The 25 Best Prison Movies of All Time

by malthetuxen | created - 30 Apr 2018 | updated - 1 day ago | Public

My 25 personal favorite prison movies of all time

 Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc
  • Instant Watch Options
  • Genres
  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • On TV
  • Release Year
  • Keywords



IMDb user rating (average) to
Number of votes to »




Reset



Reset
Release year or range to »




































































































1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

R | 142 min | Drama

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: 2,114,140 | Gross: $28.34M

2. La Grande Illusion (1937)

Not Rated | 113 min | Drama, War

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.

Director: Jean Renoir | Stars: Jean Gabin, Dita Parlo, Pierre Fresnay, Erich von Stroheim

Votes: 31,188 | Gross: $0.17M

3. Cool Hand Luke (1967)

GP | 127 min | Crime, Drama

91 Metascore

A laid back Southern man is sentenced to two years in a rural prison, but refuses to conform.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg | Stars: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, Strother Martin, J.D. Cannon

Votes: 149,572

4. The Green Mile (1999)

R | 189 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy

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: 1,024,426 | Gross: $136.80M

5. American History X (1998)

R | 119 min | Drama

62 Metascore

A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did.

Director: Tony Kaye | Stars: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Lien

Votes: 956,940 | Gross: $6.72M

6. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)

Passed | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell, Helen Vinson, Noel Francis

Votes: 10,601

7. Le Trou (1960)

Not Rated | 131 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

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.

Director: Jacques Becker | Stars: André Bervil, Jean Keraudy, Michel Constantin, Philippe Leroy

Votes: 12,933 | Gross: $0.03M

8. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War

87 Metascore

After settling his differences with a Japanese P.O.W. 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.

Director: David Lean | Stars: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa

Votes: 187,103 | Gross: $44.91M

9. The Great Escape (1963)

Not Rated | 172 min | Adventure, Drama, History

87 Metascore

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: 205,959 | Gross: $12.10M

10. Malcolm X (1992)

PG-13 | 202 min | Biography, Drama, History

72 Metascore

Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee

Votes: 76,190 | Gross: $48.17M

11. In the Name of the Father (1993)

R | 133 min | Biography, Drama

84 Metascore

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.

Director: Jim Sheridan | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite, Alison Crosbie, Philip King

Votes: 142,275 | Gross: $25.01M

12. Chicago (2002)

PG-13 | 113 min | Comedy, Crime, Musical

82 Metascore

Two death-row murderesses develop a fierce rivalry while competing for publicity, celebrity, and a sleazy lawyer's attention.

Director: Rob Marshall | Stars: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Taye Diggs

Votes: 201,935 | Gross: $170.69M

13. Lady Vengeance (2005)

R | 115 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

75 Metascore

After being wrongfully imprisoned for thirteen years and having her child taken away from her, a woman seeks revenge through increasingly brutal means.

Director: Chan-wook Park | Stars: Yeong-ae Lee, Min-sik Choi, Shi-hoo Kim, Yea-young Kwon

Votes: 64,847 | Gross: $0.21M

14. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

PG-13 | 107 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

69 Metascore

In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman

Votes: 265,869 | Gross: $45.51M

15. The Hill (1965)

Approved | 123 min | Drama, War

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.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Sean Connery, Harry Andrews, Ian Bannen, Alfred Lynch

Votes: 11,112

16. Hunger (2008)

Not Rated | 96 min | Biography, Drama

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: 61,473 | Gross: $0.15M

17. Take the Money and Run (1969)

M | 85 min | Comedy, Crime

67 Metascore

The life and times of Virgil Starkwell, inept bank robber.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody Allen, Janet Margolin, Marcel Hillaire, Jacquelyn Hyde

Votes: 26,225

18. Stalag 17 (1953)

Not Rated | 120 min | Comedy, Drama, War

84 Metascore

When two escaping American World War II prisoners are killed, the German P.O.W. camp barracks black marketeer, J.J. Sefton, is suspected of being an informer.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss

Votes: 48,179

19. Midnight Express (1978)

R | 121 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

59 Metascore

Billy Hayes (Brad Davis), an American college student, is caught smuggling drugs out of Turkey and thrown into prison.

Director: Alan Parker | Stars: Brad Davis, Irene Miracle, Bo Hopkins, Paolo Bonacelli

Votes: 65,961 | Gross: $35.00M

20. A Prophet (2009)

R | 155 min | Crime, Drama

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: 88,395 | Gross: $2.08M

21. Dead Man Walking (1995)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama

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: 83,140 | Gross: $39.39M

22. Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

PG | 112 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

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: 105,583 | Gross: $43.00M

23. Bronson (2008)

R | 92 min | Action, Biography, Crime

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: 110,589 | Gross: $0.10M

24. Bad Boys (1983)

R | 123 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

53 Metascore

Chicago crime kid Mick O'Brien is sent to reform school after accidentally killing a rival's kid brother.

Director: Rick Rosenthal | Stars: Sean Penn, Reni Santoni, Jim Moody, Eric Gurry

Votes: 12,759 | Gross: $9.20M

25. Get the Gringo (2012)

R | 96 min | Action, Crime, Drama

60 Metascore

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: 98,272



Recently Viewed