Top 30 Best Prison Films Ever

by atroxa | created - 06 Aug 2015 | updated - 2 months ago | Public

Top 30 Prison films in my opinion ,ranked

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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: 2,209,361 | Gross: $28.34M

2. 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: 116,825 | Gross: $53.27M

3. In the Name of the Father (1993)

R | 133 min | Biography, Drama

84 Metascore

A man's coerced confession to an I.R.A. 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: 148,051 | Gross: $25.01M

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: 992,431 | Gross: $6.72M

5. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War

87 Metascore

British POWs build a railway bridge across the river Kwai for their Japanese captors, oblivious of the Allies' plans to destroy it.

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

Votes: 193,778 | Gross: $44.91M

6. Blood In, Blood Out (1993)

R | 180 min | Crime, Drama

47 Metascore

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: 27,614 | Gross: $4.50M

7. The Hill (1965)

Approved | 123 min | Drama, War

81 Metascore

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: 11,455

8. Midnight Express (1978)

R | 121 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

59 Metascore

Billy Hayes, 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: 69,305 | Gross: $35.00M

9. Empire of the Sun (1987)

PG | 153 min | Action, Drama, History

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: 110,021 | Gross: $22.24M

10. 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: 213,852 | Gross: $12.10M

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: 1,078,284 | Gross: $136.80M

12. Army of Shadows (1969)

Not Rated | 145 min | Drama, War

99 Metascore

An account of underground resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied France.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville | Stars: Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Simone Signoret

Votes: 19,123 | Gross: $0.74M

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: 17,202

14. Rescue Dawn (2006)

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

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: 97,821 | Gross: $5.49M

15. 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: 154,731 | Gross: $16.22M

16. 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: 49,400

17. La Grande Illusion (1937)

Not Rated | 113 min | Drama, War

During WWI, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are eventually sent to a seemingly inescapable fortress.

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

Votes: 32,257 | Gross: $0.17M

18. The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

PG-13 | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

61 Metascore

A young man, falsely imprisoned by his jealous "friend", escapes and uses a hidden treasure to exact his revenge.

Director: Kevin Reynolds | Stars: Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris, James Frain

Votes: 124,290 | Gross: $54.23M

19. 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: 110,663 | Gross: $43.00M

20. 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: 8,330

21. The Hurricane (1999)

R | 146 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

74 Metascore

The story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder, and the people who aided in his fight to prove his innocence.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Denzel Washington, Vicellous Shannon, Deborah Kara Unger, Liev Schreiber

Votes: 88,618 | Gross: $50.67M

22. 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: 63,168 | Gross: $0.15M

23. Felon (2008)

R | 104 min | Crime, Drama

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: 73,317 | Gross: $0.04M

24. 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: 15,130 | Gross: $37.12M

25. Shot Caller (2017)

R | 121 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

59 Metascore

A newly released prisoner is forced by the leaders of his gang to orchestrate a major crime with a brutal rival gang on the streets of Southern California.

Director: Ric Roman Waugh | Stars: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Omari Hardwick, Lake Bell, Jon Bernthal

Votes: 65,510

26. The Last Castle (2001)

R | 131 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

43 Metascore

A court-martialed General rallies together twelve hundred inmates to rise against a corrupt and sadistic warden.

Director: Rod Lurie | Stars: Robert Redford, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Burton

Votes: 67,950 | Gross: $18.21M

27. 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: 53,229

28. Cell 211 (2009)

113 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

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: 61,484

29. 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: 16,052 | Gross: $0.01M

30. Escape Plan (2013)

R | 115 min | Action, Thriller

49 Metascore

When a structural-security authority finds himself set up and incarcerated in the world's most secret and secure prison, he has to use his skills to escape with help from the inside.

Director: Mikael Håfström | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 50 Cent, Vincent D'Onofrio

Votes: 219,771 | Gross: $25.13M



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