|“||In 1947, a young banker named Andy Dufresne is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover based on strong circumstantial evidence and is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences at Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine. At the prison, inmate Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding is rejected for parole after having served twenty years of his life sentence shortly before Andy's arrival. Andy gradually becomes acquainted with Red's circle of friends, and Red himself, who is known for cleverly smuggling in contraband. After a month of adjusting to his new life, Andy approaches Red and orders from him a rock hammer, so as to pursue his hobby of rock collecting, and later, a large poster of Rita Hayworth.|
One day, while tarring the roof of Shawshank's license plate factory, Andy overhears one of the prison guards, Captain Hadley, discussing the taxes he will have to pay on an inheritance he will soon receive. Although he nearly gets thrown off the roof, Andy's knowledge of financial matters proves valuable to Hadley. As other guards begin to come to him for financial help, Andy is given a makeshift office under the guise of the prison library to provide tax and financial services. His "clientele" grows to include the entire prison staff, guards from other prisons, and even Warden Norton himself. The warden capitalizes on Andy's skills and devises a program to put prison inmates to work for local construction projects, exploiting the prisoners' free labor for his own personal profit, with Andy acting behind the scenes as a money launderer. To keep Andy happy, the Warden lets Andy keep an inordinate amount of contraband in his cell, and expand the prison library through repeated requests to the state. Prior to being discovered for his skills, Andy had frequently been beaten and sexually assaulted by a gang called "The Sisters" led by Bogs and Rooster. After Andy begins to prove important, an attack by Bogs that lands him in the infirmary is avenged by Captain Hadley, disabling Bogs for life. Bogs is sent to another prison and Andy is never bothered again.
In 1965, a young prisoner named Tommy Williams enters Shawshank on a breaking and entering charge, and quickly becomes part of Red and Andy's group of friends, with Andy helping him to pass the GED test. He learns of Andy's supposed crime and makes a shocking revelation: Elmo Blatch, one of his old cellmates, had gleefully described murdering two people who fit the description of Andy's wife and her lover, and how her "hotshot banker" husband got blamed for it. Andy hopes that he will be able to get a new trial with Tommy's help, and he approaches Warden Norton for advice and assistance. Fearing exposure of his illegal activities at Shawshank should Andy be set free, Norton sends him to solitary confinement and orders Hadley to kill Tommy.
Later, when Andy is back in the prison yard, he tells Red that if he ever gets out of prison he should go to a specific hayfield near Buxton, Maine to find something that has been buried there. The following morning, Andy is missing from his cell. In a fury over Andy's disappearance, the warden throws one of Andy's rocks through a poster of Raquel Welch, revealing a large hole that Andy had used to escape. In a flashback sequence, it is revealed Andy spent years chipping away at the wall of his cell with his rock hammer, using the posters of Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe and Welch to conceal it over the years. After his escape, Andy assumes the fake identity of Randall Stevens, which he created earlier for the purpose of concealing the warden's embezzlements. Andy withdraws the funds that he had deposited over the years for Norton and sends evidence of the scams to a local newspaper. The morning the story runs, Byron Hadley is arrested and Norton commits suicide in his office.
Soon after, in 1967, Red is finally released on parole after serving 40 years at Shawshank, despite not wishing to be free, worried that he would end up committing suicide once outside of the prison's strict regime, as happened to his fellow prisoner Brooks Hatlen. He recalls his promise to Andy shortly before Andy's escape, and heads to the field in Buxton that Andy told him about. He finds a small metal box containing money and instructions from Andy. He violates his parole and travels to Mexico, eventually reuniting with Andy in Zihuatanejo on the Pacific coast.