Just as everyone else in Shawshank Prison, Andy (Tim Robbins) was "innocent". But unlike most of the other inmates, Andy did not commit the crimes he was charged with. The Shawshank Redemption is a dramatic, gripping film about a taciturn banker sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife and her lover. Now, as one can easily imagine, the transition from a cozy suburban home to a maximum security prison is not a smooth one, and Andy did have quite a bit of trouble with a gang of "Bull Queers," called "The Sisters" who frequently tried to strip him of his humanity. But perhaps even more corrupt than all the cold-blooded convicts in Shawshank were the Warden (Bob Gunton) many of the guards who had charge over the prisoners. However, amidst Andy's cruel welcoming party at the prison, he did manage to make some friends. His closest friend was long-time inmate, Red (Morgan Freeman), who interestingly enough, had made a bet that Andy would be the first one to cry of all the "fresh fish," or new inmates. He is also the narrator of the film, and his calm voice creates a nostalgic feel as he describes his friendship with Andy and the cold harshness of prison life. .
Although on the surface just a movie about an innocent man coping with life in prison, The Shawshank Redemption actually incorporates important issues, such as religion versus morality, into its plot. Throughout the film, Andy is painted as something like a "moral ideal," more so than the religiously fanatical warden who always warned the inmates that they needed to be "saved" in order to avoid divine judgment, and who also proved later on to be perhaps more cold-blooded and ruthless than any of the prisoners he was trying to "save." Although Andy was hardly what one would consider a "holy missionary," he did not portray himself as a hypocrite as the warden did, and also unlike the warden, looked after his fellow inmates and even helped out a prison guard, with little or no reward for himself.