‘The Shawshank Redemption’ anniversary brings stars, fans to Mansfield


MANSFIED, Ohio (WCMH/AP) — A movie that was mostly filmed here Ohio is celebrating its 25th anniversary there.

Even some of the props used in “The Shawshank Redemption” are being donated to the museum.

Touching and powerful are two words that people used to describe the film.

“It’s one of those movies that pulls you in every time,” said fan Casey Luber.

Luber was just one fan who was at the Ohio State Reformatory where scenes were filmed.

“It makes it that more special,” Luber said.

Some of the cast and crew members, including director Frank Darabont and Bob Gunton, who played Warden Norton, returned to where it all began — the closed Ohio State Reformatory, which was used for a majority of the movie’s setting. It is now a tourist attraction for fans of the film.

“Knowing I’m in something that’s as strong and memorable, as significant as any of the great films like Godfather, Gone With The Wind, it’s a gift,” said Alfonso Freeman, who played one of the cons in the film. “I’m not just saying it. It’s a gift.”

Freeman is the son of The Shawshank Redemption star Morgan Freeman.

Users of the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) have ranked the film the best film of all time (9.3 out of 10), ahead of “The Godfather,” “The Dark Knight,” and “The Godfather II.”

People traveled from all over the country for the event, which featured tours of some of the filming sites in Mansfield as well as meet-and-greets with some of the film’s actors and screenings of the movie.

The celebration started Friday and will go through the weekend.

“To be this close to something I’ve looked at for the number one movie of all time is a neat experience,” said fan Chris Riffell.

From Iowa to Ohio, a father-daughter duo made the trip after winning a contest. They said the movie brings the family together.

“It’s a way for all of us to come together,” said Brittni Kriz. “It’s a quick text or photo of the movie and even our family dog likes to watch the movie.”

And it’s the storyline that makes them super fans of the flick.

“Good things can happen and even though it looks bad, things do have a good ending sometimes,” said Jeff Kriz.

People at the reunion said the message of the movie is hope, something that everyone can understand.

“People don’t understand how powerful it is to hold on to hope,” Freeman said. “Hope is not about desperation, It’s about living and being part of the world and it’s better with you in it.”

Tours of the prison are available daily from April 1 – Sept. 30, and Thursdays through Sundays from Oct. 1 – March 31.

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