The Best Prison/Escape Movies

Also including PoW-camp, concentration camp etc. movies. Movies are listed from best to worst.
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him. (92 mins.)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
“ 10/10 ” - McShovin
 
2.
In the Name of the Father (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A man's coerced confession to an IRA bombing he did not commit results in the imprisonment of his father as well. An English lawyer fights to free them. (133 mins.)
Director: Jim Sheridan
“ 10/10 ” - McShovin
 
3.
Brute Force (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard. (98 mins.)
Director: Jules Dassin
“ 9,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
4.
Life Is Beautiful (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp. (116 mins.)
Director: Roberto Benigni
“ 9,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
5.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency. (142 mins.)
Director: Frank Darabont
“ 9/10 ” - McShovin
 
6.
Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A story about love between a mentally-ill father and his lovingly adorable daughter. Accused of murder and rape, her father's home is prison. (127 mins.)
Director: Lee Hwan-Kyung
“ 9/10 ” - McShovin
 
7.
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A man refuses to conform to life in a rural prison. (126 mins.)
“ 8,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
8.
Anything for Her (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
With no legal means left to him, a high school teacher devises a daring plan to rescue his wrongfully imprisoned wife from jail. (96 mins.)
Director: Fred Cavayé
“ 8,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
9.
Manic (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Lyle Jensen is subject to sudden and violent outbursts, and he is committed to the juvenile wing of the Northwood Mental Institution... (100 mins.)
Director: Jordan Melamed
“ 8/10 ” - McShovin
 
10.
Midnight Express (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Billy Hayes, an American college student, is caught smuggling drugs out of Turkey and thrown into prison. (121 mins.)
Director: Alan Parker
“ 8/10 ” - McShovin
 
11.
Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A surly convicted murderer held in permanent isolation redeems himself when he becomes a renowned bird expert. (147 mins.)
“ 8/10 ” - McShovin
 
12.
Escape from Sobibor (1987 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
During WWII, the death camp at Treblinka had an escape, causing the Commandant at a similar camp in... (143 mins.)
Director: Jack Gold
“ 8/10 ” - McShovin
 
13.
Empire of the Sun (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II. (153 mins.)
“ 8/10 ” - McShovin
 
14.
Blood In, Blood Out (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Based on the true life experiences of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, the film focuses on step-brothers Paco and Cruz... (180 mins.)
Director: Taylor Hackford
“ 8/10 ” - McShovin
 
15.
Von Ryan's Express (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
An American POW leads a group of mainly British prisoners to escape from the Germans in WWII. (117 mins.)
Director: Mark Robson
“ 8/10 ” - McShovin
 
16.
The Great Escape (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II. (172 mins.)
Director: John Sturges
“ 7,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
17.
A Man Escaped (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A captured French Resistance fighter during WWII engineers a daunting escape from prison. (101 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
“ 7,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
18.
Papillon (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A man befriends a fellow criminal as the two of them begin serving their sentence on a dreadful prison island, which inspires the man to plot his escape. (151 mins.)
“ 7,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
19.
Le Trou (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
In prison four long-sentence inmates planning an elaborate escape cautiously induct a new inmate to join in their scheme which leads to distrust and uncertainty. (132 mins.)
Director: Jacques Becker
“ 7,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
20.
Starred Up (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Eric Love is a 19 year old teenager who is so violent he has been 'Starred Up' (Moved to Adult prison)... (106 mins.)
Director: David Mackenzie
“ 7,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
21.
Felon (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A family man convicted of killing an intruder must cope with life afterward in the violent penal system. (104 mins.)
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
“ 7,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
22.
The Defiant Ones (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Two escaped convicts chained together, white and black, must learn to get along in order to elude capture. (96 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kramer
“ 7,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
23.
The United States of Leland (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A young man's experience in a juvenile detention center that touches on the tumultuous changes that befall his family and the community in which he lives. (108 mins.)
“ 7,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
24.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it. (161 mins.)
Director: David Lean
“ 7,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
25.
A Pure Formality (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Onoff is a famous writer who hasn't published any new books for quite some time and has become a recluse... (108 mins.)
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
26.
Bad Boys (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Chicago crime kid Mick O'Brien is sent to reform school after accidentally killing a rival's kid brother. (123 mins.)
Director: Rick Rosenthal
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
27.
The Experiment (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
For two weeks, 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The "prisoners" have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the "guards" are told to retain order without using physical violence. (120 mins.)
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
28.
The Hill (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In a North African military prison during World War II, five new prisoners struggle to survive in the face of brutal punishment and sadistic guards. (123 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
29.
Stalag 17 (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
When two escaping American World War II prisoners are killed, the German POW camp barracks black marketeer, J.J. Sefton, is suspected of being an informer. (120 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
30.
The Next Three Days (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A married couple's life is turned upside down when the wife is accused of a murder. (133 mins.)
Director: Paul Haggis
“ 7/10, remake of "Anything for Her" ” - McShovin
 
