A couple of weeks ago, we asked our readers to select their favorite Stephen King movies – and Shawshank Redemption won by a huge margin. The 1994 film bombed when it hit theaters, but it found a huge audience on VHS and cable. It’s consistently ranked as the greatest movie of all time on the IMDB’s list of the top 250 films. It was also back in the news recently when two convicted murderers escaped from a New York prison by tunneling out of their cells. The surviving criminal said they often talked about Shawshank Redemption when planning their escape.
The movie runs at two hours and 22 minutes, but there are a couple of deleted scenes that are rarely seen. One of them shows Morgan Freeman’s character struggling to adjust to life outside of prison. In the finished film we see him bagging groceries and sitting along in a halfway house, but in a scene you can see right here (fast forward to 2:58) he’s walking down the street as Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” plays.
“Women too, that’s the other thing,” he says in a voiceover as he encounters some hippies on the street. “I forgot they were half the human race. There’s women everywhere, every shape, every size. I found myself semi-hard most of the time, cursing myself for a dirty old man. Not a brasserie to be seen, nipples poking out at the world. Jesus pleas-us. Back in my day a woman like that out in public would have been arrested and given a sanity hearing. They’re calling this the Summer of Love. Summer of Lunacy if you ask me.”
Red is then shown bagging groceries as a young boy repeatedly fires a toy gun at him and food starts flying down the conveyer faster than he can bag it. He runs into the bathroom and has a panic attack. This is all meant to demonstrate that Red simply can’t function in the modern world, but director Frank Darabont ultimately felt that it slowed down the movie. By this point, Andy has been out of prison for quite some time and the viewer is anxious to learn whether or not he made it down to Mexico. The original script left this up to the imagination of the viewer, but the studio insisted it end with the two old friends meeting up.
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Another cut scene (fast forward to 7:33) takes place right after prison officials learn that Andy has tunneled out of his cell. They send in a young guard, but he encounters the raw sewage exposed by the burst pipe and begins screaming, “Oh my God, it’s shit” as he pukes uncontrollably. Red couldn’t stop laughing, even when thrown into the hole. It’s a funny scene, but it also slowed down the action and was cut for time.
These cut scenes haven’t appeared on the various DVD and Blu-ray releases, but they did air on television a few times and someone had the foresight to tape them and post them to YouTube.