Behind Bars

by PDZombie | created - 4 weeks ago | updated - 3 weeks ago | Public

Best & Most interesting films about life in prison, or escape from prison...

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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: 2,113,998 | Gross: $28.34M

2. The House I Live In (2012)

Not Rated | 108 min | Documentary

77 Metascore

From the dealer to the narcotics officer, the inmate to the federal judge, a penetrating look inside America's criminal justice system, revealing the profound human rights implications of U.S. drug policy.

Director: Eugene Jarecki | Stars: Eugene Jarecki, Michelle Alexander, Mark W. Bennett, Joe Biden

Votes: 5,033 | Gross: $0.21M

3. 13th (2016)

TV-MA | 100 min | Documentary, Crime, History

90 Metascore

An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.

Director: Ava DuVernay | Stars: Melina Abdullah, Michelle Alexander, Cory Booker, Dolores Canales

Votes: 19,897

4. 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: 956,890 | Gross: $6.72M

5. 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: 12,930 | Gross: $0.03M

6. A Prayer Before Dawn (2017)

R | 116 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

The true story of an English boxer incarcerated in one of Thailand's most notorious prisons as he fights in Muay Thai tournaments to earn his freedom.

Director: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire | Stars: Joe Cole, Vithaya Pansringarm, Panya Yimmumphai, Pornchanok Mabklang

Votes: 15,365

7. Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)

Not Rated | 132 min | Action, Crime, Drama

79 Metascore

A former boxer-turned-drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.

Director: S. Craig Zahler | Stars: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, Don Johnson, Udo Kier

Votes: 46,567

8. 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

9. It's a Hard Truth Ain't It (2018)

TV-MA | 74 min | Documentary, Animation

[HBO] HD. A companion to HBO Films' "O.G.," this documentary is co-directed by 13 incarcerated men who reflect on their lives.

Directors: Madeleine Sackler, Dennis Brown, Marshaun Bugg, Al'Jonon Coleman, James Collins, Franklin Cox, Brandon Crider, Clifford Elswick, Quentis Hardiman, Joseph Henderson, Charles Lawrence Sr., Herb Robertson, Rushawn Tanksley, Mark Thacker | Stars: Marshaun Bugg, Clifford Elswick, Madeleine Sackler

Votes: 200

10. Carandiru (2003)

R | 145 min | Drama, Crime

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: 16,534 | Gross: $0.21M

11. 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

12. 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

13. 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: 16,136

14. 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: 61,472 | Gross: $0.15M

15. 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: 105,575 | Gross: $43.00M

16. Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

R | 120 min | Drama

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, Sônia Braga, José Lewgoy

Votes: 13,040 | Gross: $17.04M

17. 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: 110,583 | Gross: $0.10M

18. Concrete Jungle (1960)

TV-14 | 86 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

In UK, after pulling a racetrack robbery, repeat offender Johnny Bannion hides the loot in a farmer's field but the police and the local mob come looking for Johnny and for the money.

Director: Joseph Losey | Stars: Stanley Baker, Sam Wanamaker, Grégoire Aslan, Margit Saad

Votes: 1,063

19. Piñero (2001)

R | 103 min | Biography, Drama

40 Metascore

"Piñero" tells the story of the explosive life of a Latino icon, the poet-playwright-actor Miguel Piñero, whose urban poetry is recognized as a pre-cursor to rap and hip-hop. After doing ... See full summary »

Director: Leon Ichaso | Stars: Benjamin Bratt, Giancarlo Esposito, Talisa Soto, Nelson Vasquez

Votes: 1,263 | Gross: $1.42M

20. Down by Love (2016)

PG | 110 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

Based on a true story, the impossible love between a prison director and one of its female inmates.

Director: Pierre Godeau | Stars: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Guillaume Gallienne, Stéphanie Cléau, Aliénor Poisson

Votes: 1,177 | Gross: $0.00M

21. Down by Law (1986)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

75 Metascore

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.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi

Votes: 43,742 | Gross: $1.44M

22. 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: 149,561

23. Cell 211 (2009)

113 min | Action, Crime, Drama

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: 59,755

24. 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

25. 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

26. Brute Force (1947)

Passed | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard.

Director: Jules Dassin | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford, Yvonne De Carlo

Votes: 7,925

27. 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: 88,392 | Gross: $2.08M

28. Caesar Must Die (2012)

Unrated | 77 min | Drama

77 Metascore

Inmates at a high-security prison in Rome prepare for a public performance of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar."

Directors: Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani | Stars: Cosimo Rega, Salvatore Striano, Giovanni Arcuri, Antonio Frasca

Votes: 5,710

29. 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

30. King of Devil's Island (2010)

Not Rated | 116 min | Action, Drama

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: 16,374 | Gross: $0.01M

31. Prison on Fire (1987)

R | 98 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Inside a Chinese prison two inmates form a friendship and face the difficulty of life on the inside.

Director: Ringo Lam | Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Ka-Kui Ho, Roy Cheung

Votes: 2,096

32. The Confession (1970)

GP | 139 min | Drama, History, Thriller

Anton Ludvik, aka Gerard, is vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia. He realizes he is watched and followed. One day, he is arrested and put into jail, in solitary confinement. ... See full summary »

Director: Costa-Gavras | Stars: Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Gabriele Ferzetti, Michel Vitold

Votes: 3,209

33. Interrogation (1989)

118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

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.

Director: Ryszard Bugajski | Stars: Krystyna Janda, Adam Ferency, Janusz Gajos, Agnieszka Holland

Votes: 2,691

34. Lion's Den (2008)

Not Rated | 113 min | Crime, Drama

64 Metascore

An incarcerated woman struggles to raise her son from prison.

Director: Pablo Trapero | Stars: Martina Gusman, Elli Medeiros, Francisco Marquez, Rodrigo Santoro

Votes: 2,795 | Gross: $0.01M

35. Tangier (2006)

105 min | Drama

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: 1,495

36. R (2010)

Unrated | 99 min | Crime, Drama

67 Metascore

The R of the title stands for the young protagonist, Rune, fearlessly played by Pilou Asbæk. Imprisoned for violent assault, he's a cocky, good-looking young man placed in the hardcore ward... See full summary »

Directors: Tobias Lindholm, Michael Noer | Stars: Pilou Asbæk, Dulfi Al-Jabouri, Roland Møller, Jacob Gredsted

Votes: 4,238

37. The Jericho Mile (1979 TV Movie)

97 min | Crime, Drama, Sport

A prisoner gets a chance to take part in the Olympics.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: Peter Strauss, Richard Lawson, Roger E. Mosley, Brian Dennehy

Votes: 1,297

38. Kyôfu joshikôkô: Bôkô rinchi kyôshitsu (1973)

88 min | Action, Crime

Three new students at a super strict girls' school face off against the oppressive administration, a corrupt politician and a sadistic student discipline brigade.

Director: Norifumi Suzuki | Stars: Miki Sugimoto, Reiko Ike, Seiko Saburi, Misuzu Ôta

Votes: 648



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