My Favourite Prison/P.O.W Films

by roysliz | created - 18 Feb 2016 | updated - 11 May 2017 | Public
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1. 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: 205,951 | Gross: $12.10M

2. 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: 2,114,017 | Gross: $28.34M

3. Papillon (1973)

R | 151 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

58 Metascore

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: 113,420 | Gross: $53.27M

4. 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: 65,953 | Gross: $35.00M

5. 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: 48,176

6. The Colditz Story (1955)

94 min | Drama, History, War

Allied prisoners of various nationalities pool their resources to plan numerous escapes from an "escape-proof" German P.O.W. camp housed in a Medieval castle.

Director: Guy Hamilton | Stars: John Mills, Eric Portman, Christopher Rhodes, Lionel Jeffries

Votes: 2,028

7. 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: 187,096 | Gross: $44.91M

8. Murder in the First (1995)

R | 122 min | Drama, Thriller

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.

Director: Marc Rocco | Stars: Christian Slater, Kevin Bacon, Gary Oldman, Embeth Davidtz

Votes: 24,876 | Gross: $17.38M

9. 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: 149,563

10. Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)

Not Rated | 147 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

A surly convicted murderer held in permanent isolation redeems himself when he becomes a renowned bird expert.

Directors: John Frankenheimer, Charles Crichton | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Karl Malden, Thelma Ritter, Neville Brand

Votes: 14,610

11. 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: 1,024,358 | Gross: $136.80M

12. Hart's War (2002)

R | 125 min | Drama, War

49 Metascore

A law student becomes a lieutenant during World War II, is captured and asked to defend a black prisoner of war falsely accused of murder.

Director: Gregory Hoblit | Stars: Bruce Willis, Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard, Cole Hauser

Votes: 48,645 | Gross: $19.08M

13. 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: 105,576 | Gross: $43.00M

14. An Innocent Man (1989)

R | 113 min | Action, Crime, Drama

39 Metascore

A man is framed by two corrupt cops for drugs. After he gets out of prison, he comes after them.

Director: Peter Yates | Stars: Tom Selleck, F. Murray Abraham, Laila Robins, David Rasche

Votes: 5,675 | Gross: $20.05M

15. Brubaker (1980)

R | 131 min | Crime, Drama

54 Metascore

The new warden of a small prison farm in Arkansas tries to clean it up of corruption after initially posing as an inmate.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg | Stars: Robert Redford, Yaphet Kotto, Morgan Freeman, Jane Alexander

Votes: 14,552 | Gross: $37.12M

16. The McKenzie Break (1970)

PG | 108 min | Action, Drama, War

During WW2, German POWs in Britain plot to escape from their prison camp in Scotland.

Director: Lamont Johnson | Stars: Brian Keith, Helmut Griem, Ian Hendry, Jack Watson

Votes: 1,313

17. Killer: A Journal of Murder (1995)

R | 91 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Carl Panzram is sent to Leavenworth Prison for burglary. While there, he is brutally beaten by a guard. Neophyte guard Henry Lesser feels sympathy for Panzram, befriends him, and gets him ... See full summary »

Director: Tim Metcalfe | Stars: James Woods, Robert Sean Leonard, Ellen Greene, Cara Buono

Votes: 2,055 | Gross: $0.07M

18. Lock Up (1989)

R | 109 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

52 Metascore

With only six months left of his sentence, inmate Frank Leone is transferred from a minimum security prison to a maximum security prison by a vindictive warden.

Director: John Flynn | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Donald Sutherland, John Amos, Sonny Landham

Votes: 35,240 | Gross: $22.10M

19. Blood In, Blood Out (1993)

R | 180 min | Crime, Drama

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.

