The Shawshank Redemption

RED: There's a con like me in every prison in America, I guess. I'm the guy who can get it for you. Cigarettes, a bag of reefer if you're partial, a bottle of brandy to celebrate your kid's high school graduation. Damn near anything, within reason.

NORTON: This is Mr. Hadley, captain of the guard. I am Mr. Norton, the warden. You are sinners and scum, that's why they sent you to me. Rule number one: no blaspheming. I'll not have the Lord's name taken in vain in my prison. The other rules you'll figure out as you go along. Any questions?... I believe in two things. Discipline and the Bible. Here, you'll receive both. Put your faith in the Lord. Your ass belongs to me. Welcome to Shawshank.

RED: The first night's the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in naked as the day you're born, fresh from a Bible reading, skin burning and half-blind from that delousing shit they throw on you... and when they put you in that cell, when those bars slam home, that's when you know it's for real. Old life blown away in the blink of an eye... a long cold season in hell stretching out ahead...nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it. Most new fish come close to madness the first night. Somebody always breaks down crying. Happens every time. The only question is, who's it gonna be?

RED: ... maybe plant your toy in somebody's skull?

ANDY: I have no enemies here.

RED: No? Just wait. Word gets around. The Sisters have taken a real shine to you, yes they have. Especially Bogs.

ANDY: Tell me something. Would it help if I explained to them I'm not homosexual?

RED: Neither are they. You have to be human first. They don't qualify.

RED: Andy was right. I finally got the joke. It would take a man about six hundred years to tunnel under the wall with one of these [rock hammer].

RED: I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that, but prison is no fairy-tale world. He never said who did it...but we all knew. Things went on like that for a while. Prison life consists of routine, and then more routine. Every so often, Andy would show up with fresh bruises. The Sisters kept at him. Sometimes he was able to fight them off... sometimes not. He always fought, that's what I remember. He fought because he knew if he didn't fight, it would make it that much easier not to fight the next time. Half the time it landed him in the infirmary... the other half, it landed him in solitary. Warden Norton's "grain & drain" vacation. Bread, water, and all the privacy you could want.

ANDY: Mr. Hadley. Do you trust your wife?

HADLEY: That's funny. You're gonna look funnier suckin' my dick with no fuckin' teeth.

ANDY: What I mean is, do you think she'd go behind your back? Try to hamstring you?

HADLEY: That's it! Step aside, Mert. This fucker's havin' hisself an accident.

ANDY: Because if you do trust her, there's no reason in the world you can't keep every cent of that money.

HADLEY: You better start making sense.

ANDY: If you want to keep that money, all of it, just give it to your wife. See, the IRS allows you a one-time-only gift to your spouse. It's good up to sixty thousand dollars.

HADLEY: Naw, that ain't right! Tax free?

ANDY: Tax free. IRS can't touch one cent.

HADLEY: You're the smart banker what shot his wife. Why should I believe a smart banker like you? So's I can wind up in here with you?

ANDY: It's perfectly legal. Go ask the IRS, they'll say the same thing. Actually, I feel silly telling you all this. I'm sure you would have investigated the matter yourself.

HADLEY: Fuckin'-A. I don't need no smart wife-killin' banker to show me where the bear shit in the buckwheat.

ANDY: Of course not. But you will need somebody to set up the tax-free gift, and that'll cost you. A lawyer, for example...

HADLEY: Ambulance-chasing, highway-robbing cocksuckers!

ANDY: ...or come to think of it, I suppose I could set it up for you. That would save you some money. I'll write down the forms you need, you can pick them up, and I'll prepare them for your signature... nearly free of charge... I'd only ask three beers apiece for my co-workers, if that seems fair. I think a man working outdoors feels more like a man if he can have a bottle of suds. That's only my opinion.

RED: And that's how it came to pass, that on the second-to-last day of the job, the convict crew that tarred the plate factory roof in the spring of '49... wound up sitting in a row at ten o'clock in the morning, drinking icy cold Black Label beer courtesy of the hardest screw that ever walked a turn at Shawshank State Prison. The colossal prick even managed to sound magnanimous. We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders, and felt like free men. We could'a been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the Lords of all Creation. As for Andy, he spent that break hunkered in the shade, a strange little smile on his face, watching us drink his beer.

