The Shawshank Redemption is often considered as one of the greatest movies of the 20th century (IMDB all-time #1). The movie takes place in 1947 at a crowded prison in Maine called Shawshank. The 1994 drama was written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the 1982 Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.
It tells the story of banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murder of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence. Over the following two decades, he befriends a fellow prisoner, contraband smuggler Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), and becomes instrumental in a money-laundering operation led by the prison warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton). William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, and James Whitmore appear in supporting roles.
Everything in Andy and Red’s world is so abnormally awful that this scene where they volunteer for a work detail and Andy works a deal with the guards for beers for his guys that watching these prisoners relax in peace after working like dogs all day is fantastically peaceful.
Morgan Freeman’s role as Red is iconic for so many reasons. Chiefly among them the fact that his voiceover bathes the film’s moments. One such scene is when Andy and his compatriots enjoy an “icy cold Bohemia-style beer, courtesy of the hardest screw that ever walked a turn at Shawshank.
Andy didn’t even want a beer, he only wanted to see normal people doing a normal thing for once in his imprisoned life.
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 Bohemia-style 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. Hell, we could have 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…You could argue he’d done it to curry favor with the guards, or maybe make a few friends among us cons. Me? I think he did it just to feel normal again, if only for a short while.