Andy and Red’s opening chat in the prison yard, in which Red is pitching a baseball, took 9 hours to shoot. Morgan Freeman pitched that baseball for the entire 9 hours without a single word of complaint. He showed up for work the next day with his arm in a sling.
Stephen King sold the film rights for his novella for a dollar.
The role of Andy Dufresne was intended for Tom Hanks. Tom passed on the project because he was filming Forrest Gump.
Despite its box office failure, Warner Brothers shipped 320,000 rental copies to US video stores, a figure a spokesman freely admitted was “out of whack” with the film’s performance in the theaters. A Warner Exec who loved the film ignored the math and gave the order.
His gamble paid off, Shawshank would prove to be the most rented film of 1995.
In the original novella, Red is “a middle-aged Irishman with graying red hair”. Red actually uses the line “Maybe it’s ’cause I’m Irish” as a joke in the film.
The famous scene where Andy turns up the music of “The Marriage of Figaro” in the prison yard was completely improved by Tim Robbins. He thought it would make for a great moment in the film.
Why you’ve seen Shawshank 100 times: After the film gained popularity, Ted Turner sold the television rights to TNT, his own network, for much lower than normal for such a big film. Because it is so inexpensive to show, the film is broadcast on TNT all the time.
Director Frank Darabont decided not to have the deleted scenes on the DVD release of the film because he’s embarrassed by them and doesn’t want them to be seen publicly.
Warden Norton opens the bible where Andy Dufresne hid his rock pick it opens to the Book of Exodus. The Book of Exodus details the escape of the Jews from Egypt.
The Italian title for the movie is “Le ali della libertà”, which means “The Wings of Freedom”.
The American Humane Association monitored the filming of scenes involving Brooks’ crow. During the scene where he fed it a maggot, the AHA objected on the grounds that it was cruel to the maggot, and required that they use a maggot that had died from natural causes. One was found, and the scene was filmed.
The role of Tommy Williams was intended for Brad Pitt.
The pictures of the young looking Morgan Freeman attached to his parole papers are actually pictures of Morgan Freeman’s son, Alfonso Freeman.
If you ask Morgan Freeman which of his films are his favorite he won’t hesitate, it’s ‘Shawshank’.
The feces Andy crawls through in the sewer scene is actually chocolate syrup. Interestingly, a fan who has visited the Mansfield Reformatory, the former prison-became-Shawshank set, noted that a section of that tunnel still smells like chocolate.