WATCH: Actors Talk About Experiences Filming Shawshank Movie

  • 8/16/2019 10:20:55 PM
  • Jesse Smith
  • Local News

MANSFIELD, OH - The Renaissance Theatre was packed to capacity on Friday night for the first night of the celebrations planned for the 25th anniversary of The Shawshank Redemption, a landmark film that touched the hearts and minds of people around the globe.

Several members of the film's cast, along with Director Frank Darabont, returned to the Mansfield area for the weekend to celebrate the film's 25 anniversary with a variety of events. Friday night's event, a live panel with the cast and crew of the film, was held at the Renaissance Theatre and was hosted by Turner Classic Movies personality Ben Mankiewicz.

WMFD spoke to several people on the panel to see why the film continues to have such a strong following around the globe and how the Shawshank Redemption impacted their careers.

"I think people just see this as a very cathartic ending to movie that has gone on to some spiritual places," said Bob Gunton, the actor who played "Warden Norton" in The Shawshank Redemption. "Somehow, knowing what exactly is going to happen does not spoil the experinece of seeing it again."

Directed by Frank Darabont and starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins, the film centers on the unwavering friendship of two convicts who are imprisoned at the fictional Shawshank Correctional Institution and their fight for freedom.

"It's a beautiful story of hope, friendship, and the pain of living a life where things don't go your way," said Gil Bellows, the actor who played "Tommy" in The Shawshank Redemption. "(It's about) having the fortitude and wherewithal to overcome it and sitll cling to something that allows you to keep putting one foot in front of the other; and ultimately find a light that we all need in our life."

TCM Host and film critic Ben Mankiewicz also spoke about what he thought made the film so appealing almost 30 years after its release, noting that it has a more personal feel than others made around the same time.

"It's about friendship," Mankiewicz said. "It's a love story between two men, and I think we relate to that. We relate to the camaraderie. To me, it's a grown-up movie... that's what Shawshank is. I mean, when a movie delivers the perfect ending without you feeling manipulated, you just want to rejoice. That's what Shawshank delivered."

The Shawshank 25 celebration continues through Sunday. For a complete list of events, visit

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