31.
There Was a Crooked Man... (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A charming but totally ruthless criminal is sent to a remote Arizona prison. He enlists the help of his cellmates in an escape attempt with the promise of sharing his hidden loot. (126 mins.)
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
32.
A Prophet (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young Arab man is sent to a French prison. (155 mins.)
Director: Jacques Audiard
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
33.
The Green Mile (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift. (189 mins.)
Director: Frank Darabont
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
34.
Cell 211 (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The story of two men on different sides of a prison riot -- the inmate leading the rebellion and the young guard trapped in the revolt, who poses as a prisoner in a desperate attempt to survive the ordeal. (113 mins.)
Director: Daniel Monzón
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
35.
Mesrine Part 1: Killer Instinct (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The story of french gangster Jacques Mesrine, before he was called Public Enemy N°1. (113 mins.)
“ 7/10
including the second part of the story ” - McShovin
 
36.
Murder in the First (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An eager and idealistic young attorney defends an Alcatraz prisoner accused of murdering a fellow inmate. The extenuating circumstances: his client had just spent over three years in solitary confinement. (122 mins.)
Director: Marc Rocco
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
37.
Interrogation (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Tonia goes out drinking. She wakes up in prison, not having a clue why she's there. She is tortured to encourage her to confess to a crime she is not aware of. (118 mins.)
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
38.
Caged (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A naive nineteen year old widow becomes coarsened and cynical when she is sent to a woman's prison and is exposed to hardened criminals and sadistic guards. (96 mins.)
Director: John Cromwell
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
39.
Get the Gringo (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A career criminal nabbed by Mexican authorities is placed in a tough prison where he learns to survive with the help of a young boy. (96 mins.)
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
40.
Against the Wall (1994 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Based on the true story of the Attica Prison uprising of 1971. (111 mins.)
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
41.
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A juvenile offender at a tough reform school impresses its governor with his running ability and is encouraged to compete in an upcoming race, but faces ridicule from his peers. (104 mins.)
Director: Tony Richardson
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
42.
The Longest Yard (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A sadistic warden asks a former pro quarterback, now serving time in his prison, to put together a team of inmates to take on (and get pummeled by) the guards. (121 mins.)
Director: Robert Aldrich
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
43.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Set during WWII, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a German concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences. (94 mins.)
Director: Mark Herman
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
44.
Unbroken (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
After a near-fatal plane crash in WWII, Olympian Louis Zamperini spends a harrowing 47 days in a raft with two fellow crewmen before he's caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. (137 mins.)
Director: Angelina Jolie
“ 7/10 ” - McShovin
 
45.
La Grande Illusion (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During the First World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from. (113 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
“ 6,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
46.
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Alcatraz is the most secure prison of its time. It is believed that no one can ever escape from it, until three daring men make a possible successful attempt at escaping from one of the most infamous prisons in the world. (112 mins.)
Director: Donald Siegel
“ 6,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
47.
Lonely Are the Brave (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A fiercely independent cowboy arranges to have himself locked up in jail in order to then escape with an old friend who has been sentenced to the penitentiary. (107 mins.)
Director: David Miller
“ 6,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
48.
Carandiru (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Brazilian MD Drauzio Varella starts AIDS prevention in Brazil's largest prison, Carandiru, in São Paulo... (145 mins.)
Director: Hector Babenco
“ 6,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
49.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them. (107 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
“ 6/10 ” - McShovin
 
50.
Hunger (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Irish republican Bobby Sands leads the inmates of a Northern Irish prison in a hunger strike. (96 mins.)
Director: Steve McQueen
“ 6/10 ” - McShovin
 
51.
The Counterfeiters (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The story of the Operation Bernhard, the largest counterfeiting operation in history, carried out by Germany during WWII. (98 mins.)
“ 6/10 ” - McShovin
 
52.
Camp X-Ray (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A soldier assigned to Guantanamo Bay befriends a man who has been imprisoned there. (117 mins.)
Director: Peter Sattler
“ 6/10 ” - McShovin
 
53.
Con Air (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Newly paroled ex-con and former U.S. Ranger Cameron Poe finds himself trapped in a prisoner transport plane when the passengers seize control. (115 mins.)
Director: Simon West
“ 6/10 ” - McShovin
 
