Today we’re highlighting a scene from the 1994 Stephen King drama The Shawshank Redemption. Written and directed by Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Walking Dead) from King’s short story, the film follows former banker-turned-felon Andy Dufresne (portrayed by Oscar-winner Tim Robbins), who is sent to Shawshank prison for the murder of his wife. During his stay he befriends fellow inmate Ellis ‘Red’ Redding, who helps Dufrense navigate the harsh realities of prison life, and who likewise is touched by Dufrense’s ability to remember life beyond tall prison walls. The film received 7 Academy Award nominations, and although it lost out on every win, has gone down in history as an iconic cinematic masterpiece.
Darabont’s masterful story telling is highlighted by a number of cinematic elements throughout the film. The first, and probably most memorable, is the narration voiced by Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman (Seven, Million Dollar Baby); another is the scene in which Dufrense offers to help one of the prison guards keep his inheritance money from the IRS in exchange for cold beers for his fellow inmates. But perhaps one of the most beautiful montages offered by the film is the scene in which Dufrense abuses his special privileges and plays Sull’aria…che soave zeffiretto from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro over the prison PA system.
Darabont does an excellent job using the harmonic melody and faces of the prisoners to accentuate the desperate, overbearing isolation of prison life, that along with Freeman’s narration makes the scene Oscar-worthy all on its own. It’s also a pivotal moment for the character Dufrense, who begins to rebel against the system he knows has wrongfully imprisoned him, and probably many others like him. For your enjoyment, here is the scene from The Shawshank Redemption. Enjoy!