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

Votes: 26,798 | Gross: $4.50M

20. The Escapist (2008)

Not Rated | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

56 Metascore

Frank Perry is an institutionalized convict fourteen years into a life sentence without parole. When his estranged daughter falls ill, he is determined to make peace with her before it's ... See full summary »

Director: Rupert Wyatt | Stars: Brian Cox, Damian Lewis, Joseph Fiennes, Seu Jorge

Votes: 15,899 | Gross: $0.01M

21. 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: 110,584 | Gross: $0.10M

22. A Town Like Alice (1956)

Not Rated | 117 min | Drama, Romance, War

A newly wealthy English woman returns to Malaya to build a well for the villagers who helped her during war. Thinking back, she recalls the Australian man who made a great sacrifice to aid her and her fellow prisoners of war.

Director: Jack Lee | Stars: Virginia McKenna, Peter Finch, Kenji Takaki, Tran Van Khe

Votes: 1,207

23. Empire of the Sun (1987)

PG | 153 min | Drama, History, War

62 Metascore

A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers

Votes: 106,393 | Gross: $22.24M

24. Chopper (2000)

R | 94 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

65 Metascore

Chopper tells the intense story of Mark "Chopper" Read, a legendary criminal who wrote his autobiography while serving a jail sentence in prison. His book, "From the Inside", upon which the film is based, was a best-seller.

Director: Andrew Dominik | Stars: Eric Bana, Simon Lyndon, Vince Colosimo, Renée Brack

Votes: 34,660 | Gross: $0.23M

25. A Man Escaped (1956)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama

A captured French Resistance fighter during WWII engineers a daunting escape from a Nazi prison in France.

Director: Robert Bresson | Stars: François Leterrier, Charles Le Clainche, Maurice Beerblock, Roland Monod

Votes: 16,138

26. The Wooden Horse (1950)

101 min | Drama, History, War

True story of three British POWs and their attempt to escape from Nazi Germany.

Directors: Jack Lee, Ian Dalrymple | Stars: Leo Genn, David Tomlinson, Anthony Steel, David Greene

Votes: 1,174

27. Starred Up (2013)

Not Rated | 106 min | Crime, Drama

81 Metascore

Eric Love, 19, is locked up in prison. On first day he assaults another inmate and several guards. He's offered group therapy and his dad, an inmate as well, tries to talk sense into him. Can he be rehabilitated?

Director: David Mackenzie | Stars: Jack O'Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend, Sam Spruell

Votes: 39,465 | Gross: $0.03M

28. King Rat (1965)

Approved | 134 min | Drama, War

Fast-taking wheeler-dealer Corporal King (George Segal), in a Malaysian P.O.W. camp during World War II, uses bribery and larceny to take de facto control of the camp from his senior officers.

Director: Bryan Forbes | Stars: George Segal, Tom Courtenay, James Fox, Patrick O'Neal

Votes: 3,729

29. The Longest Yard (1974)

R | 121 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

61 Metascore

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.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter, Michael Conrad

Votes: 15,630

30. Stir Crazy (1980)

R | 111 min | Comedy, Crime

56 Metascore

Set up and wrongfully accused, two best friends will be sent to prison for a crime they didn't commit. However, no prison cell could keep them locked in.

Director: Sidney Poitier | Stars: Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Georg Stanford Brown, JoBeth Williams

Votes: 22,836 | Gross: $101.30M

31. 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: 142,271 | Gross: $25.01M

32. 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: 11,111

33. I Want to Live! (1958)

Approved | 120 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

A prostitute, sentenced to death for murder, pleads her innocence.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Susan Hayward, Simon Oakland, Virginia Vincent, Theodore Bikel

Votes: 5,262

34. Scum (1979)

R | 98 min | Crime, Drama

An uncompromising story of life in a British juvenile offender institution in the 70's.

