The Best Prison Movies

Originally By 18k votes 3.1k voters 580k views 126 items tags f p @
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List Criteria: Films set in prison or jails or that star prisoners or convicts.

Best prison movies is a list of the top jail films of all time. These are movies that take place within or around a penitentiary. This prison movies list also includes escape movies, as the plot sometimes revolves around a convict's escape attempt.

Jails create an interesting setting for filmmakers. Since prisons are self-encapsulated, prisons tend to form their own societies with their own rules, hierarchies, and etiquette. As such, the prisons become a veritable island for the prisoners inside.

The prison films on this list are some of the best, so there is bound to be at least one on here that you will enjoy. Make sure to vote for what you think is the greatest prison film ever and add your favorite movie set in jail if it's not on the prison movies list.
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  1. 1
    + 1,332
    - 144
    The Shawshank Redemption is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins Released: 1994

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  2. 2
    + 944
    - 200
    The Green Mile is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Sam Rockwell Released: 1999

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  3. 3
    + 484
    - 145
    Cool Hand Luke is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Paul Newman, Dennis Hopper, George Kennedy Released: 1967

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  4. 4
    + 507
    - 101
    Escape from Alcatraz is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Clint Eastwood, Danny Glover, Patrick McGoohan Released: 1979

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  5. 5
    + 542
    - 110
    American History X is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly DAngelo

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  6. 6
    + 378
    - 111
    The Great Escape is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    added by mrblond
    Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner

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  7. 7
    + 361
    - 129
    Papillon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Dustin Hoffman, Steve McQueen, Vic Tayback Released: 1973

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  8. 8
    + 345
    - 130
    Midnight Express is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    John Hurt, Randy Quaid, Brad Davis Released: 1978

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  9. 9
    + 372
    - 127
    The Longest Yard is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    added by Lons
    Burt Reynolds, Bernadette Peters, Ray Nitschke

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  10. 10
    + 342
    - 93
    Law Abiding Citizen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    added by wiabux
    Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, Viola Davis

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  11. 11
    + 304
    - 122
    O Brother, Where Art Thou? is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    George Clooney, John Goodman, Holly Hunter

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  12. 12
    + 190
    - 102
    Birdman of Alcatraz is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    often listed & added by ryanmcw
    Burt Lancaster, Telly Savalas, Karl Malden

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  13. 13
    + 240
    - 117
    Dead Man Walking is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Jack Black Released: 1995

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  14. 14
    + 221
    - 91
    American Me is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    added by oldguy07
    Edward James Olmos, William Forsythe, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

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  15. 15
    + 417
    - 118
    Con Air is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    ranked low on reranks
    Nicolas Cage, John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi

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  16. 16
    + 186
    - 91
    Sleepers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    added by GS69
    Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman

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  17. 17
    + 182
    - 108
    The Last Castle is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    added by KimBrownsey
    Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo, Robin Wright

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  18. 18
    + 167
    - 99
    The Hurricane is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    added by Lons
    Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Rod Steiger

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  19. 19
    + 129
    - 84
    Stalag 17 is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    added by bojanthebest
    William Holden, Peter Graves, Otto Preminger

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  20. 20
    + 251
    - 113
    Bad Boys is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    ranked low on reranks
    Sean Penn, Ally Sheedy, Clancy Brown Released: 1983

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  21. 21
    + 131
    - 105
    Brubaker is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Nicolas Cage, Morgan Freeman, Robert Redford Released: 1980

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  22. 22
    + 138
    - 82
    Stir Crazy is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, Craig T. Nelson Released: 1980

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  23. 23
    + 115
    - 68
    In the Name of the Father is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Tom Wilkinson

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  24. 24
    + 131
    - 30
    The Rock is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    ranked low on reranks
    Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Ed Harris

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  25. 25
    + 226
    - 134
    The Longest Yard is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Adam Sandler, Courteney Cox, Chris Rock Released: 2005

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  26. 26
    + 73
    - 14
    The Fugitive is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    added by mainpleine
    Julianne Moore, Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones

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  27. 27
    + 144
    - 101
    Death Race is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    often listed & added by PeteBoyle
    Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Natalie Martinez Released: 2008

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  28. 28
    + 100
    - 95
    A Prophet is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    often listed & added by erwan
    Leïla Bekhti, Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup

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  29. 29
    + 165
    - 78
    Felon is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    ranked low on reranks
    Val Kilmer, Anne Archer, Sam Shepard Released: 2008

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  30. 30
    + 81
    - 95
    Hunger is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    often listed & added by PeteBoyle
    Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, Stuart Graham Released: 2008

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  31. 31
    + 128
    - 51
    Escape from New York is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    ranked low on reranks & added by BushWanker
    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

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  32. 32
    + 117
    - 82
    Bronson is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    ranked low on reranks & added by PeteBoyle
    Tom Hardy, Amanda Burton, James Lance Released: 2009

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  33. 33
    + 84
    - 91
    Jailhouse Rock is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    often listed & added by azzy_roth
    Elvis Presley, Dean Jones, Gloria Pall

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  34. 34
    + 122
    - 82
    Life is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Eddie Murphy, Poppy Montgomery, Martin Lawrence Released: 1999

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  35. 35
    + 99
    - 69
    Murder in the First is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon, William H. Macy Released: 1994

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  36. 36
    + 51
    - 10

    added by mainpleine
    Jim Brown, Donald Sutherland, Charles Bronson

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  37. 37
    + 59
    - 20

    added by mainpleine
    Michelle Pfeiffer, Al Pacino, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

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  38. 38
    + 94
    - 45
    Holes is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Patricia Arquette Released: 2003

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  39. 39
    + 22
    - 1

    added by GilWhiteley
    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

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  40. 40
    + 87
    - 74
    Brokedown Palace is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Kate Beckinsale, Claire Danes, Paul Walker Released: 1999

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  41. 41
    + 99
    - 77
    Undisputed is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Wesley Snipes, Master P, Peter Falk Released: 2002

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  42. 42
    + 51
    - 19
    The Count of Monte Cristo is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    added by mainpleine
    Henry Cavill, Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce

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  43. 43
    + 106
    - 68
    Lock Up is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Sylvester Stallone, Donald Sutherland, Tom Sizemore Released: 1989

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  44. 44
    + 42
    - 15
    Tango & Cash is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    added by mainpleine
    Sylvester Stallone, Teri Hatcher, Kurt Russell

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  45. 45
    + 82
    - 47
    Starred Up is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Jack O'Connell, Rupert Friend, Ben Mendelsohn

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  46. 46
    + 61
    - 52
    The Defiant Ones is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Sidney Poitier, Tony Curtis, Lon Chaney

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  47. 47
    + 80
    - 51
    Escape Plan is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    added by wiabux
    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, 50 Cent

    ;
  48. 48
    + 71
    - 58
    Let's Go to Prison is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Prison Movies

    added by wiabux
    Will Arnett, Michael Shannon, Bob Odenkirk Released: 2006

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  49. 49
    + 9
    - 0
    The Bridge on the River Kwai is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins

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  50. 50
    + 69
    - 76
    Get the Gringo is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Prison Movies


    Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare, Dean Norris

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127 +

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