Film Quote Friday

In honor of Morgan Freeman, who turns 75 today, here’s a bit from my favorite thing he’s done. (Which is probably everybody‘s favorite thing he’s done, but…)

Here’s the first scene where Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) starts to bend prison life to his will, manipulating prison guard Vernon Hadley (Clancy Brown), with Red Redding (Freeman) narrating. (Via.)

                  HADLEY this shithead lawyer calls 
  long distance from Texas, and he 
  says, Byron Hadley? I say, yeah. He 
  says, sorry to inform you, but your 
  brother just died. 

  Damn, Byron. Sorry to hear that. 

  I ain't. He was an asshole. Run off 
  years ago, family ain't heard of him 
  since. Figured him for dead anyway. 
  So this lawyer prick says, your 
  brother died a rich man. Oil wells 
  and shit, close to a million bucks. 
  Jesus, it's frigging incredible how 
  lucky some assholes can get. 

  A million bucks? Jeez-Louise! You 
  get any of that? 

  Thirty five thousand. That's what 
  he left me. 

  Dollars? Holy shit, that's great! 
  Like winnin' a lottery... 
   (off Hadley's shitty look) 
  ...ain't it? 

  Dumbshit. What do you figger the 
  government's gonna do to me? Take a 
  big wet bite out of my ass, is what. 

  Oh. Hadn't thought of that. 

  Maybe leave me enough to buy a new 
  car with. Then what happens? You 
  pay tax on the car. Repairs and 
  maintenance. Goddamn kids pesterin' 
  you to take 'em for a ride... 

  And drive it, if they're old enough. 

  That's right, wanting to drive it, 
  wanting to learn on it, f'Chrissake! 
  Then at the end of the year, if you 
  figured the tax wrong, they make 
  you pay out of your own pocket. 
  Uncle Sam puts his hand in your 
  shirt and squeezes your tit till 
  it's purple. Always get the short 
  end. That's a fact. 
   (spits over the side) 
  Some brother. Shit. 

 The prisoners keep spreading tar, eyes on their work. 

  Poor Byron. What terrible fuckin' 
  luck. Imagine inheriting thirty 
  five thousand dollars. 

  Crying shame. Some folks got it 
  awful bad. 

 Red glances over -- and is shocked to see Andy standing up,
 listening to the guards talk. 

  Hey, you nuts? Keep your eyes on 
  your pail! 

 Andy tosses his Padd in the bucket and strolls toward Hadley.

  Andy! Come back! Shit! 

  What's he doing? 

  Gettin' himself killed. 

  God damn it... 

  Just keep spreadin' tar... 

 The guards stiffen at Andy's approach. Youngblood's hand goes
 to his holster. The tower guards CLICK-CLACK their rifle 
 bolts. Hadley turns, stupefied to find Andy there. 

  Mr. Hadley. Do you trust your wife? 

  That's funny. You're gonna look 
  funnier suckin' my dick with no 
  fuckin' teeth. 

  What I mean is, do you think she'd 
  go behind your back? Try to 
  hamstring you? 

  That's it! Step aside, Mert. This 
  fucker's havin' hisself an accident. 

 Hadley grabs Andy's collar and propels him violently toward
 the edge of the roof. The cons furiously keep spreading tar.

  Oh God, he's gonna do it, he's 
  gonna throw him off the roof... 

  Oh shit, oh fuck, oh Jesus... 

  Because if you do trust her, there's 
  no reason in the world you can't 
  keep every cent of that money. 

 Hadley abruptly jerks Andy to a stop right at the edge. In 
 fact, Andy's past the edge, beyond his balance, shoetips 
 scraping the roof. The only thing between him and an ugly drop
 to the concrete is Hadley's grip on the front of his shirt.

  You better start making sense. 

  If you want to keep that money, all 
  of it, just give it to your wife. 
  See, the IRS allows you a one-time- 
  only gift to your spouse. It's good 
  up to sixty thousand dollars. 

  Naw, that ain't right! Tax free? 

  Tax free. IRS can't touch one cent. 

