Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption is digging the tunnel to escape through the wall of his cell. He digs slowly and desperses the excavated material in the prison yard so that it doesn't accumulate in the cell. The tunnel entry is covered with a poster.

How come noone ever looks under the poster and the tunnel is not discovered for so many years?

  • 10
    Because it's a film? Dec 27, 2012 at 0:53
  • 4
    During WW11 tunnels were dug out of POW camps, gliders built, boats, all manner of things that were 'prohibited' so yes, I think the plot quite plausible based upon historical factual precedence
    – user4830
    May 10, 2013 at 23:00
  • 4
    Of course everyone is neglecting an obvious question: Why did Andy hide the rock hammer in the Bible when he could have simply left it in the hole in the wall?
    – user5411
    Jul 13, 2013 at 17:09
  • but where did Andy put all the dirt he dug out of the wall?
    – user7760
    Jan 24, 2014 at 23:16
  • @EllaRibton-Turner: He was digging very slowly and then bring a bit of dirt into the yard every day and disperse there. This is possible to do without being discovered if you have enough time. If you gonna watch the movie again - this is shown near the end of the movie when Red "explains" his escape plan to the viewer.
    – sharptooth
    Jan 27, 2014 at 5:45

3 Answers 3


Warden Norton sees the poster when he checks his cell. He says;

I can't say I approve of this but I suppose exceptions can be made.

Because he wants to use Andy with his money laundering business and he doesn't want to disturb him very much. Also he wants Andy to think of himself as a privileged prisoner. If normal prisoner hung this poster, the Warden would probably have taken it down.

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No one looks under the poster because for many years Andy was a model prisoner & he was helping out the warden with his shady schemes. He also endeared himself to the guards too, and he never gave any indication that he wanted to break out of prison, so he was left alone and neither the tunnel nor his hammer was ever discovered.

  • I agree that this is the answer despite it being totally implausible that the warden of such a high security prison would allow or enable such a security breach.
    – Evik James
    Dec 26, 2012 at 15:00
  • 3
    True. I also find it implausible that in all those years Andy had the same cell, with no cellmates and was never once noticed by the guards digging the tunnel, which would have required him to be out of his cell for long stretches at a time.
    – PaulStock
    Dec 26, 2012 at 15:07
  • 1
    @paulstock the hole was in his cell, he didn't have to leave it to work on it.
    – DForck42
    Dec 26, 2012 at 16:39
  • @DForck42, it's been a while since I watched the movie, but I thought I remembered it being more of a short tunnel than just a hole in the wall, which would have required him to climb into it to hollow it out. However, I admit I might be mis-remembering.
    – PaulStock
    Dec 26, 2012 at 16:43
  • 1
    @DForck42, right, wikipedia mentions a tunnel, which is what I was thinking he did: dug a short tunnel through the wall that then led to the sewer pipe. So, I thought he would at least have to climb into the hole/tunnel for a period at night to hollow it out, which would have been noticed had the guards done a bed check. That's what I meant by him being out of his cell. But you are probably right that he could have done this undetected if he went slowly and carefully.
    – PaulStock
    Dec 26, 2012 at 16:55

These are multiple ways that Andy hid his escape. The first and possibly the most obvious was the poster he used to hide the hole, as illustrated by Soner and Paul.

However, there are a few other reasons why it went unnoticed. The first was that he did it very gradually over time. It took him years to make the hole. The second was that he was using the little rock hammer to slowly chisel away the hole, so he didnt' make a lot of noise or movements when he worked on the hole. The third was that he spread the dust in the yard, so there was no other physical evidence of him working on the hole.

So Andy went unnoticed because he took his time and played everything as safe as he could.

  • 7
    Actually the longer it took to dig the hole the higher was the risk someone would look under the poster.
    – sharptooth
    Dec 27, 2012 at 7:43

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