Upon its immediate theatrical release in the U.S. 20 years ago, the film didn’t make a huge impression, except to film critics, who lauded it for its realism and existential motifs. In fact the American moviegoers’ response was rather tepid, and the film barely made up for its production costs.
In honor of Andy and Red’s 20th, we selected some of our favorite quotes from the film (some bold, some beautiful, and some… just downright funny):
Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.
RED: 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.
ANDY: I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.
WARDEN NORTON: Lord! It’s a miracle! Man up and vanished like a fart in the wind!
RED: Same old sh*t, different day.
CAPTAIN HADLEY: What is your malfunction, you fat barrel of monkey spunk?
BROOKS: Easy peasy japanesey.
RED: I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.
ANDY: Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
ANDY: You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific?
ANDY: They say it has no memory. That’s where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory.
RED: I find I’m so excited that I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at a 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.