These Shawshank Redemption Quotes Will Make You Pack Your Bags For Zihuatanejo

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Shawshank Redemption Quotes
Columbia Pictures

Zihuatanejo. Be honest: You whisper that word to yourself every time you see a reference to The Shawshank Redemption, right? Yeah, us too. We like to imagine Andy Dufresne — the character played by Tim Robbins in this 1994 classic — and Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman) kicked back on a Mexican beach shore together, reveling in the spoils of their now-booming fishing charter business. Sometimes we even like to imagine we travel to Zihuatanejo, and the men take us out on the water. After all, Andy says the Pacific has no memory, and there are a few things from the last year we’d like forgotten. What you probably don’t want to forget, though, are all of the genuinely epic Shawshank Redemption quotes that made the film so fantastic. We’re here to help on that front.

To kickstart your memory, let’s begin with a quick recap. In this Stephen King adaptation, two men imprisoned in Shawshank State Prison — one innocent and one guilty — form a bond that sees them through nearly two decades of life behind bars before one makes a break for it. Hope, loss, despair, vengeance, humor and laughter, unconditional friendship… this film covers the whole gamut of the human experience. Basically, it’s one of the best movies ever made. If the following famous lines don’t make you want to rewatch it for the umpteenth time, well, what are we saying? They definitely will. As Andy would say, “Get busy living or get busy dying!”

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Best Shawshank Redemption Quotes By Andy Dufresne


  1. “She was beautiful. God, I loved her. I just didn’t know how to show it; that’s all. I killed her, Red. I didn’t pull the trigger, but I drove her away. And that’s why she died, because of me.”
  2. “I’m a rockhound. At least I was in my old life. I’d like to be again, on a limited scale.”
  3. “It’s funny. On the outside, I was an honest man. Straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.”
  4. “My wife used to say I’m a hard man to know. Like a closed book. Complained about it all the time.”
  5. “Whatever mistakes I made, I paid for them and then some.”
  6. “I think a man working outdoors feels more like a man if he can have a bottle of suds. That’s only my opinion.”
  7. “What’s that going to earn you? Two-and-a-half, three percent a year? We can do a lot better than that. So tell me, Mr. Dekins. Where do you want to send your kids? Harvard? Yale?”
  8. “What you hear isn’t even the half of it. He’s got scams you haven’t even dreamed of. Kickbacks on his kickbacks. There’s a river of dirty money running through this place.”
  9. “Bad luck, I guess. It floats around. It’s got to land on somebody. It was my turn, that’s all. I was in the path of the tornado. I just didn’t expect the storm would last as long as it has.”
  10. “That’s the one thing they can’t confiscate, not ever. That’s the beauty of it. Haven’t you ever felt that way about music, Red?”
  11. “It’s my life. Don’t you understand? It’s my life!”
  12. “There’s a big hayfield up near Buxton… one in particular. It’s got a long rock wall with a big oak tree at the north end. It’s like something out of a Robert Frost poem. It’s where I asked my wife to marry me. We went there for a picnic and made love under the oak, and I asked and she said yes. Promise me, Red. If you ever get out, find that spot. At the base of that wall, you’ll find a rock that has no earthly business in a Maine hayfield. Piece of black, volcanic glass. There’s something buried under it I want you to have.”
  13. Zihuatanejo. It’s a little place in Mexico on the Pacific Ocean. Do you know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has no memory. That’s where I want to live the rest of my life — a warm place with no memory.”
  14. “I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really: Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
  15. “Dear Warden, you were right. Salvation lay within.”
  16. “I don’t waste time on losers, Tommy.”
  17. “You need it so you don’t forget. Forget that there are places in the world that aren’t made out of stone. That there’s a — there’s a — there’s something inside that’s yours, that they can’t touch.”

