The Shawshank Redemption: Morgan Freeman’s All Time Classic Terribly Disrespected Stephen King for ‘Marketing Purposes’ That’s Still Hurtful After 30 Years

Reason why The Shawshank Redemption does not honor Stephen King despite being adapted from his work.

morgan freeman in the shawshank redemption, stephen king
credit: wikimedia commons/Jarekt


  • Morgan Freeman's The Shawshank Redemption is one of the greatest movies of all time.
  • Inspired by Stephen King's novella, the movie does not mention the writer's work except a subtle 'Thank You'.
  • A brutal disrespect, it was because of a marketing tactic that the movie did not establish its connection with King.
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It has been three decades since The Shawshank Redemption was released, yet the movie remains one of the best movies of all time. A timeless classic, the film starred Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in the lead and is based on a Stephen King novel of similar name.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994).
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

While throughout the movie, those who have read King’s book, will understand how perfectly the story was adapted by director Frank Darabont, King’s name is largely missing from the credits. A small ‘Thank You’ does appear at the end, but there is no mention of the novel’s name. This lack of connection was apparently a marketing tactic, that continues to hurt even after all this time.

The Shawshank Redemption Hid Its Connection with Stephen King

Image via Stephen King In His Own Words Featurette
Stephen King (Image: In His Own Words Featurette | YouTube)

Stephen King is better known for his work in the horror and suspense genre, yet he is equally brilliant when it comes to other literary genres. Among his known works is the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption from his collection Different Seasons, upon which the classic Morgan Freeman-starrer movie, The Shawshank Redemption is inspired by.


Despite the unmistakable adaptation, the movie largely omits the name of its source or the author who wrote it. Faithfully adapted by the director Frank Darabont, it wasn’t the filmmaker’s first tryst with King’s work or adapting it. Yet, the production chose to omit King’s name due to his association and reputation as a writer expert in popular fiction and the horror genre.

Hence, as a means to attract a more prestigious and superior crown, King’s name and the movie’s connection to him or his work were absent from the marketing. While his name might have helped the movie’s terrible box-office results, the movie, despite its smart marketing tactics failed miserably at the box office (via the AV Club).

Why The Shawshank Redemption Is One of The Greatest Films of All Time

Morgan Freeman in a still from The Shawshank Redemption
Morgan Freeman in a still from The Shawshank Redemption (Image via Warner Bros.)

The Shawshank Redemption, during its initial run at the box office, just grossed about $16 million worldwide (via Vanity Fair). But now it is one of the greatest movies of all time and is currently the highest-rated movie on IMDb.


Apart from its incredible cast and portrayal, the movie’s consistent popularity is due to its universal themes of hope, friendship, perseverance, and redemption. Not only do these themes resonate deeply with audience across the world, but the story of human experience in the face of adversity is one that is deeply personal for a lot of people.

Having received seven Oscar nominations, the movie has since gained a cult following. Its timeless acclaim thanks to King’s literary brilliance and Frank Darabont’s adaptation has made the characters timeless legends and the tale, a timeless classic.

Not only has it left an indelible mark on popular culture and the industry as a whole, but the movie continues to serve as an inspiration to aspiring filmmakers and audiences.


The Shawshank Redemption can be streamed on Netflix.


Written by Maria Sultan

Articles Published: 1285

Maria Sultan is a News Content Writer at FandomWire. Having honed her skills are a Freelance and Professional content writer for more than 5 years (and counting), her expertise spans various genres and content type. A Political Science and History Graduate, her deep interest in the world around shapes her writing, blending her insights across diverse themes.

Outside the realm of writing, Maria can be often found buried in the world of books or pursuing art or engaged in fervent discussions about anything or everything, her passions balanced by binge watching Kdramas, Anime, Movies or Series during leisure hours.