Years ago, the world's penal systems such as Alcatraz Penitentiary; (refer to Appendix A) were biased, corrupt and unjust. Today if such a system existed and was identified there would be immediate action. "Murder in the First" and "The Shawshank Redemption" are two similar yet equally engrossing pieces of film-making; both films are set in the 1930's and 1940's in American prisons and both convey the similar message. The Shawshank Redemption was directed and written by Frank Darabont who adapted horror master Stephen King's 1982 novel "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption". This film's main characters consisted of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), Boyd Ellis Redding "Red" (Morgan Freeman), The Warden (Bill Gunton), Hadley (Clancy Brown) and Brooks played by James Whitmore. The Warner Brothers film "Murder in the First" was inspired by the true story of Alcatraz inmate Henry Young. The film is generally fiction, but portrays an example of some of the in-mates" hardship. The key actors in this film are Kevin Bacon as Henry Young, Gary Oldman as the Warden and Christian Slater as James, the defending attorney. Throughout both films the main issues are the corruption within the penitentiaries by a select number of guards and the wardens, the rehabilitation and redemption process which the in-mates had to encounter (punishment), the brutality of the prison system, and the friendships which were formed within the prisons. .
The subject matter/plot and characters of both these movies are similar in many ways they both contribute the same message. The movie "The Shawshank Redemption" has excellent examples of the issues of corruption and brutality of the prison system. It is based upon a young banker (Andy Dufresne) who is sentenced two life imprisonments for the accusation of the murder of his wife and her lover.