Although Forrest Gump proved to be the crowd pleaser of 1994, the then box office flop, The Shawshank Redemption proved to be the all pleaser of all time. It is notable that on the top of just about every online poll stands this film. It has one one would expect from a great film. The production design, and costumes are both immaculate. Technically subtle yet absolutely accentuate the sense of place within the prison throughout the film. The score and cinematography capture brilliantly both the harshness and beauty of life itself. The acting is excellent across the board. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are both exceptional in their leading roles, while every small supporting performance adds a bit more character to the titular prison. How is it that the film goes beyond though? It is fascinating that this story about two men's friendship in a prison in the 40's apparently transcends all walks of life in terms of its appeal. Well Frank Darabont's masterfully crafts his story as a director but especially as a writer. If one desire a direct plot it has it. That being in terms of Andy's innocence, and his association with the corrupt prison warden. That certainly brings the needed tension to the proceedings, and a real menace through the villain well played by Bob Gunton. The characters are never forgotten as you feel you get to genuinely know both leads, and even have a proper association with those smaller character especially the old prisoner Brooks. It feels like you've spent time with them when the film is over and they never seem like mere ideas. Now this is one of the most inspirational films of all time, yet never feels manipulative. Darabont earns his grand moments that portray the true joys of life and freedom, as the film does not shy away from depicting the grim realities of prison life either. It depicts the struggle, it shows despair, but it allows one to see all that makes that worthwhile in the end. I hate that the film gets any backlash for its "best of all time status", since you don't need to accept it as your personal best of all time. It's just a great film.