Morgan Freeman’s Most Iconic Movie Is Available To Stream For Free Right Now

The Shawshank Redemption, starring Morgan Freeman, is streaming for free on Tubi.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

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Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

With each new month comes an array of fresh content across every streaming platform. This June, Fox Entertainment’s free ad-supported streaming service, Tubi, adds The Shawshank Redemption to its catalog. Led by Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins, the story is based on the Stephen King novella of the same name.

While it wasn’t a box office success in 1994, The Shawshank Redemption has since gained a cult following and is considered one of the greatest films ever. The story begins in 1947 when successful banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and her new boyfriend.

Andy is ultimately sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary, where he meets long-term inmate Red (Morgan Freeman), who becomes his close friend. Over several years, Andy endures the harsh realities of prison life including corruption, violence, and despair. However, he remains resilient and maintains his sanity by assisting the prison staff with their financial matters.

He also assists his fellow inmates, including Brooks Hatlen (James Whitmore), an elderly inmate who has spent most of his life behind bars. Andy also works to upgrade the prison library and helps various prisoners with their educational pursuits. He also gains favor with the prison warden, Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton), who sees Andy’s financial skills as an asset.

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Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Through his friendship with Red (Morgan Freeman), Andy acquires the necessary tools to free himself. He conceals his activities by using posters and his job as the prison librarian to cover up the tunnel he is digging. However, Andy endures several setbacks, including frequent inspections.

Andy’s determination pays off when he finally escapes through the tunnel after nearly two decades behind bars. He uses evidence he collected to expose the corruption at Shawshank, resulting in the arrest and downfall of the prison staff, including the warden. Meanwhile, Red (Morgan Freeman), released on parole, follows a series of clues and reunites with Andy on a beach in Mexico.

The majority of the Morgan Freeman movie was filmed in Mansfield, Ohio. The Ohio State Reformatory, a former prison, served as the primary shooting location for Shawshank State Penitentiary. To add authenticity to the film, actual former inmates were cast as extras in various scenes, blending in with the professional actors.

Interestingly, Morgan Freeman’s character, Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, was initially written as a white Irishman in Stephen King’s novella. However, director Frank Darabont was so set on casting Freeman that he rewrote the character specifically for him. However, there is a nod to the source material in the film where Andy asks his friend why he’s called Red, to which he jokes, “Maybe it’s because I’m Irish.”

Initially, the role of Tommy Williams was given to relatively unknown Brad Pitt. However, shortly after being cast, Pitt’s breakthrough performance in Thelma & Louise brought him significant recognition and new opportunities. Consequently, he opted to drop out of the project to explore other acting prospects.

Gil Bellows stepped in and ultimately portrayed the character in the film.

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Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Despite its initial commercial disappointment, The Shawshank Redemption has achieved remarkable success. The film earned seven Academy Award nominations and a successful theatrical re-release. With the combination of international earnings, the film’s box office gross surged to an impressive $73.3 million.

Notably, over 320,000 VHS rental copies of the Morgan Freeman film were shipped across the United States, making it one of the most popular rentals in 1995. Positive word of mouth further bolstered the movie’s reputation, solidifying its status as a top viewing choice. After the Turner Broadcasting System acquired Castle Rock, the film was regularly screened on TNT from 1997 onwards.

In 2008, The Shawshank Redemption reached a significant milestone when it topped the IMDb user ratings chart, taking the coveted position as the highest-rated film. Decades later, the Morgan Freeman movie still holds the position, highlighting its enduring popularity and the appreciation it received from audiences worldwide.

Recognizing its cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance, the United States Library of Congress selected The Shawshank Redemption for preservation in the prestigious National Film Registry in 2015. The film’s legacy extends beyond critical acclaim and viewer ratings. It is often referenced in pop culture and is frequently quoted by fans as its themes of hope and perseverance resonate with audiences.