Good narration is hard to pull off without sounding cheesy and overwritten, but Darabont masters it. Film may be a director’s medium, but for anyone who appreciates good writing, Shawshank‘s script alone earns it a spot among history’s finest films. The Writers Guilds voted Shawshank the #22 Greatest Script of All Time, higher than Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, and just behind North By Northwest (1959) and It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s time we start mentioning them all in the same breath.
"The Hole," where Tim Robbins' "Shawshank" character Andy Dufresne was confined in isolation as punishment, was a reality at the Mansfield prison. Temperatures in The Hole averaged about 90 degrees; inmates were kept in total darkness or constant light 24 hours per day, and the men were only issued coveralls and cotton booties.
Some vindication came when Shawshank was nominated for seven Oscars, but that faded quick when it won none. Forrest Gump reigned supreme at the Academy Awards, while Pulp Fiction garnered the most international critical attention, shattering the laws of filmmaking and winning the Palm d’Or at Cannes.