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20 Prison Movies You Must See Before You Die

31 January 2016 2:48 AM, PST | Obsessed with Film | See recent Obsessed with Film news »

Columbia Pictures

You can do a hell of a lot with a prison film, which is perhaps what has made it such an appealing sub-genre for all kinds of filmmakers over the years. A prison movie doesn’t have to be depressing, after all – it can also be inspiring, touching or just plain exciting.

And a prison movie need not always be dramatic; it can be comedic, too. It can be about the incarceration of a character or their release into the wider world. It can be about prisoners of war, or it can be set around a breakout. The great thing about pretty much all prison movies, however, is that they set the stage for unforgettable characters.

Prisons are filled with all kinds of strange, colourful and enigmatic individuals, living at the extreme limits of characterisation, after all, and cinema has continually mined this fact for all it’s worth. »

- Sam Hill

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