The Shawshank Redemption: The Shooting Script

Darabont, Frank, screenplay and notes, introduction by Stephen King

Newmarket Press, 1996

pp. 61-62

In the film The Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins) locks himself in the Warden’s office, and plays a recording of a duet from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro over the PA system.  The whole prison stops to listen.  Andy’s friend Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding reflects on what happened: “I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singin’ about. . . . I like to think they were singin’ about something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it.  I tell you those voices soared, higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream.  It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away . . . and for the briefest of moments, every last man at Shawshank felt free.”