The Shawshank Redemption movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was The Shawshank Redemption filmed?

1992

About The Shawshank Redemption

Whenever anyone puts together a list or poll of the best movies of all time, there’s one film you can always expect to feature somewhere near the top: The Shawshank Redemption. Directed by Frank Darabont, this 1994 epic is widely considered a classic, and it’s one of those rare films from which just about everyone can quote a line or two.

The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a banker convicted of murdering his wife and her lover and jailed for two life sentences. Despite proclaiming his innocence, Andy is sent to Maine’s notoriously brutal Shawshank State Prison.

As Andy starts his life behind bars he meets Red (Morgan Freeman), a longtime prisoner who can smuggle just about anything inside the prison walls — and who also becomes one of the most memorable narrators in cinema history. The two men eventually form a strong friendship that will stand the test of time.

In the weeks, months and years that follow, Andy must adapt to the harsh injustices of prison life, from vicious cons to sadistic guards. He must also deal with a corrupt warden (Bob Gunton), unwanted attention from fellow inmates, and all the while try to clear his name. And eventually, after 19 years behind bars, Andy even launches a daring escape attempt.

Choosing the best scenes from The Shawshank Redemption is a difficult job, but it’s one we’ve tried our best to tackle. Read on for the details of where some of the movie’s most memorable moments were filmed — spoiler alert! — and details on how you can check the location out for yourself.

And why not? After all, you might as well get busy living or get busy dying.

City Locations

Mansfield, Ohio; US Virgin Islands

Location Types

Architectural, American, Beach/Oceanview, Police/Jails

Location Styles

Bus, Dated/Retro

The Shawshank Redemption Locations

The Shawshank Redemption may be set in Maine, but the movie was actually filmed in Ohio. Shawshank State Prison is better known in the real world as the Ohio State Reformatory, and it’s found in the city of Mansfield roughly halfway between Cleveland and Columbus.

The reformatory closed its doors at the end of 1990, but its beautiful Romanesque architecture made it the perfect backdrop as an imposing prison. Today, it even boasts a Shawshank Museum full of props, sets, and costumes from the film, while taking a tour here will also give you a chance to check out Red’s parole board hearing room, Warden Norton’s office, and many other iconic The Shawshank Redemption filming locations.

Many of the other best scenes in The Shawshank Redemption were filmed in and around the Mansfield area. These include the park where Brooks feeds pigeons, the house where Andy’s wife and lover were murdered, and the courthouse where Andy stands trial.

There’s even a self-guided Shawshank Trail that takes in 15 iconic locations from the film. Just be aware that the final stop on the tour is a little further afield than most — if you want to see the beautiful beach where Red and Andy reunite on the outside, you’ll need to head to Sandy Point Wildlife Refuge in the US Virgin Islands!

Fun Fact:

The Shawshank Redemption was something of a box-office flop, but it slowly found an adoring audience in the years following its release

Courtroom scene in The Shawshank Redemption

Wyandot County Courthouse

In the opening scenes of The Shawshank Redemption, we’re introduced to Andy and how he ended up in jail. The former banker is standing trial for murdering his wife and her lover, and we’re shown flashbacks to the night of the killings as the prosecution lays out its case. Andy does a less than convincing job of defending himself, and the audience is left wondering whether he’s capable of the violent crimes being described.

Clearly, the judge is unconvinced by Andy’s claims. “You strike me as a particularly icy and remorseless man, Mr. Dufresne”, the judge intones sternly. “It chills my blood just to look at you.” The judge sentences him to two consecutive life sentences, one for each of his victims, leaving Andy looking completely stunned.

This memorable introduction to our protagonist was filmed at the Wyandot County Courthouse in Upper Sandusky, roughly 45 miles west of Mansfield. The courtroom on the third floor was the one used in the movie, and there’s a historical marker outside the courthouse acknowledging that very fact. Many Wyandot County residents even featured as extras in the courtroom scene.

Brooks kills himself scene in The Shawshank Redemption

Bissman Building

One of the heartbreaking subplots throughout The Shawshank Redemption is the story of Brooks (James Whitmore), an elderly prisoner who becomes one of Andy’s first friends on the inside. But when Brooks is finally paroled after 50 years in jail, the audience watches his tragic attempts to adjust to life on the outside.

We see Brooks taking a job in a grocery store, sadly feeding pigeons in the park, and living in a halfway house. But it soon becomes clear that the world has passed him by. Brooks is scared, alone, and just wants his life to go back to the way things were.

He pens a heartbreaking suicide letter to his fellow inmates: “I don't like it here. I'm tired of being afraid all the time. I've decided not to stay. I doubt they'll kick up any fuss. Not for an old crook like me,” it reads. Then, after carving “Brooks was here” into a ceiling beam, he hangs himself. It’s one of the most memorable scenes in The Shawshank Redemption.

