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Tim Robbins plays a 1940s banker wrongly jailed for murdering his wife and her lover.

Sent to Maine’s Shawshank penitentiary, he keeps a stoical distance from the other inmates but, gradually, his quiet personality begins to influence both the staff and his fellow inmates.

Morgan Freeman plays his closest friend and it’s his wry voice-over that sets the eloquent tone of this captivating prison drama. Based on a Stephen King story and directed by Frank Darabont (who also made King’s The Green Mile), the film’s plot twists are beautifully timed and there is a brilliant pay-off when it finally reveals just what kind of ‘redemption’ it’s been hiding for more than two riveting hours.

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.