Best prison movies

by davidcaupers | created - 07 Nov 2013 | updated - 07 Nov 2013 | Public
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1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

R | 142 min | Crime, Drama

9.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
80 Metascore

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler

Votes: 1,904,179 | Gross: $28.34M

2. The Green Mile (1999)

R | 189 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
61 Metascore

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.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt

Votes: 903,190 | Gross: $136.80M

3. Papillon (1973)

R | 151 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 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.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Victor Jory, Don Gordon

Votes: 104,292 | Gross: $53.27M

4. The Experiment (2001)

R | 120 min | Drama, Thriller

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
60 Metascore

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.

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel | Stars: Moritz Bleibtreu, Christian Berkel, Oliver Stokowski, Wotan Wilke Möhring

Votes: 83,868 | Gross: $0.14M

5. Felon (2008)

R | 104 min | Crime, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
58 Metascore

A family man convicted of killing an intruder must cope with life afterward in the violent penal system.

Director: Ric Roman Waugh | Stars: Stephen Dorff, Marisol Nichols, Vincent Miller, Anne Archer

Votes: 69,991 | Gross: $0.04M

6. Celda 211 (2009)

113 min | Action, Crime, Drama

7.7
Rate this
    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.

Director: Daniel Monzón | Stars: Luis Tosar, Alberto Ammann, Antonio Resines, Manuel Morón

Votes: 55,386

7. Blood In, Blood Out (1993)

R | 180 min | Crime, Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Based on the true life experiences of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, the film focuses on step-brothers Paco and Cruz, and their bi-racial cousin Miklo. It opens in 1972, as the three are members... See full summary »

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Damian Chapa, Jesse Borrego, Benjamin Bratt, Enrique Castillo

Votes: 25,083 | Gross: $4.50M

8. Get the Gringo (2012)

R | 96 min | Action, Crime, Drama

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 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.

Director: Adrian Grunberg | Stars: Mel Gibson, Kevin Balmore, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Jesús Ochoa

Votes: 93,727

9. A Prophet (2009)

R | 155 min | Crime, Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
90 Metascore

A young Arab man is sent to a French prison.

Director: Jacques Audiard | Stars: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Reda Kateb

Votes: 84,225 | Gross: $2.08M

10. Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

PG | 112 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
76 Metascore

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.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Roberts Blossom, Jack Thibeau

Votes: 96,089 | Gross: $43.00M

11. Animal Factory (2000)

R | 94 min | Crime, Drama

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
65 Metascore

A young man goes to prison and a tough, older convict takes him under his wing as a mentor.

Director: Steve Buscemi | Stars: Willem Dafoe, Edward Furlong, Danny Trejo, Mark Boone Junior

Votes: 11,346 | Gross: $0.04M

12. The Great Escape (1963)

Not Rated | 172 min | Adventure, Drama, History

8.2
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    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.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson

Votes: 185,647

13. Dog Pound (2010)

Not Rated | 91 min | Drama

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
57 Metascore

Three juvenile delinquents are sentenced to a correctional facility where they encounter gang violence, death, and harassment from staff and other inmates.

Director: Kim Chapiron | Stars: Adam Butcher, Shane Kippel, Matthew Morales, Slim Twig

Votes: 9,514

14. Hunger (2008)

Not Rated | 96 min | Biography, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
82 Metascore

Irish republican Bobby Sands leads the inmates of a Northern Irish prison in a hunger strike.

Director: Steve McQueen | Stars: Stuart Graham, Laine Megaw, Brian Milligan, Liam McMahon

Votes: 57,242 | Gross: $0.15M

15. Bronson (2008)

R | 92 min | Action, Biography, Crime

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
71 Metascore

A young man who was sentenced to seven years in prison for robbing a post office ends up spending three decades in solitary confinement. During this time, his own personality is supplanted by his alter-ego, Charles Bronson.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn | Stars: Tom Hardy, Kelly Adams, Luing Andrews, Katy Barker

Votes: 100,369 | Gross: $0.10M

16. Forbrydelser (2004)

101 min | Drama

6.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Anna is a recent graduate theologian who are in search of a job. When she is offered a temporary job as a priest at a women's prison, she sees no reason to say no. There she meets Kate, a ... See full summary »

Director: Annette K. Olesen | Stars: Ann Eleonora Jørgensen, Trine Dyrholm, Nicolaj Kopernikus, Sonja Richter