RED: Andy? I guess we're gettin' to be friends, ain't we?

ANDY: I suppose we are.

RED: I ask a question? Why'd you do it?

ANDY: I'm innocent, remember? Just like everybody else here.

ANDY: What are you in for, Red?

RED: Murder. Same as you.

ANDY: Innocent?

RED: The only guilty man in Shawshank.

ANDY: Can we talk business?

RED: Sure. What do you want?

ANDY: Rita Hayworth. Can you get her?

RED: No problem. Take a few weeks.

BOGS: Now I'm gonna open my fly, and you're gonna swallow what I give you to swallow. And when you do mine, you gonna swallow Rooster's. You done broke his nose, so he ought to have somethin' to show for it.

ANDY: Anything you put in my mouth, you're going to lose.

BOGS: You don't understand. You do that, I'll put all eight inches of this steel in your ear.

ANDY: Okay. But you should know that sudden serious brain injury causes the victim to bite down. Hard. In fact, I understand the bite-reflex is so strong the victim's jaws have to be pried open with a crowbar.

RED: Two things never happened again after that. The Sisters never laid a finger on Andy again... and Bogs never walked again. They transferred him to a minimum security hospital upstate. To my knowledge, he lived out the rest of his days drinking his food through a straw.

RED: I'm thinkin' Andy could use a nice welcome back when he gets out of the infirmary.

HEYWOOD: Sounds good to us. Figure we owe him for the beer.

RED: Man likes to play chess. Let's get him some rocks.

RED: Heywood, enough. Ain't nothing wrong with Brooksie. He's just institutionalized, that's all.

HEYWOOD: Institutionalized, my ass.

RED: Man's been here fifty years. This place is all he knows. In here, he's an important man, an educated man. A librarian. Out there, he's nothing but a used-up old con with arthritis in both hands. Couldn't even get a library card if he applied. You see what I'm saying?

FLOYD: Red, I do believe you're talking out of your ass.

RED: Believe what you want. These walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. After long enough, you get so you depend on 'em. That's "institutionalized."

JIGGER: Shit. I could never get that way.

ERNIE: Say that when you been inside as long as Brooks has.

RED: Goddamn right. They send you here for life, and that's just what they take. Part that counts, anyway.

BROOKS: Maybe I should get me a gun and rob the Foodway, so they'd send me home. I could shoot the manager while I was at it, sort of like a bonus.

RED: I have no idea to this day what them two Italian ladies were singin' about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I like to think they were singin' about something so beautiful it can't be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared. Higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away... and for the briefest of moments -- every last man at Shawshank felt free.

HEYWOOD: Couldn't play somethin' good, huh? Hank Williams?

ANDY: They broke the door down before I could take requests.

FLOYD: Was it worth two weeks in the hole?

ANDY: Easiest time I ever did.

HEYWOOD: Shit. No such thing as easy time in the hole. A week seems like a year.

ANDY: I had Mr. Mozart to keep me company. Hardly felt the time at all.

RED: Oh, they let you tote that record player down there, huh? I could'a swore they confiscated that stuff.

ANDY: The music was here... and here. That's the one thing they can't confiscate, not ever. That's the beauty of it.

ANDY: Here's where it makes most sense. We need it so we don't forget.

RED: Forget?

ANDY: That there are things in this world not carved out of gray stone. That there's a small place inside of us they can never lock away, and that place is called hope.

RED: Hope is a dangerous thing. Drive a man insane.

HEYWOOD: Treasure Island. Robert Louis...

ANDY: ... Stevenson. Next?

RED: I got here an auto repair manual, and a book on soap carving.

ANDY: Trade skills and hobbies, those go under educational. Stack right behind you.

HEYWOOD: The Count of Monte Crisco...

FLOYD: Cristo, you dumbshit.

HEYWOOD: ... by Alexandree Dumb-ass.

ANDY: Dumas. You boys'll like that one. It's about a prison break.

RED: Maybe that should go under educational too.