Best Shawshank Redemption Quotes By Ellis “Red” Redding


  1. “There’s a con like me in every prison in America, I guess. I’m the guy who can get it for you. Cigarettes, a bag of reefer if you’re partial, a bottle of brandy to celebrate your kid’s high school graduation. Damn near anything, within reason. Yes, sir, I’m a regular Sears & Roebuck.”
  2. “I could see why some of the boys took him for snobby. He had a quiet way about him, a walk and a talk that just wasn’t normal around here. He strolled, like a man in a park without a care or worry in the world, like he had on an invisible coat that would shield him from this place. Yeah, I think it would be fair to say I liked Andy from the start.”
  3. “His first night in the joint, Andy Dufresne cost me two packs of cigarettes. He never made a sound.”
  4. “Yes, sir, Andy was a regular H&R Block. In fact, he got so busy at tax time, he was allowed a staff… got me out of the woodshop a month out of the year, and that was fine by me.”
  5. “I like to think the last thing that went through his head, other than that bullet, was how the hell that Andy Dufrense got the best of him.”
  6. “Believe what you want. These walls are funny. First, you hate ‘em, then you get used to ‘em. After long enough, you get so you depend on ‘em. That’s ‘institutionalized.’”
  7. “He had enough rocks to keep him busy ‘til rapture.”
  8. “We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the lords of all creation. As for Andy, he spent that break hunkered in the shade — a strange little smile on his face — watching us drink beer.”
  9. “By the year Kennedy was shot, Andy had transformed a broom closet smelling of turpentine into the best prison library in New England.”
  10. “Every man’s got a breaking point.”
  11. “They send you here for life, and that’s exactly what they take. The part that counts, anyway.”
  12. “Not long after the warden deprived us of his company, I got a postcard in the mail. It was blank, but the postmark said Fort Hancock, Texas. Fort Hancock… right on the border. That’s where Andy crossed. When I picture him heading south in his own car with the top down, it always makes me laugh. Andy Dufresne: the man who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side. Andy Dufresne… headed for the Pacific.”
  13. “Geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes, pressure and time. That and a big damn poster.”
  14. “Mr. Stevens visited nearly a dozen banks in the Portland area that morning. All told, he blew town with more than $370,000 of Warden Norton’s money. Severance pay for 19 years.”
  15. “There’s a harsh truth to face. No way I’m gonna make it on the outside. All I do anymore is think of ways to break my parole, so maybe they’d send me back. Terrible thing, to live in fear. Brooks Hatlen knew it. Knew it all too well. All I want is to be back where things make sense. Where I won’t have to be afraid all the time. Only one thing stops me: a promise I made to Andy.”
  16. “I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.”
  17. “I remember thinking it would take a man 600 years to tunnel through the wall with it. Andy did it in less than 20.”
  18. “Same old shit, different day.”
  19. “There’s not a day goes by I don’t feel regret. Not because I’m in here, or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed a terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense into him, tell him the way things are. But I can’t. That kid’s long gone, and this old man is all that’s left. I got to live with that.”
  20. “Get busy living, or get busy dying. That’s goddamn right.”
  21. “In prison, a man’ll do most anything to keep his mind occupied.”

Best Shawshank Redemption Quotes About Hope


  1. Andy Dufresne: “There are places in the world that aren’t made out of stone. There’s something inside they can’t touch.”

Ellis “Red” Redding: “What are you talking about?” Andy Dufresne: “Hope.”

  1. “Hope is a dangerous thing. Drive a man insane.” — Ellis “Red” Redding
  2. “Remember, Red: Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.” — Andy Dufresne
  3. “I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t wanna know. I would like to think they were singing 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.” — Ellis “Red” Redding
  4. “I find I’m so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think that’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.” — Ellis “Red” Redding

Other Memorable Lines and Dialogue From the Movie


  1. D.A.: “You recall Lt. Mincher’s testimony? He and his men dragged that river for three days and nary a gun was found. So no comparison can be made between your gun and the bullets taken from the bloodstained corpses of the victims. That’s also rather convenient, isn’t it, Mr. Dufresne?”

Andy Dufresne: “Since I am innocent of this crime, sir, I find it decidedly inconvenient the gun was never found.”

  1. Ellis “Red” Redding: “King me.”

Andy Dufresne: “Ah, chess. Now there’s a game of kings, knights, strategy…” Ellis “Red” Redding: “And a total fucking mystery. I hate it!”

  1. “The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.” — Brooks Hatlen
  2. “It’s a miracle — man up and vanished like a fart in the wind!” — Warden Samuel Norton
  3. “So, I’m backing out the door, right, and I got the TV, like this; it was a big old thing. I couldn’t see shit. Suddenly, I hear this voice, ‘Police, kid! Hands in the air.’ You know, I was standing there, holdin’ on to that TV, so finally, the voice says, ‘You hear what I said, boy?’ And I say, ‘Yes sir, I sure did. But if I drop this fucking thing, you got me on destruction of property too.” — Tommy Williams
  4. Ellis “Red” Redding: “You gonna open it or stand there with your thumb up your butt?”

Tommy Williams: “Thumb up my butt sounds better.”

  1. “Red, I do believe you’re talking out of your ass.” — Floyd
  2. Andy Dufresne: “I understand you’re a man who knows how to get things.”

Ellis “Red” Redding: “I’m known to locate certain things from time to time.”

  1. “I believe in two things: Discipline and the Bible. Here you’ll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord. Your ass belongs to me. Welcome to Shawshank.” — Warden Samuel Norton
  2. Ellis “Red” Redding: “Rumor has it you’re a real cold fish. You think your shit smells sweeter than most. Is that right?”

Andy Dufresne: “What do you think?” Ellis “Red” Redding: “Well, to tell you the truth, I haven’t made up my mind.”

  1. “I’m not gonna count to three, I’m not even gonna count to one. You will shut the fuck up or I’ll sing you a lullaby!” — Capt. Byron Hadley

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