Shawshank Redemption: a question about timing

How does Andy Dufresne have time to clean out the bank accounts and get out of state before the alarm on his escape goes out? I presume that prisons have an early rise and shine while banks- well, keep banker’s hours. And even if the guards and the warden at first presumed that Andy was still inside the prison somewhere, I would have thought that s.o.p. is that the prison would immedately notify the local sheriff and/or town police, and issue a BOLO on the bus and train stations.

He didn’t do it before. Red even says in the cut to the bank that it was right around the same time they found the hole. The point is everyone is looking for some fugitive running through the woods. Not some upstanding citizen in a nice suit and freshly shined shoes sitting in a bank. And the warden didn’t know he hit the banks until the cops showed up a few days later.

Just watched that section of the movie and the voiceover says “the next morning, right about the time Raquel was spilling her little secret, a man nobody had laid eyes on before strolled into the Maine National Bank…”

So… [waves hands].

I could agree with @AlsoNamedBort that even if the alert had gone out, they’d be looking for someone near the prison and hiding/whatever, not walking into a bank in a nice suit. As long as he can get to one bank he can hire a taxi or a car and people aren’t going to suspect a nicely-dressed rich guy as an escaped convict.

Also, it’s the 1960’s, it’s going to take a while to get his picture out. And movie aside, I imagine Andy would look a little from his picture taken 20 years earlier. Did they ever say how old Andy was?

I can believe the unimpeded bank clean-out better than I can accept how Andy was able to set up all those accounts and ID in the first place. I would imagine the hidden stash for Red had to have been arranged before the escape…somehow.

Mysterious friends on the outside?

It’s a good story anyway.

In the novella, he had a friend on the outside who set up a lot, if not all, of the financial stuff.

Andy was responsible for setting up all of the accounts (by mail) and kept all of the records in the accounting book kept in the warden’s safe (which he took with him, leaving instead the Bible in which he had stored the rock hammer). Even if the warden had the presence of mind to call up the banks instead of go to his office and decorate the walls with his brains, he probably didn’t know where to call and what account name to give.

Since the warden didn’t spill his guts the police would be looking for a shit-covered convict running cross-country in a prison uniform not a guy in a neatly pressed suit and well-shined shoes. Except for his height, Andy is a pretty plain-looking guy with no real distinguishing characteristics, and frankly this is circa 1960 where there isn’t any kind of state-wide BOLO system, so “tall guy in a suit” isn’t going to result in a very tight dragnet.

Andy knew the spot (it was where he proposed to his unfaithful wife) and only had to get there and place the package under the meteoritic rock. He could have done this on his way out of town after collecting the money he had stashed and buying a secondhand car from a used car lot in cash. Setting up bank accounts remotely was a lot easier in an era before strong federal regulation of banks or university Social Security numbers as a default personal l identification, and the ID necessary could easily be forged or acquired with a birth certificate.


Somehow, I can’t see his delaying getting out of town (with the likelihood of an all-points bulletin or its equivalent having been issued), so that he could drive to a remote rural location, park, hike a long ways out to a particular spot, conceal the box and hike all the way back again. A strange car left off a rural road for an extended time under those circumstances might have looked just a bit suspicious.

I don’t think it would look suspicious today. People pull over on rural roads and go hiking or picnicing or other activities. It’s not unusual, other than stealing some apples, what would anyone think is going on out in the middle of nowhere?

They hand-wave away pretty much all of the details about that stuff with the brief line, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish by mail.”

I’m still not sure I understand why he wore the warden’s shoes for his escape. Was that part of the plan or just rubbing it in?

”His first night in the joint, Andy Dufresne cost me two packs of cigarettes. He never made a sound.”

He chipped his way through ten feet of concrete, crawled through five hundred yards of sewage, plotted an intricate escape and to collect the warden’s undeserved fortune, and yet, when he got the bequest for the library, locked the warden’s office door and played Sull’aria from “Le nozze di Figaro” because it made him feel free. He’s a quite, methodical man with an unexpected reserve of determination to do as he sees fit. It is exactly in line with what the character would do regardless of the (minor) risk, especially since the police wouldn’t be looking for a well-dressed man on a stroll down a country lane.

The warden had Andy polishing his shoes as part of his ‘duties’; Andy would need clean black shoes as part of his image of a respectable businessman, not the brown workman boots that he was issued in prison. It may not seem like it now but in those days having well-polished shoes was an important indicator of status.


He also wore the warden’s suit. Going into the bank in a suit, tie, and beat up work boots would raise red flags. Andy knew what bankers would be looking for - he was one himself.

Even if the warden knew the names and account numbers for the bank accounts, he didn’t know Andy had taken off with everything from the safe until he was well away.


Raquel Welch in “One Million Years B.C.” = 1966 at the earliest.

According to screenrant, Andy arrived at Shawshank in 1947 and escaped in 1966. He and Red were reunited the next year.

Good thing the warden’s suit and shoes fit him…

Tim Robbins (Andy Dufresne) is a good three inches taller than Bob Gunton (Warden Norton); I actually guessed the difference was even more than that. So, you have to accept a bit of suspension of belief. But then, people don’t seem to have any problem accepting the blond, Jewish James Caan as a Sicilian-American Santino “Sonny” Corleone in The Godfather, so I think we can give The Shawshank Redemption a pass on a few inches of height difference.


“Red? Why do they call you that?”
“…maybe it’s because I’m Irish.”

Morgan Freeman does have freckles. I can buy it.


Maybe there was a few inches to be let out in the cuffs(?) Prison sewing classes paid off.