We’re going to try something different every month during one of the Top 5 columns. Moving down the IMDB (International Movie Database) Top 250 films, we’ll name the top five scenes (in my order) from films so good that our regular “My Favorite Scene” column can’t do them justice. Number one on the IMDB 250 is Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novella; 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption.
By turns brutal and beautiful; crude yet wise in a way few pieces of art ever attain, The Shawshank Redemption has grown and grown in popularity since it’s release twenty (WOW) years ago. A mark of one of the best is that it’s hard to separate out even five scenes because each seems incomplete without the others or worthy of inclusion. Here are my five that I wrestled with and chose from Shawshank.
This was a recurring plot device to show both the changes that Red (Morgan Freeman) underwent in his decades in prison and the passage of time. This occurs at the very end of the film when a weary Red is dragged one more time in front of the parole board and with withering weariness delivers one of the best monologues Freeman’s ever gotten.
2. “Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying”
Probably the most memorable line from the film come in a conversation about dreams, anger, imprisonment, freedom and choosing how much we let anger master us against the balance of our dreams; something that imprisons more than enough people in the world walking free.
3. “Andy’s Escape”
I wish I could show the entirety of Andy’s escape and how brilliantly thought out it was, but it’s all about the horrifying, visceral journey he takes through offfal, emerging to be reborn in the rain in one of cinema’s most hope-filled shots.
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. Andy didn’t even want a beer. He just wanted to see normal people doing a normal thing for once in his imprisoned life. Brilliant scene.
5. “I Hope to Find My Friend There…”
“Institutionalized” is a phrase that comes up in the film. So meaning, that you live so many decades in an institution that the outside world has no relevance to you any more. Red found him self institutionalized after he was set free, but Andy had anticipated this and their reunion, Freeman’s voiceover, just a perfect ending to a perfect film.