RED: Got his fingers in a lot of pies, from what I hear.

ANDY: What you hear isn't half of it. He's got scams you haven't dreamed of. Kickbacks on his kickbacks. There's a river of dirty money flowing through this place.

RED: Money like that can be a problem. Sooner or later you gotta explain where it came from.

ANDY: That's where I come in. I channel it, funnel it, filter it... stocks, securities, tax free municipals... I send that money out into the big world. And when it comes back...

RED: It's clean as a virgin's whistle?

ANDY: Cleaner. By the time Norton retires, I will have made him a millionaire.

RED: Jesus. They ever catch on, he's gonna wind up wearing a number himself.

ANDY: I thought you had more faith in me than that.

RED: I'm sure you're good, but all that paper leaves a trail. Anybody gets too curious -- FBI, IRS, whatever -- that trail's gonna lead to somebody.

ANDY: Sure it will. But not to me, and certainly not to the warden.

RED: Who then?

ANDY: Peter Stevens.

RED: Who?

ANDY: The silent, silent partner. He's the guilty one, your Honor. The man with the bank accounts. That's where the filtering process starts. They trace it back, all they're gonna find is him.

RED: Yeah, okay, but who the hell is he?

ANDY: A phantom. An apparition. Second cousin to Harvey the Rabbit. I conjured him out of thin air. He doesn't exist... except on paper.

RED: You can't just make a person up.

ANDY: Sure you can, if you know how the system works, and where the cracks are. It's amazing what you can accomplish by mail. Mr. Stevens has a birth certificate, social security card, driver's license. They ever track those accounts, they'll wind up chasing a figment of my imagination.

RED: Jesus. Did I say you were good? You're Rembrandt.

ANDY: It's funny. On the outside, I was an honest man. Straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.

ANDY: My wife used to say I'm a hard man to know. Like a closed book. Complained about it all the time. She was beautiful. I loved her. But I guess I couldn't show it enough. I killed her, Red. I didn't pull the trigger. But I drove her away. That's why she died. Because of me, the way I am.

RED: That don't make you a murderer. Bad husband, maybe. Feel bad about it if you want. But you didn't pull the trigger.

ANDY: No. I didn't. Someone else did, and I wound up here. Bad luck, I guess.

RED: Bad luck? Jesus.

ANDY: It floats around. Has to land on somebody. Say a storm comes through. Some folks sit in their living rooms and enjoy the rain. The house next door gets torn out of the ground and smashed flat. It was my turn, that's all. I was in the path of the tornado. I just had no idea the storm would go on as long as it has.

ANDY: Think you'll ever get out of here?

RED: Sure. When I got a long white beard and about three marbles left rolling around upstairs.

ANDY: Tell you where I'd go. Zihuatanejo.

RED: Zihuatanejo?

ANDY: Mexico. Little place right on the Pacific. You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has no memory. That's where I'd like to finish out my life, Red. A warm place with no memory. Open a little hotel right on the beach. Buy some worthless old boat and fix it up like new. Take my guests out charter fishing.

ANDY: You know, a place like that, I'd need a man who can get things.

RED: Jesus, Andy. I couldn't hack it on the outside. Been in here too long. I'm an institutional man now. Like old Brooks Hatlen was.

ANDY: You underestimate yourself.

RED: Bullshit. In here I'm the guy who can get it for you. Out there, all you need are Yellow Pages. I wouldn't know where to begin. Pacific Ocean? Hell. Like to scare me to death, somethin' that big.

ANDY: Not me. I didn't shoot my wife and I didn't shoot her lover, and whatever mistakes I made I've paid for and then some. That hotel and that boat... I don't think it's too much to want. To look at the stars just after sunset. Touch the sand. Wade in the water. Feel free.

RED: Goddamn it, Andy, stop! Don't do that to yourself! Talking shitty pipedreams! Mexico's down there, and you're in here, and that's the way it is!

ANDY: You're right. It's down there, and I'm in here. I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.

ANDY: Red, if you ever get out of here, do me a favor. There's this big hayfield up near Buxton. You know where Buxton is?

RED: Lots of hayfields there.

