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The page Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding contains mature content that may include coarse language, sexual references, and/or graphic violent images which may be disturbing to some. Mature pages are recommended for those who are 18 years of age and older.

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Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’. That's goddamn right.
~ Red

Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding is the deuteragonist and current narrator of the 1994 Crime Drama Saga The Shawshank Redemption. He is a prisoner and a smuggler living in Shawshank Penitentiary where he meets new inmate Andy Dufresne, a banker convicted of murdering his wife and her lover.

He is portrayed by Morgan Freeman, who also portrayed William Somerset in Se7en.


In 1947, Shawshank Penitentiary prisoner Ellis "Red" Redding gets rejected by the parole board after 20 years of a life sentence from murder. Hes later feels guilt and is deeply remorseful for his crime as it was done in rage and anger, he feels he will never get a good life due to his crime, but later when Andy comes, it all changes. After getting rejected, he walks outside to see a new load of prisoners coming to Shawshank. He and his fellow prisoners begin to bet which prisoners will crack during their first night. Red bets on Andy Dufresne, a banker convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. During the new prisoner's first night, Andy stays very quiet and does not crack, making Red losing the bet.

A month after Andy's incarceration, Red is greeted by Andy and asks him to smuggle in a rock hammer for rock crafting. Red manages to get Andy a rock hammer and a Rita Hayworth poster. One day, Andy is repeatetly raped by The Sisters. When Hadley hears it, he beats Bogs up. Bogs is sent to another prison, Red then supposedly jokes about him drinking his food to a straw. After Bogs is gone, Andy begins writing letters and Brooks is out of Shawshank for 50, however due to not liking the outside world, he hangs himself.

Andy then plays music all over Shawshank, hes punished for it. After his release, Andy explains that hope is what gets him through his time, a concept that Red dismisses. Tommy Williams comes to prison for burglary, Red and Andy befriend him, Andy also help him with reading. One day, Tommy tells his friends that he had an inmate brag about his crime and one of them, he confirms himselfs as Andy's wife true killer. Andy approaches the warden but he denies it and kills Tommy for it.

After Andy is punished again for two months, he tells a skeptical Red that he dreams of living in Zihuatanejo. Andy also tells him of a specific hayfield near Buxton, asking Red once he is released to retrieve a package that Andy buried there. Red worries about Andy's well being, especially when he learns Andy asked a fellow inmate for 6 ft of rope. Andy then escapes Shawshank with some of Norton stuff.

Next day when The Warden sees it, he tells his men to find him immediatly. However, he then finds a tunnel which Andy used to escape in. The police come in Shawshank one day to arrest Hadley and Norton for corruption but Norton commits suicide.

Red finally gets out of Shawshank after serving for 40 years. He struggles to adapt to life outside prison and fears that he never will. Remembering his promise to Andy, he visits Buxton and finds a cache containing money and a letter asking him to come to Zihuatanejo. Red violates his parole by traveling to Fort Hancock, Texas and crossing the border into Mexico, admitting that he finally feels hope. He finds Andy on a beach in Zihuatanejo, and the two reunited friends happily embrace.


  • In the novel Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, he is described as a middle-aged Irish man with greying red hair and the producers of the movie even looked into various white actors. But the director wanted Morgan Freeman as the role.
  • This is Morgan Freeman's favorite film he acted in.
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