Written by Mr. Mouseburger 20th Jun 2005
The events that lead up to this death are what gives it such a high rating in my opinion rather than the death alone, which is pretty mainstream. Dufresne (pronounced Doo-Frain) has escaped through a hole which has taken him years to chisel out with his trusty rock hammer. The warden is apoplectic with rage as Dufresne was the mastermind behind a 101 dodgy scams the warden had going on.
When the warden reads that someone has tipped off the papers to these shady dealings, he begins to suspect that Dufresne has betrayed him. Heading to his trusty safe, Norton intends to destroy any incriminating evidence. However, upon opening the safe, instead of finding his ledger, he finds a bible with a small inscription in it:
The warden learns the hard way: never trust a banker!
"Warden, you were right, salvation lay within" - this comment was a line that the Warden had said to Dufresne earlier in the film. Norton, turning the page beautifully bookmarked on the chapter "Exodus”, discovers that hollowed out of the centre of the book was a space for Dufresne's small rock hammer.
This, plus the revelation that Dufresne has swapped the ledger with all the prison's dealings in for his bible, is enough to tip the Warden over the edge and, reaching for his gun, he prepares to go down fighting.
He quickly realises it is futile to resist and so turns the gun on himself and blows his brains out.
The warden takes a power nap - for all eternity. Notice how the entry wound is in a different place to where he places the gun.