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The year 1994 was a banner one for filmmaking. In a 12-month span, Hollywood churned out timeless classics like The Lion King, Forrest Gump, True Lies, Reality Bites, and Clerks. But no movie of that year matches the longevity and acclaim of The Shawshank Redemption

Though it had meager box office beginnings, the film has achieved classic status. It currently sits at the top of IMDb’s top rated films with The Godfather (1972).

In honor of the 24th anniversary of the film, check out some more fun facts about Shawshank, including some very different early casting choices and a costly gamble that could’ve blown up in the director’s face.

1

Stephen King practically gave the rights away.

2

It was a box office bomb.

3

Frank Darabont’s script fell into exactly the right hands.

4

Frank Darabont turned down $3M to direct it.

5

Morgan Freeman was definitely not typecast.

6

These A-listers who turned the movie down must be kicking themselves still.

7

Freeman suggested Tim Robbins for the role.

8

They filmed in an actual prison.

9

If you find yourself in Buxton, Maine, (or Mansfield, Ohio) don’t bother looking for that hayfield.

10

Brooks and Red have grisly backstories.

11

The American Humane Society was a bit extra with their supervision.

12

The escape scene wasn’t nearly as gross as it seems.

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