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The Shawshank Redemption

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The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American prison drama film which was adapted from the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King. It was directed by Frank Darabont and starred Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.

The movie tells the story of Andy Dufresne (Robbins), a banker who is sentenced to life at Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murders of his wife and her lover, despite being innocent of the crime. While at Shawshank, Andy befriends fellow inmate Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding, portrayed by Freeman. The story culminates with Andy's escape from Shawshank, which he carries out by tunneling out of his cell, using a succession of pin-up posters (first, Rita Hayworth; later, Marilyn Monroe and Raquel Welch) to conceal the tunnel. The movie ends with Andy and Red being reunited on a beach in Mexico following Red's parole from Shawshank.

The Shawshank Redemption received a great deal of critical acclaim, but was a disappointment at the box office. Years later, it became a hit when it was released to the home video market and started being shown regularly on cable television. The film has since become a cultural phenomenon, appearing on several "greatest movie" lists. Also, "shawshank" has become a pop-culture slang term with several different meanings. Two of the most common ones are 1) to be trapped in an undesirable situation, such as prison, for a long time; and 2) to seek to apprehend and incarcerate a suspect primarily in the interest of resolving a criminal case, without giving due consideration as to whether the suspect is actually guilty.

In the Simpsons universe, The Shawshank Redemption has been referred to in television episodes, comic stories, and video games.


Television episodes[edit]

Picture Season Episode number Episode name Reference
The Shaws-Hank Azaria.png 6 109 "Treehouse of Horror V" During the closing credits, Hank Azaria is credited as "The Shaws-Hank Azaria".
Moleman with Book Cart.png 9 194 "Dumbbell Indemnity" Homer is in jail, charged with auto theft. As he sits in his cell, Hans Moleman, the jailhouse librarian, comes in with a book cart and asks Homer if he would like something to read. Homer picks out a book titled How to Tunnel out of Prison. However, instead of beginning a tunnel a la Andy Dufresne, Homer hits Moleman over the head with the book, knocking him out; then takes Moleman's place pushing the cart and walks out of jail. The scene references The Shawshank Redemption as follows:

Moleman is dressed very similarly to Brooks, the prison librarian in the film.

The book's title is an obvious reference to Andy's escape method.

The book cart plays a role in Andy's escape as well as Homer's. In the film, the book cart is used to smuggle Andy a rock hammer, which he uses to dig his escape tunnel.
Skinner Finds Tunnel.png 12 256 "Skinner's Sense of Snow" When Principal Skinner finds Bart's attempted escape tunnel and glowers into it at a still-digging Bart, it is a reference to the scene where Warden Norton discovers Andy's tunnel.
Worst Episode Ever Shawshank Reference 1.pngWorst Episode Ever Shawshank Reference 2.png 259 "Worst Episode Ever" The scene where Bart and Milhouse discover Comic Book Guy's stash of illegal videos references The Shawshank Redemption as follows:

The entrance is concealed by a poster of She-Hulk, similar to the Rita Hayworth pinup concealing Andy's escape tunnel. She-Hulk is in the same pose as Hayworth.

Bart and Milhouse accidentally find the entrance when they have a fight and Milhouse pushes Bart into the She-Hulk poster, similar to Warden Norton accidentally finding Andy's tunnel when he angrily throws a rock at the poster of Raquel Welch on the cell wall.
Wardens Office Sampler.png 15 329 "The Wandering Juvie" The warden at Springfield Juvenile Correctional Facility has a sampler on his office wall that reads, "His judgement cometh and that right soon", the same as Warden Norton in the film.
Bart Krusty Poster.pngBart Candy Stash.png
Bart Rain of Candies.png
16 352 "The Heartbroke Kid" When Lisa spies on Bart in his bedroom and sees him going on a candy binge when he's supposed to be on a diet, the scene has multiple visual references to The Shawshank Redemption:

Bart uses a poster of Krusty the Clown to conceal the stash of candy in his wall, similar to Andy Dufresne using a poster of Rita Hayworth to conceal his escape tunnel.

Krusty is posed very similarly to the Rita Hayworth poster, even down to Krusty's pacemaker scar being visible while Hayworth shows a bit of cleavage.