 The cons are pausing work, stunned by this business discussion.

  You're the smart banker what shot 
  his wife. Why should I believe a 
  smart banker like you? So's I can 
  wind up in here with you? 

  It's perfectly legal. Go ask the 
  IRS, they'll say the same thing. 
  Actually, I feel silly telling you 
  all this. I'm sure you would have 
  investigated the matter yourself. 

  Fuckin'-A. I don't need no smart 
  wife-killin' banker to show me where 
  the bear shit in the buckwheat. 

  Of course not. But you will need 
  somebody to set up the tax-free 
  gift, and that'll cost you. A 
  lawyer, for example... 

  Ambulance-chaaing, highway-robbing 

  ...or come to think of it, I 
  suppose I could set it up for you. 
  That would save you some money. 
  I'll write down the forms you need, 
  you can pick them up, and I'll 
  prepare them for your signature... 
  nearly free of charge. 
   (off Hadley's look) 
  I'd only ask three beers apiece for 
  my co-workers, if that seems fair. 

  Co-workers! Get him! That's rich, 
  ain't it? Co-workers... 

 Hadley freezes him with a look. Andy presses on: 

  I think a nan working outdoors 
  feels more like a man if he can 
  have a bottle of suds. That's only 
  my opinion. 

 The convicts stand gaping, all pretense of work gone. They
 look like they've been pole-axed. Hadley shoots them a look.

  What are you jimmies starin' at? 
  Back to work, goddamn it! 


 As before, an object is hauled up the side of the building by
 rope -- only this time, it's a cooler of beer and ice. 

    RED (V.O.) 
  And that's how it came to pass, 
  that on the second-to-last day of 
  the job, the convict crew that 
  tarred the plate factory roof in 
  the spring of '49... 

60 EXT -- ROOF -- SHORTLY LATER (1949) 60

 The cons are taking the sun and drinking beer. 

    RED (V.O.) 
  ...wound up sitting in a row at ten 
  o'clock in the morning, drinking icy 
  cold Black Label beer courtesy of 
  the hardest screw that ever walked 
  a turn at Shawshank State Prison. 

  Drink up, boys. While it's cold. 

    RED (V.O.) 
  The colossal prick even managed to 
  sound magnanimous. 

 Red knocks back another sip, enjoying the bitter cold on his
 tongue and the warm sun on face. 

    RED (V.O.) 
  We sat and drank with the sun on 
  our shoulders, and felt like free 
  men. We could'a been tarring the
 roof of one of our own houses. We 
 were the Lords of all Creation. 

 He glances over to Andy squatting apart from the others.

    RED (V.O.) 
  As for Andy, he spent that break 
  hunkered in the shade, a strange 
  little smile on his face, watching 
  us drink his beer. 

   (approaches with a beer) 
  Here's a cold one, Andy. 

  No thanks. I gave up drinking. 

 Heywood drifts back to others, giving them a look. 

    RED (V.O.) 
  You could argue he'd done it to 
  curry favor with the guards. Or 
  maybe make a few friends among us 
  cons. Me, I think he did it just to 
  feel normal again...if only for a 
  short while.

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5 Responses to Film Quote Friday

  1. M. D. Jackson says:

    Freeman sells it real nice, but when the writing's that good to begin with, it's hard not to. A great script which was made into a great movie.

  2. Roger Owen Green says:
  3. Jason says:

    Great scene in a great movie.

    I think it's also worth noting his work in Unforgiven, and even though the film has its detractors for various reasons, I personally enjoy the chemistry he shared with Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy.

  4. Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness says:

    I came late to this movie because I was sick of Tim Robbins at the time, which made it all the more wonderful when I watched it. I am proud to say he and I share a birthday – that means nothing of course but I always thought if I met him I had a topic of conversations.

  5. Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness says:

    I came late to this movie because I was sick of Tim Robbins at the time, which made it all the more wonderful when I watched it. I am proud to say he and I share a birthday – that means nothing of course but I always thought if I met him I had a topic of conversations.

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