This halfway house is actually known as the Bissman Building and is found in North Main Street in Mansfield. Once the headquarters of the Bissman Company, it’s now in a dilapidated state but still easy to find on your Shawshank Redemption movie adventure.

Andy escapes scene in The Shawshank Redemption

Ohio State Reformatory

Who knew that with a rock hammer, a poster of Raquel Welch, and a whole lot of hard work and patience, anything is possible.

After an anxious night worrying about Andy’s state of mind, Red is alarmed when his good friend doesn’t answer the morning call. The prison guards are stunned when they find Andy’s cell empty. It seems as if he’s simply disappeared into thin air, until his escape tunnel hidden behind the Raquel Welch poster is discovered.

As sirens sound and the search begins, we see how Andy made his daring (and stomach-churning) escape through the sewers. As Andy finally makes it to freedom and turns his face to the sky in the pouring rain, his story of redemption is complete. “Andy Dufresne, who crawled through a river of (expletive) and came out clean on the other side,” Red narrates.

As mentioned above, you can visit the Ohio State Reformatory to see where many Shawshank State Prison scenes were filmed. Among the exhibits and displays on show here is the fake sewer pipe that Andy uses to escape — something very cool to see for any Shawshank Redemption fan.

Red gets parole scene in The Shawshank Redemption

Ohio State Reformatory, Parole Board Room

One of the recurring scenes throughout The Shawshank Redemption is Red’s regular parole board hearing, held every 10 years. In the first two, Red tries to tell the parole board what he thinks they want to hear — that he’s rehabilitated and ready to return to society — and his application is rejected.

But finally, after 40 years behind bars, Red feels like he’ll never get out and instead tells the truth. In a memorable speech to the parole board, he talks about being able to go back in time and talk to his younger self to tell him how the world works, but he knows he can’t.

“That kid’s long gone. This old man is all that’s left. I gotta live with that,” Red says. “Rehabilitated? It’s just a bull–– word. So you go on and stamp your forms, sonny, and stop wasting my time.” To Red’s surprise, his application for parole is approved.

The parole board room is another of the iconic filming locations from The Shawshank Redemption that you can check out at the Ohio State Reformatory. Make sure you stop by for a look while taking a tour of the prison.

Red finds the box under the old oak tree scene in The Shawshank Redemption

Malabar Farm State Park

Red is stunned after being paroled, and viewers get the sense that he is struggling to work out what to do next. But there’s one thing that keeps him going: the promise he made to Andy about visiting “a big hayfield up near Buxton”, and finding something buried under a rock under an old oak tree.

So Red goes to the hayfield, finds the tree and the rock, and digs up a box with a letter inside. It’s from Andy, of course, and there’s money and a letter inside. In it, Andy invites Red to meet him in Mexico to help out with his new business.

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies,” the letter reads.

Sadly, this majestic old oak tree is no longer standing. It was located on a private property near Malabar Farm State Park, a little over 10 miles southeast of Mansfield. The tree was toppled by violent winds in 2016, but its timber was used to make a host of Shawshank-themed merchandise items for keen fans of the movie.

But even if this iconic tree is no longer there, visiting this site is still a bucket-list experience for any Shawshank fan.

Andy and Red are reunited scene in The Shawshank Redemption

Sandy Point Beach in St. Croix

In the original novel by Stephen King, on which this film is based, readers were left not knowing for sure whether Andy and Red ever reunited on the outside. Happily, the movie decided to take their story a step further.

After reading Andy’s letter, Red sets off on a long journey to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, to meet up with Andy. Once again, the thing keeping him going is hope. “I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope,” Red narrates.

Andy is on a secluded beach, scrubbing an old boat, when he looks up to see a smiling Red strolling along the sand. And as the camera pans out, Andy climbs down from the boat and the two men share a tear-jerking hug.

This scene was actually filmed on Sandy Point Beach in St. Croix, which is in the US Virgin Islands. It may not be Mexico, but it’s still a gorgeous spot for two ex-cons to while away their remaining days in peace.

Conclusion

There are so many reasons why The Shawshank Redemption always sits at or near the top of IMDB’s chart of the top 250 movies of all time. From Tim Robbins’ flawless performance to the soothing narrative tones of Morgan Freeman, scenes that live in the memory long after they’ve finished, and lines that have gone on to become some of the most iconic movie quotes of all time, this 1994 masterpiece is an all-time classic.

Even better, if you want to hit the road to check out where some of the best scenes from The Shawshank Redemption were filmed, you can. You’ll find a host of filming locations within easy reach in Mansfield and points further afield around Ohio, and if you follow the official Shawshank Trail, you can relive some of the most memorable scenes from The Shawshank Redemption.

Even better, if you want to hit the road to check out where some of the best scenes from The Shawshank Redemption were filmed, you can. You’ll find a host of filming locations within easy reach in Mansfield and points further afield around Ohio, and if you follow the official Shawshank Trail, you can relive some of the most memorable scenes from The Shawshank Redemption.