ANDY: One in particular. Got a long rock wall with a big oak at the north end. Like something out of a Robert Frost poem. It's where I asked my wife to marry me. We'd gone for a picnic. We made love under that tree. I asked and she said yes. Promise me, Red. If you ever get out, find that spot. In the base of that wall you'll find a rock that has no earthly business in a Maine hayfield. A piece of black volcanic glass. You'll find something buried under it I want you to have.

RED: What? What's buried there?

ANDY: You'll just have to pry up that rock and see.

RED: I tell you, the man was talkin' crazy. I'm worried, I truly am.

SKEET: We ought to keep an eye on him.

ZIGGER: That's fine, during the day. But at night he's got that cell all to himself.

HEYWOOD: Oh Lord. Andy come down to the loading dock today. Asked me for a length of rope. Six foot long.

SNOOZE: Shit! You gave it to him?

HEYWOOD: Sure I did. I mean why wouldn't I?

FLOYD: Christ! Remember Brooks Hatlen?

HEYWOOD: How the hell was I s'pose to know?

ZIGGER: Andy'd never do that. Never.

RED: Every man's got a breaking point.

RED: I have had some long nights in stir. Alone in the dark with nothing but your thoughts, time can draw out like a blade... That was the longest night of my life...

RED: I laughed myself right into solitary. Two week stretch. "It's shit, it's shit, oh my God it's shit..."

RED: I remember thinking it would take a man six hundred years to tunnel through the wall with it. Andy did it in less than twenty.

RED: Andy loved geology. I imagine it appealed to his meticulous nature. An ice age here, a million years of mountain-building there, plates of bedrock grinding against each other over a span of millennia... Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes, really. Pressure and time.

RED: The guard simply didn't notice. Neither did I. I mean, seriously, how often do you really look at a man's shoes?

RED: Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit-smelling foulness I can't even imagine. Or maybe I just don't want to. Five hundred yards. The length of five football fields. Just shy of half a mile.

RED: I like to think the last thing that went through his head... other than that bullet... was to wonder how the hell Andy Dufresne ever got the best of him.

RED: Those of us who knew him best talk about him often. I swear, the stuff he pulled. It always makes us laugh. Sometimes it makes me sad, though, Andy being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are just too bright... and when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice... but still, the place you live is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend.

RED: But there are times I curse him for the dreams he left behind... dreams where I am lost in a warm place with no memory. An ocean so big it strikes me dumb. Waves so quiet they strike me deaf. Sunshine so bright it strikes me blind. It is a place that is blue beyond reason. Bluer than can possibly exist. Bluer than my mind can possibly grasp. I am terrified. There is no way home.

MAN #1: Your file says you've served forty years of a life sentence. You feel you've been rehabilitated? Shall I repeat the question?

RED: I heard you. Rehabilitated. Let's see now. You know, come to think of it, I have no idea what that means.

MAN #2: Well, it means you're ready to rejoin society as a --

RED: I know what you think it means. Me, I think it's a made-up word, a politician's word. A word so young fellas like you can wear a suit and tie and have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?

MAN #2: Well... are you?

RED: Not a day goes by I don't feel regret, and not because I'm in here or because you think I should. I look back on myself the way I was... stupid kid who did that terrible crime... wish I could talk sense to him. Tell him how things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone, this old man is all that's left, and I have to live with that. "Rehabilitated?" That's a bullshit word, so you just go on ahead and stamp that form there, sonny, and stop wasting my damn time. Truth is, I don't give a shit.

RED: Thirty years I've been asking permission to piss. I can't squeeze a drop without say-so. Women, too, that's the other thing. I forgot they were half the human race. There's women everywhere, every shape and size. I find myself semi-hard most of the time, cursing myself for a dirty old man. Not a brassiere to be seen, nipples poking out at the world. Jeezus, pleeze-us. Back in my day, a woman out in public like that would have been arrested and given a sanity hearing.

ANDY: Dear Red. If you're reading this, you've gotten out. And if you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further. You remember the name of the town, don't you? I could use a good man to help me get my project on wheels. I'll keep an eye out for you and the chessboard ready. Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well. Your friend. Andy.

RED: I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain... I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.