Sent to Maine’s Shawshank penitentiary in the late 1940s after being convicted of the murder of his wife and her lover, banker Tim Robbins keeps a stoical distance from the other inmates.

However, gradually his quiet personality begins to influence both the staff and his fellow inmates. Morgan Freeman plays his friend and it’s his wry voice-over that sets the eloquent tone of this captivating prison drama.

Based on a Stephen King story, the film’s plot twists are beautifully timed and there is a brilliant final pay-off.

Bob Gunton, as the warden, and Clancy Brown, as the chief guard, are two of the nastiest pieces of work in convict movie history and, as an inmate who’s been locked up for 50 years, veteran character actor James Whitmore also makes a crucial contribution.