulge in this fantasy, that’s your business. Don’t make it mine. This meeting is over.
Warden Norton: Don’t you ever mention money to me again, you sorry son of a bitch. Not in this office, not anywhere.
Warden Norton: I want him found. Not tomorrow, not after breakfast – now!
Warden Norton: Mark 13:35, I’ve always liked that one, but I prefer “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Warden Norton: Nothing stops. Nothing… or you will do the hardest time there is. No more protection from the guards. I’ll pull you out of that one-bunk Hilton and cast you down with the Sodomites. You’ll think you’ve been fucked by a train! And the library? Gone… sealed off, brick-by-brick. We’ll have us a little book barbecue in the yard. They’ll see the flames for miles. We’ll dance around it like wild Injuns! You understand me? Catching my drift?… Or am I being obtuse? Give him another month to think about it.
Andy Dufresne: They can’t ignore me forever.
Warden Norton: Sure can. But you write your letters if it makes you happy, I’ll even mail them for, how’s thay?
Heywood The Shawshank Redemption Quotes
Heywood: The Count of Monte Crisco…
Floyd: That’s “Cristo” you dumb shit.
Heywood: …by Alexandree Dumb-ass. Dumb-ass.
Andy Dufresne: Dumb-ass? “Dumas”. You know what it’s about? You’ll like it, it’s about a prison break.
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: We oughta file that under “Educational” too, oughten we?
Andy Dufresne: I just don’t understand what happened in there.
Heywood: Old man’s crazy as a rat in a tin shithouse, is what.
Heywood: Couldn’t play somethin’ good, huh? Hank Williams or something?
Heywood: Red? You saying Andy’s innocent? I mean for real innocent?
Heywood: I’ll take the chubby fat-ass there. Fifth from the front. Put me down for a quarter deck.
Heywood: Hey, Fat Ass. Fat Ass! Talk to me boy! I know you’re there I can hear you breathin’. Don’t you listen to these nitwits you hear me? This place ain’t so bad. Tell you what, I’ll introduce you around, make you feel right at home. I know a couple of big old bull queers that’d just love to make you’re acquaintance. Especially that big, white, mushy butt of yours.
Fat Ass: God! I don’t belong here! I want to go home!
Inmates: We have a winner!
Heywood: And it’s Fat Ass by a nose!
Heywood: Fuck do you care, new fish? Doesn’t fuckin’ matter what his name was. He’s dead.
Heywood: I ain’t seen such a sorry lookin’ heap o’ maggot shit in all my life.
Heywood: Fresh fish! Fresh fish!
Heywood: It’s a fine morning, ain’t it? You know why it’s a fine morning, don’t ya? Come on, set ’em down. I want ’em all lined up, just like a pretty little chorus line. Ah, yes. Richmond, Virginia.
Captain Hadley The Shawshank Redemption Quotes
Captain Hadley: You eat when we say you eat. You piss when we say you piss, and you shit when we say you shit. You got that, you maggot dick motherfucker?
Andy Dufresne: Mr. Hadley, do you trust your wife?
Captain Hadley: Oh that’s funny. You’re gonna look funnier sucking my dick with no teeth.
Andy Dufresne: What I mean is, do you think she’d go behind your back and try to hamstring you?
Captain Hadley: That’s it. Step aside Mert, this fucker’s having himself an accident.
Captain Hadley: You better start making sense.
Captain Hadley: You’re that smart banker who killed his wife, aren’t you? Why should I believe a smart banker like you? So I can end up in here with you?
Captain Hadley: Yeah, fucking A’! I don’t need a smart wife-killing banker to tell me where the bear shit in the buckwheat!
Captain Hadley: Bunch of ball-washing bastards!
Captain Hadley: What is your malfunction, you fat barrel of monkey spunk?
Captain Hadley: If I hear so much as a mouse fart in here the rest of the night I swear by God and sonny Jesus you will all visit the infirmary. Every last motherfucker in here.
Captain Hadley: Uncle Sam. Reaching into your shirt and squeezing your tit till it’s purple.
Captain Hadley: I ain’t going to count to three! I’m not even going to count to one! You will shut the fuck up, or I’ll sing you a lullaby!
Interesting Facts about The Shawshank Redemption Film
After we enjoyed some great quotes from the movie, here are some interesting facts about The Shawshank Redemption.
- Timing Lines with The Crow – Remember Brooks’ crow, Jake? Well, in the scene where Andy Dufresne arrives to the library and has a line the line a line to say (“Hey Jake, where’s Brooks?”), Robbins had to time his line so the crow wouldn’t squawk over it. The reason is that was impossible to train the crow to squawk on cue. Robbins actually learned the squawking patterns of the crow, so he would time the line perfectly in that scene. If you watch the movie again, take a close look how Robbins watches the crow as he’s waiting for it to squawk twice, and only then says his line.
- Morgan Freeman’s Son – Morgan Freeman plays the role of Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding, and in the movie, Redding’s parole papers are attached with mugshots. Those mugshots show a young Ellis Boyd Redding, when in fact, these are actual pictures of Alfonso Freeman, Morgan Freeman’s younger son.
- The Reason Brooks was in Prison – The reason why Brooks is in prison is never really or directly at least stated during the movie, but allegedly he is serving time in prison for the murder of his daughter and wife after losing in poker.
- Never Cashing the Check – The movie is based on Stephen King’s novella “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”. He sold the rights for $5,000, yet never cashed the check. Years after the movie came out, King framed this check and mailed it back to director Frank Darabont. He even added a note to it, saying: “In case you ever need bail money. Love, Steve.”
- Who Also Could Have Played the Role of Andy Dufresne – Okay, here it goes: Kevin Costner, Nicolas Cage, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Charlie Sheen, and Johnny Depp were all considered for the part of Andy Dufresne. Tom Hanks turned the role down because he was already committed to play Forrest Gump, and Kevin Costner really liked the script of Shawshank, but then decided to film Waterworld.
- Who Also Could Have Played the Role of Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding – Here are some of the actors who were considered to play the role of Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding: Harrison Ford, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Clint Eastwood. In King’s novella, Red is a middle-aged Irishman with graying red hair. However, director Frank Darabont always envisioned Morgan Freeman playing the role of Red due to his authoritative presence, as well as his deep and calming voice.
- Rob Reiner Almost Bought the Script for $2.5 Million – Rob Reiner loved the script of Shawshank so much, that he offered Darabont a staggering amount of $2.5 million to buy the rights from him. Darabont considered the offer for a while, but then decided he would like to direct this movie himself, making it something truly big in his directing career. As for Reiner, if he would have bought the rights for the script and the movie, we would have seen Harrison Ford playing the role of Red, and Tom Cruise playing the role of Andy.
- Clancy Brown is a Good Man – In the movie, Clancy Brown plays the role of Captain Hadley. It turns out that Brown got several offers from real-life corrections officers that wanted to work with him, so his acting of a correctional officer in the movie will be more realistic. Brown decided to turn down all these offers, because the character of Hadley in the movie was evil, and Brown did not want people to think and believe that this is how real corrections officers behave.
- Not the Hands of Tim Robbins – There are two close-ups in the movie where we actually see the hands of director Frank Darabont and not those of Tim Robbins. In the opening scenes where Andy loads the gun and when he carves his name into the cell’s wall. These scenes were taken post-production, and Darabont used his own hands there because he felt that only he could do and deliver exactly what he wanted to in those scenes.
- The Man on the Bus – If you watch the film again, then know that the man who is sitting behind Gil Bellows, who plays the role of Tommy Williams, is Dennis Baker. He is a former warden of the Ohio State Reformatory. That’s where the primary filming took place.