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Samuel Norton

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Warden Samuel Norton

I believe in 2 things; discipline and The Bible. Here you'll receive both. Put your trust in the lord, your ass belongs to me. Welcome to Shawshank.
~ Samuel Norton

Warden Samuel Norton is the main antagonist in the book, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, and it's 1994 adaption, The Shawshank Redemption.

He was portrayed by actor Bob Gunton.


He starts out as a deeply religious man when Andy Dufrene arrives in 1947. As the years pass, he notices a lot of potential in Andy and gives him protection from the guards, library access, and helping inmates get their GEDs in return for aiding him in laundering money from kickbacks and his scams.

In 1965, Tommy Williams, a young thief, comes along. Tommy reveals to both Red and Andy who truly killed his wife and that Andy was setup, proving his innocence. Andy tells this to the warden, but he becomes angered and sentences Andy to the hole for one month and has Tommy killed in fear of losing his money cleaner. He threatens to take away everything from Andy if he quits by torching the library, removing him from being protected from the guards and moved from his cell into appalling conditions and gives him another month to think about it.

But then Andy succeeds in escaping through a tunnel he had been digging for the past 20 years. Under the name Randall Stevens (the identity he used to store all of Warden Norton's money), Andy not only drains him of all his ill-gotten gains, but also delivers a book exposing Norton and Hadley's corruption and their killing of Tommy to the Daily Bugle.

The police then came to Shawshank to arrest them both. They succeed in arresting Captain Hadley, but Norton wasn't going to go quietly. Loading up a gun he kept in his drawer, he prepared to take as many police officers down with him as possible as soon as they entered his office. But then he became so bewildered by the thought of how the one inmate who ever escaped his prison (and the one he truly valued) ruined everything for him, he decided to turn the gun on himself and literally blow his own brains out.

That was his fate in the movie. In the book, however, Norton escapes arrest by resigning from his post. However, he isn't as cruel in the book, as he had Tommy transferred to another prison to keep him quiet instead of having him murdered, and didn't force Andy to be in solitary confinement for two months.

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