After getting the candy out of his stash, Bart throws it into the air, stands with his arms outstretched, and lets it falls down on him, similar to the end of Andy's escape scene, where he stands in the rain just after he emerges from the sewage pipe.
Dwight Sewage Pipe Escape.png 19 404 "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" Dwight Diddlehopper escapes from Springfield Penitentiary by crawling through a sewage pipe, very similar to Andy Dufresne's escape in The Shawshank Redemption. (Also like Andy, Dwight has some belongings sealed in a bag and tied to his ankle by a length of rope.) After exiting the pipe, Dwight discovers, ironically and to his chagrin, that right next to the sewage pipe is a pipe that carries pure mountain spring water.
Springfield Penitentiary Warden (American History X-cellent).png
Cellmate and Rita Hayworth Poster.png
21 458 "American History X-cellent" The portions of the episode showing Mr. Burns in prison are largely a parody of The Green Mile, but there are a couple of references to The Shawshank Redemption:

The Springfield Penitentiary warden, whom Burns meets shortly after his arrival at prison, is a spoof of Warden Norton from Shawshank State Penitentiary. Completely unlike Norton, the Springfield Penitentiary warden is quickly cowed when he realizes that Burns is in a position to blackmail him.

Burns's cellmate keeps a poster of Rita Hayworth on the wall, like Andy Dufresne at Shawshank. Rather than a tunnel, however, Burns's cellmate's poster conceals a cross.
Sideshow Bob Still Shawshanking It.png 25 543 "The Man Who Grew Too Much" The Simpson family visit a chemical engineering company and are shocked to find Sideshow Bob, whom they believe to be still in prison, working there as the chief scientist. Bob, seeking to mollify them, says, "No need to worry. I'm still technically shawshanking it at Springfield Penitentiary." Bob then gestures at his leg, showing that he is chained by the ankle to a large concrete block that reads "PROPERTY OF SPRINGFIELD PENITENTIARY".
El Barto Was Here Homo Too.png 26 563 "Bart's New Friend" Bart spray-paints "El Barto was here" on a wall, and Homer follows suit by spraying "Homo too", referring to his own, less successful, graffiti tag. The scene is a callback to the halfway house apartment to which both Brooks and Red are paroled. Brooks finds himself unable to adjust to the outside world and hangs himself from a support beam, first carving "BROOKS WAS HERE" into the beam. Years later, after Andy's escape, Red is paroled and lives in the same apartment. Red also finds himself unable to adjust to the outside world, but rather than killing himself, he decides to take Andy up on his invitation to join him in Mexico. Before he leaves, he carves "SO WAS RED" into the support beam next to Brooks's graffito.

Comic stories[edit]

Picture Comic issue Story name Reference
Grampa Adventure-Rita Hayworth Poster.png Grampa Simpson's Adventure 1 Grampa Simpson's Great Sandwich Caper! Grampa and the Springfield Mafia fail to get away from the police and are caught and put in jail. Grampa, telling the story, says, "I stayed there for many years until a poster of Rita Hayworth helped me to escape", referencing Andy's poster in The Shawshank Redmeption.
Sideshow Redemption Title.png Bart Simpson 87 The Sideshow Redemption Referenced in the title and parodied throughout the story.

Video games[edit]

Picture Game Reference
Level 33 Unusual Suspects Pt. 1.png The Simpsons: Tapped Out During the Level 33 quest, Chief Wiggum is under pressure from Mayor Quimby to clean up crime in the city. Wiggum decides that the police need to apprehend some high-profile criminals to get Quimby off of their back, so he tells Lou, "Catch me a 'Dexter' so we can 'Shawshank' him!", referencing the TV series Dexter as well as The Shawshank Redemption.

Common cast and crew[edit]


Picture Name Role in The Shawshank Redemption Role on The Simpsons
Stephen King.jpg Stephen King Author of the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, from which the movie was adapted. Voiced himself in the Season 12 episode "Insane Clown Poppy".
Tim Robbins.jpg Tim Robbins Played Andy Dufresne in the movie. Voiced Jim Hope in the Season 11 episode "Grift of the Magi".


Picture Name Role in The Shawshank Redemption Role on The Simpsons
Barbara Harris ADR voice casting. ADR group voice casting and loop group for The Simpsons Movie.
Ellen Heuer Foley artist. Foley artist for The Simpsons Movie; part of Skywalker Sound for The Simpsons Game.
John Soukup.jpg John Soukup Sound recordist (uncredited). Sound transfer (uncredited) on The Simpsons Movie; sound recordist on the Season 28 episode "Dogtown".

External links[edit]