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I have a question regarding the end of The Shawshank Redemption when Red is narrating Andy's escape - can some one explain why the pipe erupts when Andy breaks it when he is escaping from Shawshank?

I would understand if the pipe was under constant pressure, but in the next scene we see that the pipe is only a partially filled. Was this a goof or is the a logical reason for it?

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There are two elements to this

  • 1) The whole story is told from the perspective of Red, who wasn't there at the time and told it with dramatic effect.

  • 2) The pressure may have built up and the explosion was a sudden release, afterwards the pressure was less.

Either way, it is pretty unpleasant.

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

I've done some more digging on this according to moviequotesandmore

When the top of the pipe is broken open, it shoots a fountain, indicating that it is pressurized (if only by gravity). But then the pipe drains nearly empty. It should only have drained to the lowest point in the hole broken at the top.

and there's an even more detailed discussion on Slipups That discusses such things as fluid dynamics, the angle of the pipe and the effectiveness of the shot i.e. getting the audience to feel revolted for what Andy had to go through.

I think that this was a deliberate mistake that the director decided would enhance the shot.

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I worked in underground utlities and sewage. There is no reason. The pipe diameter was not large enough for the fountain, so to speak. The only way that the pipe would have produced this would be by a pump, and the pipe was breeched when the pump was working to release accumulated waste in some sort of tank. I also think it was just for effect.

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