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The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile

The films The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile are linked not only by the fact that both were directed by Frank Darabont but by the fact that both were derived from stories written by Stephen King. These links give the stories similar sensibilities, and the directorial style is also similar for both films. In each case, a central character who might serve as an Everyman facing extraordinary situations must come to terms with his surroundings and with events that are beyond his control. Both films also take place in prison settings, though the settings are very different in most respects, including the time period. The Shawshank Redemption is set in a normal, mixed prison population, while The Green Mile is set on a death row in a Southern prison during the 1930s, a much bleaker vision of prison life, with the only exit for the inmates being through the door taking them to their death. In each film as well, innocence is involved--the main character in The Shawshank Redemption is innocent, and the key inmate in The Green Mile is not just innocent but is an innocent, a man who is incapable of doing wrong. Both films are narrated by an older hand at prison life, each of whom is changed by exposure to the inner strength and innocence of a newer inmate. The films both achieve a sense of beauty through an elevation of the human spirit, achieved both in terms of the story and visually in a way that carries the viewer to a new sense of the power of personal contact with other human beings.

In The Shawshank Redemption, "Red" Redding is the lifer who observes the newcomer, a banker sentenced to prison for murdering his wife and her lover, though he protests his innocence and though there is reason to believe him. Andy Dufrane takes the lead because of his innocence--not merely the fact that he did not kill his wife and her lover but that he is truly an innocent in the world. The other prisoners know that he is innocent in bot...

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The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:27, February 19, 2017, from