"It's friendship…friendship…just the perfect blendship…"
All right, so maybe a show tune lyric isn't the best way to describe the relationship between Red and Andy. It's kinda true, though.
This odd couple is thrown together near the beginning of the film. One's white, one's black. One's young, one's old. One's guilty, one's…not so guilty. Yet they click almost immediately, and remain friends for decades. That's quite an accomplishment for two people who have a thing or two in common, let alone these polar opposites.
Even though Andy's off doing his own thing, plotting his escape in secret, there's an argument to be made that he never would have been successful without Red's friendship. Not just because his buddy hooked him up with hammers and posters and whatnot, but because could you really stay sane in a place like that without a partner in crime (so to speak)?
Questions About Friendship
Would you categorize Warden Norton and Captain Hadley's relationship as "friends?" Why or why not?
At what point do Red and Andy truly become friends, rather than mere acquaintances?
Brooks claims to be Heywood's friend, but draws a knife on him and threatens to kill him just so he can be allowed to stay at Shawshank. Is there any possible way he was actually Heywood's friend?
Andy put a ton of time and effort into planning his escape. If, the night before he was preparing to flee, he had been put in a position to give his own life in order to save Red's, do you think he would have done it?
Chew on This
Because Andy and Red meet on an exotic beach at the end of the movie, come together and embrace, neither having any romantic attachments (that we know of), the filmmakers were actually hinting that Red and Andy were more than just friends.
The bonds formed between prison inmates are even stronger than those formed between civilians on the outside, because of everything they're forced to go through together.