The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption quotes

46 total quotes (ID: 531)

Andy Dufresne
Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding
Multiple Characters
Warden Samuel Norton


I could see why some of the boys took him for snobby. He had a quiet way about him, a walk and a talk that just wasn't normal around here. He strolled, like a man in a park without a care or a worry in the world. Like he had on an invisible coat that would shield him from this place. Yeah, I think it would be fair to say I liked Andy from the start.


I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. 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.

I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are better left unsaid. I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can't be expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream. It was as if some beautiful bird had flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.

I must admit, I didn't think much of Andy first time I laid eyes on him. Looked like a stiff breeze would blow him over. That was my first impression of the man.

It's a little place on the Pacific Ocean. You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has no memory. That's where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory. Open up a little hotel right on the beach. Buy some worthless old boat and fix it up new. Take my guests out charter fishing...You know, in a place like that, I could use a man that knows how to get things.

Lord! It's a miracle! Man up and vanished like a fart in the wind. Nothin' left but some damn rocks on the window sill and that cupcake on the wall. [He gestures toward the poster of Raquel Welch hanging on the cell wall.] Let's ask her. Maybe she knows. What say there, fussy-britches. Feel like talkin'? Oh, guess not. Why should she be any different? This is a conspiracy. That's what this is. It's one big damn conspiracy. And everyone's in on it. Including her!

Mr. Hadley, do you trust your wife? [Hadley threatens to throw Andy off the roof] Because if you do trust her, there's no reason you can't keep that thirty-five thousand...If you want to keep all that money, give it to your wife. The IRS allows a one-time only gift to your spouse for up to sixty thousand dollars...tax-free...you do need someone to set up the tax-free gift for you, and it'll cost you, a lawyer for example...I suppose I could set it up for you. That would save you some money. You get the forms, I'll prepare them for you, nearly free of charge.

Rehabilitated? Well now, let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means...I know what you think it means. To me, it's just a made-up word, a politician's word so that young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie and have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?...There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret. And not because I'm in here or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then. A young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try and talk some sense to him. Tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone. This old man is all that's left. I gotta live with that. 'Rehabilitated?' That's just a bullshit word. So you go on and stamp your forms, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a shit.

Salvation lies within.

The first night's the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in naked as the day you were born, skin burning and half blind from that delousing shit they throw on you, and when they put you in that cell, when those bars slam home, that's when you know it's for real. Old life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it. Most new fish come close to madness the first night. Somebody always breaks down crying. Happens every time. The only question is, who's it gonna be? It's as good a thing to bet on as any, I guess. I had my money on Andy Dufresne. I remember my first night. Seems like a long time ago.

The funny thing is, on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.

There must be a con like me in every prison in America. I'm the guy who can get it for you. Cigarettes, a bag of reefer if that's your thing, a bottle of brandy to celebrate your kid's high school graduation, damn near anything within reason. Yes sir, I'm a regular Sears and Roebuck.

There's a big hayfield up near Buxton...One in particular. It's got a long rock wall, a big oak tree at the north end. It's like something out of a Robert Frost poem. It's where I asked my wife to marry me. We went there for a picnic and made love under that oak and I asked and she said yes. Promise me, Red. If you ever get out, find that spot. In the base of that wall, you'll find a rock that has no earthly business in a Maine hayfield. A piece of black, volcanic glass. There's something buried under it I want you to have.

Things went on like that for a while. Prison life consists of routine, and then more routine. Every so often, Andy would show up with fresh bruises. The Sisters kept at him. Sometimes he was able to fight 'em off, sometimes not. And that's how it went for Andy. That was his routine.

What you hear isn't half of it. He's got scams you haven't even dreamed of. Kickbacks on his kickbacks. There's a river of dirty money running through this place...I channel it, filter it, funnel it - Stocks, securities, tax-free municipals - I send that money out into the real world and when it comes back...by the time Norton retires, I will have made him a millionaire.