The ending of The Shawshank Redemption  


I've long argued that the last scene of The Shawshank Redemption doesn't fit and should be removed. In short, the theme of the movie is that hope can set you free. Red becomes free the second he has hope of finding his friend Andy; whether or not he finds him is immaterial. Wrapping the story up with a big red bow at the end felt cheap and too "Hollywood".

Today I learned that I was right (as is often the case). From Reddit...

And this ending was written by Frank Darabont. The Stephen King story ends with Red on the Bus with the lines:

I hope Andy is down there.

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.

The movie ended this way until Darabont had the idea for the final scene of the two men meeting each other on the beach. After getting King's permission, they shot the scene and then tested both endings with audiences. The test audiences went crazy for the new ending and that's how it became part of the film.

This really saddens me. The book had it right. And those "test audiences" didn't really understand the theme of the movie. I'll continue to shut the movie off at the second to last scene, but my "hope" in humanity just dropped a little bit.

*Note: I tried to confirm the reddit-comment, but the details are vague. On IMDB, it says that the director fought against the change, but Castle Rock insisted.

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 23, 2010 at Thursday, December 23, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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