Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman) were imprisoned at the Shawshank State Prison in Maine, but the architecturally grand prison that stood in for the fictional hoosegow is actually located in a small northern Ohio town. And the town is so proud of its prison that it hosts tours of the structure and rents it out for weddings and other celebrations.

The Ohio State Reformatory, operated by the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society, is touted by the MRPS as "one of our nation's most historic treasures." The structure, which also popped up in 'Air Force One' and 'Tango & Cash,' as well as Lil Wayne's 'Go DJ' music video, hasn't been in full operation since 1972, but, as it still boasts the largest free-standing cell block in the world (six tiers high, divided into 600 cells), it was suitably impressive to stand in as the oppressive structure that housed Andy and Red and their convict cohorts for 'The Shawshank Redemption' in 1994.

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman) were imprisoned at the Shawshank State Prison in Maine, but the architecturally grand prison that stood in for the fictional hoosegow is actually located in a small northern Ohio town. And the town is so proud of its prison that it hosts tours of the structure and rents it out for weddings and other celebrations.

The Ohio State Reformatory, operated by the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society, is touted by the MRPS as "one of our nation's most historic treasures." The structure, which also popped up in 'Air Force One' and 'Tango & Cash,' as well as Lil Wayne's 'Go DJ' music video, hasn't been in full operation since 1972, but, as it still boasts the largest free-standing cell block in the world (six tiers high, divided into 600 cells), it was suitably impressive to stand in as the oppressive structure that housed Andy and Red and their convict cohorts for 'The Shawshank Redemption' in 1994.

Location as Character: Well, it is a prison movie, so the Ohio State Reformatory was practically a character in the drama. Andy Dufresne was sent to Shawshank to serve two life sentences after being (erroneously) convicted of killing his wife and her lover. There, he was befriended by kind, long-term convict Red, and, because of the greediness of the prison's warden, Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton, who now plays the much more heroic Ethan Kanin on '24') ended up as the unofficial prison financial adviser and librarian.

Major spoiler ahead in case you haven't seen the movie: Shawshank also, ironically, provides the means to freedom for both Andy and Red when Andy turns the table on Norton. The warden had charged Andy with running a scam that would have netted him a load of cash. But in the end, it turns out Andy had spent 20 years secretly digging a tunnel out of Shawshank (and covering the hole in his cell with posters of Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth), and he escapes with the warden's ill-gotten cash. Before he flees to Zihuatanejo, Andy stashes a sum for his pal Red, who's been released from Shawshank, and the friends are reunited in Mexico to live out the rest of their lives in comfortable freedom.


Historical Significance: 'The Shawshank Redemption' was the first of three major film collaborations between bestselling author Stephen King and writer/director Frank Darabont, who also directed and wrote the screenplays for 'The Green Mile' and 'The Mist.' 'Shawshank' was an adaptation of King's novella 'Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.'

Upon its release in 1994, 'Shawshank' was a failure at the box office, earning back barely more than half of its $35 million budget. But the movie earned seven Oscar nominations (including Best Picture and Best Actor for Freeman), was named number 72 on the AFI's '100 Years ... 100 Movies' list in 2007 and is considered by many movie fans and critics to be a classic.

Fun Fact: In a moment of defiance against the Shawshank Prison Powers That Be, Andy gets his hands on a copy of Mozart's opera 'The Marriage of Figaro' and plays it over the prison loudspeaker to entertain his fellow inmates. For more than 20 years, the real-life warden at the Ohio State Reformatory was a man named Arthur Lewis Glattke, who was respected amongst the inmates because he implemented many reforms, including piping music into the OSR cell blocks.

Directions: The Ohio State Reformatory is located at 100 Reformatory Road, Mansfield, Ohio, north of downtown Mansfield on Ohio state route 545. Mansfield is in the mid-north part of the state, 80 miles southwest of Cleveland and 60 miles northeast of Ohio capital Columbus.

Visitor Info: The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society hosts regular weekday and Sunday guided tours of the prison, as well as special themed tours like a haunted house-ish event at Halloween, a Porsche and VW car show and swap meet dubbed TubadubJam, and, last year, a bridal expo called "Glamour in the Slammer." In addition, there is a self-directed driving tour of all the 'Shawshank Redemption' locations in the Mansfield area: The Shawshank Trail, which covers 13 filming locations in the region.
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