54.
Escape Plan (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
When a structural-security authority finds himself set up and incarcerated in the world's most secret and secure prison, he has to use his skills to escape with help from the inside. (115 mins.)
“ 6/10 ” - McShovin
 
55.
Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A frustrated man decides to take justice into his own hands after a plea bargain sets one of his family's killers free. He targets not only the killer but also the district attorney and others involved in the deal. (109 mins.)
Director: F. Gary Gray
“ 6/10 ” - McShovin
 
56.
The Way Back (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Siberian gulag escapees travel 4,000 miles by foot to freedom in India. (133 mins.)
Director: Peter Weir
“ 5,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
57.
Undisputed 3: Redemption (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Boyka is back. This time he is fighting in the first ever inter-prison tournament with one knee. (96 mins.)
“ 5,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
58.
Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Sequel to the 2002 film. This time, Heavyweight Champ George "Iceman" Chambers is sent to a Russian Jail on trumped-up drug charges. (98 mins.)
“ 5,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
59.
Son of a Gun (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
JR busts out of prison with Brendan Lynch, Australia's most notorious criminal, and joins Lynch's gang for a gold heist that soon pits the two men against one another. (108 mins.)
Director: Julius Avery
“ 5,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
60.
The Escapist (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Frank Perry is an institutionalized convict fourteen years into a life sentence without parole. When his estranged daughter falls ill... (102 mins.)
Director: Rupert Wyatt
“ 5,5/10 ” - McShovin
 
61.
Down by Law (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie. (107 mins.)
Director: Jim Jarmusch
“ 5/10 ” - McShovin
 
62.
Dog Pound (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Three juvenile delinquents are sentenced to a correctional facility where they encounter gang violence, death, and harassment from staff and other inmates. (91 mins.)
Director: Kim Chapiron
“ 5/10 ” - McShovin
 
63.
Triumph of the Spirit (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Fact based story about a former Greek Olympic boxer who was taken as a prisoner during World war II and placed in the Auschwitz prison camp... (120 mins.)
Director: Robert M. Young
“ 5/10 ” - McShovin
 
64.
Stir Crazy (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Set up and wrongfully accused, two best friends will be sent to prison for a crime they didn't commit, however, no prison cell can keep them locked in. (111 mins.)
Director: Sidney Poitier
“ 5/10 ” - McShovin
 
65.
Undisputed (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
When heavyweight champion George 'Iceman' Chambers lands in prison, the resident gangster arranges a boxing match with the reigning prison champ. (94 mins.)
Director: Walter Hill
“ 5/10 ” - McShovin
 
66.
Condition Red (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.0/10 X  
Prison guard falls in love with inmate. She wants him to let her escape. (83 mins.)
“ 5/10 ” - McShovin
 
67.
The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A young man, falsely imprisoned by his jealous "friend," escapes and uses a hidden treasure to exact his revenge. (131 mins.)
Director: Kevin Reynolds
“ 5/10 ” - McShovin
 
68.
Prison on Fire (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Inside a Chinese prison two inmates form a friendship and face the difficulty of life on the inside. (98 mins.)
Director: Ringo Lam
“ 5/10 ” - McShovin
 
69.
Life (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The story of wrongfully convicted men (Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence) who discover the value of life after serving 65 years in prison. (108 mins.)
Director: Ted Demme
“ 5/10 ” - McShovin
 
70.
The Great Raid (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Taking place towards the end of WWII, 500 American Soldiers have been entrapped in a camp for 3 years. Beginning to give up hope they will ever be rescued, a group of Rangers goes on a dangerous mission to try and save them. (132 mins.)
Director: John Dahl
“ 4.5/10 ” - McShovin
 
71.
Mean Machine (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A soccer star jailed for assault leads a group of inmates in a match against prison guards. (99 mins.)
Director: Barry Skolnick
“ 4/10 ” - McShovin
 
72.
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
During WWII, a British colonel tries to bridge the cultural divides between a British POW and the Japanese camp commander in order to avoid bloodshed. (123 mins.)
Director: Nagisa Ôshima
“ 4/10 ” - McShovin
 
73.
Raze (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
Raze, a horror/action film, focuses on two abducted women & 50 other women who are forced to fight each other using their bare hands. (87 mins.)
Director: Josh C. Waller
“ 3/10 ” - McShovin
 
74.
Chained Heat (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  
Linda Blair plays Carol, a young woman who must serve 18 months in prison after killing a man (by accident)... (95 mins.)
Director: Paul Nicolas
“ 3/10 ” - McShovin