In a Twitter poll, the 1994 movie emerged as the clear winner
When The Shawshank Redemption released in 1994, it was not a commercial success. But it did receive critical acclaim often finding itself on the top movies to watch on critics' list and was consistently number one on IMDb's top-rated flicks since 2008. Now, yet again, this classic has found its way to the top eclipsing The Godfather and The Dark Knight.
In a recent Twitter poll conducted by Lad Bible, the film was unanimously voted as number one by thousands of respondents as one of the best films to watch. The prison drama movie got a whopping 47.4 percent of votes, followed by The Dark Knight in second place with 33.9 percent, and the mobster trilogy, The Godfather and The Godfather II, took third and fourth spot respectively with 11.2 percent and 7.4 percent of the votes.
These are the top four films on IMDb, but which one do you think is the best film of all time? 🎬— LADbible (@ladbible) April 4, 2021
There are certain movies that you can watch over and over again, as they stand the test of time, and it's evident that The Shawshank Redemption is one of them. The movie starred Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman as Andy Dufresne and Ellis "Red" Redding, two inmates at Shawshank State Penitentiary who bond together and "finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency," according to IMDb's synopsis of the film. Together, they delivered the performance of a lifetime.
Therefore it's mindboggling to know that this did not perform well when it was released given that it had a positive review during screen testings. According to Looper, there are a number of reasons why The Shawshank Redemption failed spectacularly at the box office despite it being a darling in critics' circles. To begin with, the title of the film didn't endear itself to viewers. This was confirmed by Tim Robbins in 2019 who told Entertainment Weekly, "[F]or years after that film came out, people would come up to me and say, 'You know, I really liked you in that film Scrimshaw Reduction' or 'Shimmy, Shimmy, Shake' or 'Shankshaw' — you know, so many different ways that people got it wrong."
Two, the film released the same weekend against another heavyweight: Pulp Fiction. Pulp Fiction had already received rave reviews and won at Cannes, so when it made its way to the masses, encouraged by Todd McCarthy's review in Variety, where he stated: "Reviews, cast and heavy anticipation will make this a must-see among buffs and young male viewers." Thus it was no surprise that audiences favored Pulp Fiction over The Shawshank Redemption.
Yet, The Shawshank Redemption slowly made its way to becoming a cultural watershed moment and turned things around for them. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor for Morgan Freeman, although it did not win any. It is quite possible that this got viewers who were previously reluctant to give this movie a try. Warner Bros. released 320,000 VHS rental copies, and sure enough this home entertainment movie shot to number one of the Billboard's Top Video Rental charts. TNT also aired the movie regularly as part of its "New Classics" film programming in 1997. Speaking of this success, Robbins said, "[T]he immediate reaction at that time wasn't as important as whether the film would have life in video and on cable. And when given a chance, when people actually started to see the movie, it became something that was a movie that people had to watch several times."
The Shawshank Redemption is the greatest movie of all time. Full stop, no debate. That’s all, have a good day. pic.twitter.com/6HwioTDfXs— Kylee Stubbert (@kyleestubbert) May 28, 2019
1. The Shawshank Redemption— Matt Foster (@f0zworth) April 12, 2021
Embarrassingly the first time I’ve ever seen this. Lives up to the hype as one of the best ever made. Andy and Red hugging on the beach at the end was a feeling not many movies can provide. 5/5 pic.twitter.com/rMcEOmLa2b