It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the debut of The Shawshank Redemption. When the film first hit theaters near the end of 1994, it was a box office bomb during its initial run. But over the years, this non-scary Stephen King adaptation about a fictional Maine prison has gone on to be hailed as one of the greatest films of all time, thanks in part to its ever-present airings on cable TV over the past two-plus decades. The film’s director, Frank Darabont, recently sat down with Deadline to reflect on Shawshank‘s legacy 25 years on.
“It’s interesting seeing it at this point because it’s really so long ago now that, in a sense, it happened to somebody else,” Darabont said of the film. “It feels like something from a different life or a different lifetime. So now I can watch the movie and just appreciate it as, I think as just an audience member now, and it’s not like every shot brings a rush of memories back, I actually have to dig for those memories if I’m so inclined. But every time I watch it I do think, ‘That’s a pretty good movie.'”
The director also discussed how the perception of the film has only grown over time, and how he feels about its enduring popularity with audiences. “I’m just exceptionally gratified by all of it,” Darabont said. “Grateful that the movie has hung in the way it has but also grateful for the fact that it keeps finding a new generation of viewers because the older generation wants to share it with their younger generations … it’s a testament to the power of a good story that speaks to people. It speaks those people who are willing to open their hearts to a story that wears its own heart on its sleeve. If those things line up, then you’ve got something that might stick around awhile.”
The Shawshank Redemption was Darabont’s first film as a director, and since then he’s gone on to helm just three more films: The Jim Carrey dramedy The Majestic, and two other well-received King adaptations in The Green Mile and The Mist. But odds are he’ll always be best known for his work on Shawshank, a film that remains one of the greatest of all time.
You can read the rest of Darabont’s interview with Deadline here.