04. The Shawshank Redemption(1994 | Columbia Pictures)
Genius: During a period in Hollywood when the post-’80s tycoon normally represented some shade of evil, banker exec Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins)—wrongfully sentenced to double life—and fellow inmate Red (Morgan Freeman) showed us how to remain Godly despite hellish surroundings. Unfortunately, Forrest Gump rained on this gem’s Oscar chances.
What We Learned: With immovable hope and will, one could crawl through a river of shit and make it to the other side clean.