Votes: 1,016

17. Carandiru (2003)

R | 145 min | Drama, Crime

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
71 Metascore

Brazilian MD Drauzio Varella starts AIDS prevention in Brazil's largest prison, Carandiru, in São Paulo, where the population is nearly double its 4,000 maximum. Doc learns from experience ... See full summary »

Director: Hector Babenco | Stars: Enrique Diaz, Wagner Moura, Caio Blat, Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos

Votes: 15,354 | Gross: $0.21M

18. Zendan-e zanan (2002)

106 min | Drama

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Spanning 18 years in an Iranian women's prison, this follows two women: the new prison warden, a tough as nails devout Muslim who has served in the army on the Iraqi front, and a young ... See full summary »

Director: Manijeh Hekmat | Stars: Roya Nonahali, Roya Taymourian, Pegah Ahangarani, Golab Adineh

Votes: 780

19. Stir (1980)

101 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Filmed in the Clare Valley, Gladstone and the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, this prison movie was inspired by the true life prison riot at Bathurst Jail in 1974 and its subsequent Royal Commission into New South Wales Prisons.

Director: Stephen Wallace | Stars: Bryan Brown, Max Phipps, Dennis Miller, Gary Waddell

Votes: 184

20. Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

R | 120 min | Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
80 Metascore

A gay man and a political prisoner are together in a prison. The gay man narrates the stories of two fake movies and his own life.

Director: Hector Babenco | Stars: William Hurt, Raul Julia, Sonia Braga, José Lewgoy

Votes: 12,011 | Gross: $17.04M

21. Kongen av Bastøy (2010)

Not Rated | 116 min | Action, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Norwegian winter, early 20th century. On the boys home Bastoy, a new inmate leads the boys to a violent uprising against a brutal regime. How far is he willing to go to attain freedom?

Director: Marius Holst | Stars: Benjamin Helstad, Trond Nilssen, Stellan Skarsgård, Kristoffer Joner

Votes: 15,241 | Gross: $0.01M

22. Keimusho no naka (2002)

93 min | Comedy, Drama

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A man serving a sentence in a minimum-security prison. Life in the jail is rigid and organized, eventually leading all of the cell-mates to abandon their individuality.

Director: Yôichi Sai | Stars: Tsutomu Yamazaki, Teruyuki Kagawa, Tomorô Taguchi, Yutaka Matsushige

Votes: 281

23. Jailbait (2004)

R | 90 min | Drama

5.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
41 Metascore

Randy commits a crime that would normally get him probation and a hefty fine, but in the "three-strikes" world of justice, he finds himself locked up for 25 years. His cellmate Jake is a ... See full summary »

Director: Brett C. Leonard | Stars: Stephen Adly Guirgis, Michael Pitt, Laila Robins, David Zayas

Votes: 373 | Gross: $0.01M

24. Dame sobh (2005)

Not Rated | 84 min | Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran, capital punishment is carried out according to Islamic law, which gives the family of the victim ownership of the offender's life. Day Break - based on... See full summary »

Director: Hamid Rahmanian | Stars: Hosein Yari, Zabi Afshar, Hoda Nasseh, Atash Taghipour

Votes: 234

25. Une part du ciel (2002)

85 min | Drama

5.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

The story of two women, one a prisoner and the other a corporate representative, who discover that their lives are defined by compromise.

Director: Bénédicte Liénard | Stars: Séverine Caneele, Sophia Leboutte, Josiane Stoléru, Naïma Hirèche

Votes: 91

26. De hel van Tanger (2006)

105 min | Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In August 1996, bus drivers Marcel Van Loock and Wim Moreels are apprehended by the Moroccan Customs for drug trafficking. Inside their bus, hidden behind a false compartment, they have ... See full summary »

Director: Frank van Mechelen | Stars: Nadia Abdelouafi, Mohamed Bari, Rachid Benbouchta, Mostafa Benkerroum

Votes: 1,391

27. Dead Man Walking (1995)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
80 Metascore

A nun, while comforting a convicted killer on death row, empathizes with both the killer and his victim's families.

Director: Tim Robbins | Stars: Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Robert Prosky, Raymond J. Barry

Votes: 78,299 | Gross: $39.39M

28. Kyûka (2008)

115 min | Drama

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The prison guards working in penitentiaries where death row inmates are locked up are forced to spend their daily lives constantly facing death.

Director: Hajime Kadoi | Stars: Kaoru Kobayashi, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Nene Ohtsuka, Ren Osugi

Votes: 137