HomeAmerican Entertainment‘The Shawshank Redemption’ Premiered in Theaters on This Day in 1994

‘The Shawshank Redemption’ Premiered in Theaters on This Day in 1994

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Pool Photographer/WireImage/Getty Images)

Remember when you heard “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin'” for the first time? “The Shawshank Redemption” premiered today in 1994.

Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman starred in this haunting-yet-beautiful prison movie. Twitter account RetroNewsNow reminded fans about today’s anniversary and shared the movie poster.

Take a look below at what moviegoers could see in advance of seeing the film.

According to IMDb, the movie is about two imprisoned men (played by Robbins and Freeman) who bond over a number of years. They find solace and, yes, redemption through their acts of common decency.

“The Shawshank Redemption” was based on a short story from Stephen King. Robbins portrays Andy Dufresne while Freeman plays Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding.

Dufresne ends up sentenced to life imprisonment over murdering his wife and her lover. He says that he is innocent, but that did not keep him from prison. Now Andy and “Red” get caught up in a money-laundering operation at Shawshank.

It was led by the prison warden, Samuel Norton, played by Bob Gunton.

Veteran character actor James Whitmore had a memorable turn as prison librarian Brooks Hatlen. Brooks had been at the prison since the early 1900s. Whitmore would pick up a slew of new fans to his work after the film came out. Film reviewers also were especially kind toward him and praised his work.

‘The Shawshank Redemption’ Was Not Received Well In Movie Theaters On First Run

During the initial run in theaters, “The Shawshank Redemption” only earned $16 million. Some movie reviewers have said one reason it didn’t do better was that “Pulp Fiction” and “Forrest Gump” were in theaters at that time.

But this movie would not be denied. A number of factors helped revive it.

“The Shawshank Redemption” picked up a number of nominations, including seven from the Academy Awards. That, coupled with international audiences watching the film, raised the total amount that raised the box-office gross to $58.3 million.

People also loved to rent that movie back in 1995. It even helped raise the specter of even more attention than it originally received.

Six years earlier in 1988, Robbins scored his big movie break in the Kevin Costner-Susan Sarandon baseball movie, “Bull Durham.” In case you forgot, Robbins played pitcher Ebby Calvin “Nook” LaLoosh.

He also steered toward writing and directing films, such as the powerful 1995 film “Dead Man Walking” that starred Sarandon and Sean Penn. That movie was based on the work of Sister Helen Prejean, who has been a staunch protest voice against the death penalty.

As for Freeman, other movies to his name include “Unforgiven,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” and “Invictus.” Of course, movie fans also know him for his work in “The Dark Knight Trilogy” of “Batman” films.