How many times have you told yourself "The book was great, but the movie was awful." after seeing a film? There aren't that many great stories out there that have been surpassed in excellence by their film versions.
"Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" was a novella by Stephen King, written under the name Richard Bachman. It was one of his best works, stemming from the fact that he had absolutely no supernatural cop-outs as his horror novels are chock full of, and the characterizations were all powerful and rich in this compelling tale.
When painted across a canvas of celluloid, the story as played out in the movie was even more powerful.
Masters of their craft...
There's a murder at a country club bungalow. A woman and her lover are shot to death, and the police take in her husband and with overwhelming evidence against him he's quickly convicted of the murders. Tim Robbins performs brilliantly as Andy Dufresne, a man who claims he's wrongly imprisoned for those murders, but instead of showing weakness, he enters prison in a state of boldness, but shock.
Morgan Freeman is Red, the guy that can get you anything. The story's told from his perspective, and in a way the movie's just as much about him as it is Andy. He's in for a long sentence, and as his life behind the walls passes by him, he watches how the world closes in around him despite all that Andy does to show that there's still life and hope.
Can't have any of that hope going around. Bob Gunton is the corrupt Warden Norton, dripping virtue from Biblical verse as a cover for his cruel and thieving ways. He's turned the prison into his own private moneymaking scheme, and Andy's the key to keeping that money laundering machine going. When Andy comes across a miraculous opportunity to set things right and possibly have his sentence re-examined and commuted, Warden Norton shows his true colors in wicked fashion.
No, that's not the immortal Kuragin in a guard's uniform, slashing his way with a baton through the prison's wards, but it may as well be. Clancy Brown is the captain of the guards, Byron Hadley, a brutal man who is the right fist of the warden. He gives out beatings and whallopings as another man would breathe - cruelty defines him. He is introduced with the thrashing of a new prisoner, and beats a man to death on his first night. Andy plays upon Hadley's greed during a work detail, and in turn Hadley hands Andy to the warden as a prized posession to be exploited. In the end though, you realize who's doing the real manipulations and exploiting of weaknesses.