I have a confession. I’m a pop culture nerd.In fact, I love movies and TV so much that when I’m not writing for them, I’m writing about them for a living prison insight.
For this week’s blog post, I thought it would be fun to combine my love of movies with my prison experience and talk about the greatest prison movies of all time – The Shawshank Redemption.
It’s hard to believe now that when The Shawshank Redemption was released in 1994, it was a smash at the box office. It wasn’t until it found its way onto home video and cable that people discovered just how amazing the film really was. It now tops IMDB’s list of the greatest movies of all time.
The Shawshank Redemption is based on the novella by Stephen King Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank RedemptionIt starred Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman and was the first film to feature Freeman’s legendary voice acting skills.
If for some crazy reason you haven’t seen it, let me give you a refresher. The Shawshank Redemption The story takes place in 1947 in Portland, Maine, to a banker named Andy Dufresne (Robins).
Andy was convicted of murdering his wife and her lover and sentenced to life in prison, despite claiming his innocence. While in prison, Andy befriends Ellis Boyd “Reed” Redding (Freeman), who ) was a long-serving prisoner and smuggler.
This film is the first prison film to show prisoners as human beings and bring humanity into the prison experience. That’s why I think it resonates. However, that’s not what we’re going to talk about today.Instead, today’s question is: where do prisons come from The Shawshank Redemption?
In this blog post, I’ll cover the following topics:
- location of the prison from The Shawshank Redemption
- What is the “Shawshank Trail”?
- History of the Ohio State Reformatory
The location of the prison in The Shawshank Redemption
The film begins in Maine in the 1940s, when Andy is serving a life sentence at the fictional Shawshank State Prison. Although the story takes place in New England, the movie was actually shot in Mansfield, Ohio.
filmed in The Shawshank Redemption Started in June 1993. Over the next three months, the abandoned Ohio State Reformatory (aka Mansfield Reformatory) became the site to represent Shawshank State Penitentiary.
Site crews spent five months looking for a suitable site, and they chose the Ohio State Reformatory because of its Gothic stone and brick architecture. The prison was built between 1886 and 1910 and operated until 1990.
They retired due to overcrowding and inhumane living conditions. The prison was actually planned for demolition when the movie was filmed. Today, much of the prison yard is gone, thanks to the adjoining Richland Correctional Institution.
However, the Ohio State Reformatory’s famous administration building is still there, and they offer daytime tours.
What is the Shawshank Trail?
The Shawshank Redemption Making the Ohio State Reformatory and the town of Mansfield itself a popular tourist destination. Because of this, there’s now a self-guided tour called the Shawshank Trail where you can visit all the movie locations.
There is a brochure available at ShawshankTrail.com You can download a trail map starting at the historic Ohio State Reformatory. There is an entry fee for the prison, but most of the rest of the attractions are free.
On the site of the prison, there’s the Shawshank Museum, where you can see props, sets, costumes and other treasures from the making of the Oscar-nominated film. You can also purchase screen-matching replicas of props from the Museum Store.
History of the Ohio State Reformatory
The site of the Ohio State Reformatory was used as a training camp for Civil War soldiers before construction of the prison began in 1886. The prison’s original architect was Levi T. Scofield, who used three different styles in his design – Victorian Gothic, Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne.
During its century of operation, thousands of prisoners were transferred in and out of the facility. I can’t find the specific names of notorious inmates who stayed there. However, there is a long list of film and television productions that use prisons as filming locations.they include Air Force One and Tango and Cash.
Have you visited the Ohio State Penitentiary? If so, let us know your experience in the comments below.