The Shawshank Redemption has a Dark Tower Easter Egg you never noticed

The Shawshank Redemption is one of the best movies ever made, but it's also got more than a few references to Stephen King's other works.

Tim Robbins as Andy Dufrane in The Last of Us

It’s pretty standard for Stephen King’s works to reference one another. In the horror movie IT Part 2, there are plenty of easter eggs that reference  The Shining, Pet Sematary has a small reference to IT, and most of these films reference King’s magnum opus, The Dark Tower.


One film you wouldn’t necessarily think would reference the fantasy series, though, is The Shawshank Redemption – arguably one of the best movies ever made. Shawshank’s a pretty grounded film that tells the story of the wrongfully convicted Andy Dufrane and follows his decades-long quest to escape prison, and it couldn’t be more removed than the cosmic horror of The Dark Tower books.

And yet, there’s a neat little Dark Tower easter egg in The Shawshank Redemption that we’re willing to bet you’ve missed. In case it’s been a while since you’ve seen the drama movie, cast your mind back to when Andy escapes prison and assumes the identity of Randall Stevens, “a man nobody ever laid eyes on before.”

Well, in the book Shawshank is based on that false identity named Peter Stevens, but the director Frank Darabont changed it to Randall as a homage to Randall Flag, one of King’s greatest bad guys from The Stand and The Dark Tower.

In the director’s commentary for Shawshank Redemption, Darabont explains the decision. “A little secret on changing that name from Peter Stevens to Randall Stevens,” he explained [via CinemaBlend]. “Where the name Randall comes from — I’m sure the lawyers won’t like this one, either, but — that was from me doing a little homage, a little tip of the hat, to our friend, Stephen King.”

“One of his all-time great villains is named Randall Flagg, from The Stand and also from The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger series,” he continued. “So when I needed to replace Peter, I chose Randall, as a little salute to Steve.”

Of course that’s far from the only wink to King’s back catalogue. There’s a Shining reference we’re willing to bet you’ve never noticed as well, and a mention of the Royal River from the ’80s movie Stand by Me.

If you love The Shawshank Redemption check out our guide to the best thriller movies, and we’ve also got an article to all the new movies coming in 2024.