The Shawshank Redemption: Movie Synopsis

Last Updated: 10 Jan 2022
Essay type: Movie Analysis
Pages: 2 Views: 730

A movie the calibre of The Shawshank Redemption only comes along once in a long time. The acting and story stand out in the mind of many critics as the best of all time. The novella written by Stephen King is what the movie was based upon and they are quite similar. Although there are similarities, the movie captivates and grabs the viewer as opposed to the novella, which seems to drag on a bit.

Darabont's adaptation of Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption turns an average novella into a theatrical masterpiece through the exclusion of unnecessary characters, the addition of an incredible musical score to add to the mood, a perfect adaptation of the setting and major characters, and a slightly different plot that solidifies the view of certain characters. Certain characters in the book were eliminated simply because they were not necessary. In the novella, there were many individuals who were only mentioned for a few seconds and forgotten just as quickly.

The director does a good job cutting most of these out. For example, in the novella there was a character that raised a crow in his cell, Sherwood Bolton. In the movie this trait was given to another character that already existed, the librarian of the prison named Brooks Hadlen. This way, the director was able to get rid of an unnecessary character and make another character better. The novella made Brooks a hard-nosed person with little dialogue and no depth, the movie took the Brooks character and gave him different traits that make the viewer sympathize with him.

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The character of Brooks in the movie was released and later commits suicide, proving to be one of the truly sad moments in the film and also strengthens Red's point about being institutionalized: “They give you life, and that’s what they take—all of it that counts, anyway”. In the novella he was referring Sherwood Bolton, in the movie he instead refers to Brooks Hadlen, who the audience knows better than they would have known Bolton, who was only mentioned for a few seconds in the novella.

In the movie, Andy was said to have a cellmate named Normadden, a native Indian who only stayed with Andy for a short time. This really detracts from the character of Andy who had pride in being alone and was always a mysterious character. With a cellmate this would be taken away. In turn, Normadden gave a clue for Andy's escape, saying the room was chilly, but this adds little to the novella and would just leave an undeveloped minor character in the movie that no one would feel or care for.

Finally, the elimination of all the wardens that controlled the prison during Andy's stay got rid of a collection of unnecessary characters. The constant changing of Warden's during Andy's stay would have added confusion to the viewer, having to change focus to a new warden with different attributes. The movie only used the last warden from the book to watch over Andy the entire time he was in the prison. This gives the viewer time to grow to hate the warden for the various evil crimes he commits.

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The Shawshank Redemption: Movie Synopsis. (2017, May 12). Retrieved from

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