What are routes of Andy Dufresne's escape in The Shawshank Redemption? I know that the last one is the sewer, but how does he get to the sewer?

1 Answer 1


The film's script indicates that the shaft is a partition. It contains electrical wiring and various plumbing stuff. Note that it really shouldn't be there (the Warden and staff don't know about it) but that's cheap construction for you.

INT -- VERTICAL SHAFT -- DAY (1966) 224

Dark as midnight. Concrete walls rise on both sides. If you imagine them as two huge slices of bread, the meat of this particular sandwich is about three feet of airspace and a dark tangle of pipes between the cellblocks. Rory's appears, shining his flashlight down the shaft. Somewhere, a rat SQUEAKS.

RED: (V.O.) It was his third day on the job.

RORY: Warden? There's a space here between the walls 'bout three feet across! Smells pretty damn bad!

At the bottom of the shaft is the sewer main that he then escapes through...

Andy finally gets his head through, scraping his ears. He's got a penlight clenched in his teeth. He peers down into the shaft. At the very bottom, maybe 20 feet down, a big ceramic pipe runs the length of the cellblock. Beneath its coat of grime and dust, the word "SEWER" is stenciled.

  • How do you know the warden doesn't know about it? AFAIK, there's no indication that the shaft was unknown, but a prisoner would have to go through several feet of concrete to get into it. There may very well have been some other access point that Andy didn't know about, or through which an exit would have been too risky. Dec 15, 2015 at 0:56
  • @JohnnyBones - Both the Warden and the guard seem totally taken aback by the airshaft.
    – user7812
    Dec 15, 2015 at 7:36
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    @Haris - There's a void behind the wall. In that void is the wiring and plumbing for the prison cells. At the bottom it opens up into a larger void where the main sewerage line runs out of the prison. Andy gains access to the airshaft by tunnelling through his cell wall, then climbs down the airshaft to where the toilet outlet pipes meet the sewer line, breaks it and climbs out of the pipe.
    – user7812
    Dec 15, 2015 at 9:18
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    This is what confuses me, though. There are two things that don't make sense about that pipe. 1) they make it seem as though they just dump raw sewage into a creek. 2) when Andy breaks the pipe it spews all the nasties out implying that there was pressure in it. If there was pressure then it wouldn't just flow out into the creek as the pipe appears when Andy finally makes it out of the pipe. If that is really a sewer line then it's the strangest thing I've ever seen.
    – Rabbit Guy
    Dec 15, 2015 at 20:54
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    @blahfunk - 1) Sewerage lines often vented (and still do vent) directly into watercourses 2) Yeah, that's just dumb but it's there to make a point, e.g. that the pipe is full of human waste without having to angle the camera away from Andy.
    – user7812
    Dec 15, 2015 at 20:57

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