Mark Costello’s review published on Letterboxd:
Turning a Stephen King short story into one of cinema's greatest odes to friendship, hope and all that is good in humanity is possibly one of the greatest achievements of the artform.
Did archetypes of the prison movie exist before Shawshank? The wise old sage, the cruel authoritarians, the violent prison bullies, the young pup destined to meet a sad demise, they're all here and present in any number of earlier films across a wide range of genres. Yet they're all elevated here, somehow seemingly mythic now, like the very first (and best) versions of these that ever were.
Its strange how this film, constantly jostling with The Godfather on IMDb as the greatest that ever was, seems to fly under certain radars, mine included - too mainstream for cineasts, too twee for action/thriller junkies, too 'nice' for many....... - and yet watching it reminds you instantly of why it is held in such high regard. Every inch the classic so many rightly regard it as.