Top 100 gg Prison Movies

by citizengg | created - 10 Dec 2013 | updated - 02 Oct 2016 | Public
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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: 2,243,637 | Gross: $28.34M

2. Cool Hand Luke (1967)

GP | 127 min | Crime, Drama

92 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: 156,274 | Gross: $16.22M

3. Short Eyes (1977)

R | 100 min | Drama

53 Metascore

A child molester sent to prison finds that criminals exact harsher justice than society.

Director: Robert M. Young | Stars: Bruce Davison, José Pérez, Nathan George, Don Blakely

Votes: 1,052

4. 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: 118,032 | Gross: $53.27M

5. 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: 15,412

6. 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: 14,328 | Gross: $0.03M

7. 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: 70,496 | Gross: $35.00M

8. 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: 150,166 | Gross: $25.01M

9. 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: 8,457

10. 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: 13,370 | Gross: $9.20M

11. 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: 9,689

12. Breath (2007)

84 min | Drama

A love story involving a convicted prisoner who "slowly falls for a woman who decorates his prison cell".

Director: Ki-duk Kim | Stars: Chen Chang, In-Hyeong Gang, Jung-woo Ha, Ki-duk Kim

Votes: 4,453

13. Shoeshine (1946)

Not Rated | 87 min | Drama

Two shoeshine boys in postwar Rome, Italy, save up to buy a horse, but their involvement as dupes in a burglary lands them in juvenile prison where the experience take a devastating toll on their friendship.

Director: Vittorio De Sica | Stars: Rinaldo Smordoni, Franco Interlenghi, Annielo Mele, Bruno Ortensi

Votes: 6,202

14. 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: 1,094,018 | Gross: $136.80M

15. Caged (1950)

Not Rated | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A naive nineteen year old widow becomes coarsened and cynical when she is sent to a woman's prison and is exposed to hardened criminals and sadistic guards.

Director: John Cromwell | Stars: Eleanor Parker, Agnes Moorehead, Ellen Corby, Hope Emerson

Votes: 3,374

16. 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: 11,188

17. The Magdalene Sisters (2002)

R | 114 min | Drama

83 Metascore

Three young Irish women struggle to maintain their spirits while they endure dehumanizing abuse as inmates of a Magdalene Sisters Asylum.

Director: Peter Mullan | Stars: Eileen Walsh, Dorothy Duffy, Nora-Jane Noone, Anne-Marie Duff

Votes: 25,365 | Gross: $4.89M

18. 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: 13,703 | Gross: $17.04M

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: 113,448 | Gross: $43.00M

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: 91,183 | Gross: $2.08M

21. 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: 4,424

22. 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: 41,913 | Gross: $0.03M

23. 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: 63,725 | Gross: $0.15M

24. 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: 11,645

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: 15,366 | Gross: $37.12M

26. 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: 46,202 | Gross: $1.44M

27. 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: 116,074 | Gross: $0.10M

28. 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: 1,795

29. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Sport

A juvenile offender (Sir Tom Courtenay) at a tough reform school impresses its Governor (Sir Michael Redgrave) with his running ability and is encouraged to compete in an upcoming race, but faces ridicule from his peers.

Director: Tony Richardson | Stars: Michael Redgrave, Tom Courtenay, Avis Bunnage, Alec McCowen

Votes: 7,465

30. A Sense of Freedom (1979)

81 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

The life and imprisonment of Glasgow hard man and gangster Jimmy Boyle.

Director: John Mackenzie | Stars: David Hayman, Jake D'Arcy, Sean Scanlan, Alex Norton

Votes: 415

31. Chicago (2002)

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

81 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: 210,360 | Gross: $170.69M

32. The Experiment (2001)

R | 120 min | Drama, Thriller

60 Metascore

For two weeks, 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The "prisoners" have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the "guards" are told to retain order without using physical violence.

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel | Stars: Moritz Bleibtreu, Christian Berkel, Oliver Stokowski, Wotan Wilke Möhring

Votes: 89,424 | Gross: $0.14M

33. Big Bang Love, Juvenile A (2006)

Unrated | 85 min | Drama, Fantasy

A visually stylish tale of two male prisoners bonded by emotion, love and murder.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Ryûhei Matsuda, Masanobu Andô, Shunsuke Kubozuka, Kiyohiko Shibukawa

Votes: 1,871

34. ...and the Wild Wild Women (1959)

95 min | Drama

A harsh study about the grim realities of life in a non-coed, totally female prison environment. Story concerns a young girl who comes to prison and experiences the entire prison subculture... See full summary »

Director: Renato Castellani | Stars: Anna Magnani, Giulietta Masina, Cristina Gaioni, Anita Durante

Votes: 389

35. The Glass House (1972 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama

A young guard and a college professor convicted of manslaughter both start their first day in prison.

Director: Tom Gries | Stars: Vic Morrow, Alan Alda, Clu Gulager, Billy Dee Williams

Votes: 562

36. 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: 16,410

37. Each Dawn I Die (1939)

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

A corrupt D.A. with political ambitions is angered by news stories implicating him in criminal activity and decides to frame the reporter who wrote them for manslaughter in order to silence him.

Director: William Keighley | Stars: James Cagney, George Raft, Jane Bryan, George Bancroft

Votes: 2,695

38. 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: 25,788 | Gross: $17.38M

39. 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: 1,392

40. 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: 17,220 | Gross: $0.01M

41. Maundy Thursday (2006)

120 min | Drama, Romance

A suicidal girl started to visit a convicted murderer awaiting execution every Thursday.

Director: Hae-sung Song | Stars: Nayoung Lee, Dong-won Gang, Yuh-Jung Youn, Shin-il Kang

Votes: 1,216

42. The Wall (1983)

Not Rated | 117 min | Drama

Teens in a Turkish prison struggle to survive under hideous conditions. Made by dying Yilmaz Guney in France, after he escaped from a Turkish prison, enabling him to accept his award at ... See full summary »

Director: Yilmaz Güney | Stars: Tuncel Kurtiz, Ayse Emel Mesci Kuray, Malik Berrichi, Nicolas Hossein

Votes: 3,645

43. Stir (1980)

101 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

Filmed in the Clare Valley, Gladstone and the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, this prison movie was inspired by the true life prison riot at Bathurst Jail in 1974 and its subsequent Royal Commission into New South Wales Prisons.

Director: Stephen Wallace | Stars: Bryan Brown, Max Phipps, Dennis Miller, Gary Waddell

Votes: 220

44. Doing Time (2002)

93 min | Comedy, Drama

A man serving a sentence in a minimum-security prison. Life in the jail is rigid and organized, eventually leading all of the cell-mates to abandon their individuality.

Director: Yôichi Sai | Stars: Tsutomu Yamazaki, Teruyuki Kagawa, Tomorô Taguchi, Yutaka Matsushige

Votes: 296

45. 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: 1,576

46. Sex in Chains (1928)

107 min | Drama