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Why The Pipe Dream Scene From Shawshank Redemption Means More Than You Think

Twisted tales for the big screen are always better the second time around. Retracing your steps and seeing the things you missed often makes for an even more enjoyable watch. No entry fits that bill better than Frank Darabont's beautiful tale behind bars, "The Shawshank Redemption." Adapted by Stephen King's novella "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" and turned into what is still logged with IMDb as the best film ever made, Tim Robbins' time as Andy Dufresne is littered with a number of little details that reveal Shawshank's only innocent inmate and his plan to break free from it all.

From chess pieces to poster changes to fictional men waiting to come to life on the outside, there are so many pieces to this perfect puzzle that it isn't easy to pick up on them all. However, one passing comment that holds more weight the second time around doesn't come from Andy but from his best buddy, Red (Morgan Freeman), and offers a significant bit of foreshadowing for the film's final act.

Red unknowingly teases Andy's escape from Shawshank

The day before Andy finally hatches his escape from the prison he's been wrongfully held in for nearly 27 years, he is close to reaching his breaking point. Confiding in his best friend in the big house, Andy shares his hopes for what life will be like on the outside and the places he'll go when he can. Regretfully, Red has to throw a dose of reality Andy's way, admitting that, unfortunately, "those are just s***ty pipe dreams," which aren't likely to happen. On the contrary, they are, and it's one very nasty pipe that's going to get him there.

Revealed the morning after his secret escape, it turns out that Andy crawled through a sewage pipe before tumbling out some distance away from the confines of Shawshank. "500 yards," Red repeats in the film. "That's the length of five football fields." While the experience could be argued to be less of a dream and more of a nightmare for Andy, the outcome still has a hugely uplifting payoff, and it's just another great detail in a much-loved movie.