Director: Alan Clarke | Stars: Ray Winstone, Mick Ford, Julian Firth, John Blundell

Votes: 9,074

35. Victory (1981)

PG | 116 min | Drama, Sport, War

57 Metascore

As allied P.O.W.s prepare for a soccer game against the German National Team to be played in Nazi-occupied Paris, the French Resistance and British officers are making plans for the team's escape.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, Pelé, Bobby Moore

Votes: 25,242 | Gross: $10.85M

36. Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954)

Not Rated | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Fed up with the inhumane prison living conditions, a general prison riot breaks out, leading to hostage-taking, a stand-off with the guards and eventual negotiations with the prison administration officials.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Neville Brand, Emile Meyer, Frank Faylen, Leo Gordon

Votes: 1,448

37. Doing Time (1979)

93 min | Comedy, Crime

This prison comedy is based on the popular British television series of the same name. Long time Slade prison inmate Fletcher is ordered by Grouty to arrange a football match between the ... See full summary »

Director: Dick Clement | Stars: Ronnie Barker, Richard Beckinsale, Fulton Mackay, Brian Wilde

Votes: 2,350

38. Two Way Stretch (1960)

TV-PG | 78 min | Comedy, Crime

Dodger Lane (Peter Sellers) has planned the perfect robbery while in prison. He intends to break out of prison, steal a fortune in diamonds, and break back into prison before anyone notices... See full summary »

Director: Robert Day | Stars: Peter Sellers, David Lodge, Bernard Cribbins, Wilfrid Hyde-White

Votes: 1,658

39. McVicar (1980)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama

'John McVicar' was a London Bad Boy. He graduated to armed bank robbery and was Britain's "Public Enemy No. 1". He was captured and put into a high security prison. Will even the highest ... See full summary »

Director: Tom Clegg | Stars: Roger Daltrey, Adam Faith, Cheryl Campbell, Billy Murray

Votes: 1,695

40. Borstal Boy (2000)

Not Rated | 91 min | Drama, Romance

47 Metascore

Irish writer and political activist Brendan Behan, is befriended as a teenager in a British labor camp by a liberal warden.

Director: Peter Sheridan | Stars: Shawn Hatosy, Danny Dyer, Eamon Glancy, Ian McElhinney

Votes: 2,216 | Gross: $0.09M

41. Jailhouse Rock (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Music, Musical

After serving time for manslaughter, young Vince Everett becomes a teenage rock star.

Director: Richard Thorpe | Stars: Elvis Presley, Judy Tyler, Mickey Shaughnessy, Vaughn Taylor

Votes: 7,126 | Gross: $4.00M

42. Blonde Sinner (1956)

Not Rated | 99 min | Drama

A young woman who has been abused and taken advantage of by all the men in her life, finally finds a man she believes truly loves her, but she snaps when she finds out that he, too, is ... See full summary »

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: Diana Dors, Yvonne Mitchell, Michael Craig, Marie Ney

Votes: 694

43. Rescue Dawn (2006)

PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

77 Metascore

A U.S. fighter pilot's epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies, Zach Grenier

Votes: 95,479 | Gross: $5.49M

44. Escape from Sobibor (1987 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 143 min | Drama, History, War

During WWII, the death camp at Treblinka had an escape, causing the Commandant at a similar camp in Sobibor to vow that his camp would never experience the same thing. But those who were ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Gold | Stars: Alan Arkin, Joanna Pacula, Rutger Hauer, Hartmut Becker

Votes: 7,442

45. Women's Prison (1955)

Approved | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Life at a 1950s women's maximum security prison where the warden and the guards are as brutal as the inmates.

Director: Lewis Seiler | Stars: Ida Lupino, Jan Sterling, Cleo Moore, Audrey Totter

Votes: 593

46. Attica (1980 TV Movie)

97 min | Drama

The behind the scenes of the 1971 prisoners revolt at the Attica prison.

Director: Marvin J. Chomsky | Stars: Henry Darrow, Charles Durning, Joel Fabiani, Morgan Freeman

Votes: 392

47. Mean Machine (2001)

R | 99 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

45 Metascore

A soccer star jailed for assault leads a group of inmates in a match against prison guards.

Director: Barry Skolnick | Stars: Vinnie Jones, David Kelly, David Hemmings, Ralph Brown

Votes: 33,427 | Gross: $0.09M



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