crime The Best Prison Movies  

19.9k votes 3.4k voters 605.7k views 131 items Embed

List Rules 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.
list ordered by

1,464 160
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The Shawshank Redemption Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins - Released: 1994

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1,039 225
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The Green Mile Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Sam Rockwell - Released: 1999

540 158
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Cool Hand Luke Paul Newman, Dennis Hopper, George Kennedy - Released: 1967

416 121
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mrblond added The Great Escape Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner

556 114
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Escape from Alcatraz Clint Eastwood, Danny Glover, Patrick McGoohan - Released: 1979

392 138
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Papillon Dustin Hoffman, Steve McQueen, Vic Tayback - Released: 1973

594 123
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American History X Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly DAngelo

367 146
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Midnight Express John Hurt, Randy Quaid, Brad Davis - Released: 1978

401 142
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Lon Harris added The Longest Yard Burt Reynolds, Bernadette Peters, Ray Nitschke

204 116
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ryanmcw added Birdman of Alcatraz Burt Lancaster, Telly Savalas, Karl Malden

331 137
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O Brother, Where Art Thou? George Clooney, John Goodman, Holly Hunter

377 108
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wiabux added Law Abiding Citizen Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, Viola Davis

254 129
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Dead Man Walking Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Jack Black - Released: 1995

200 117
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KimBrownsey added The Last Castle Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo, Robin Wright

246 100
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oldguy07 added American Me Edward James Olmos, William Forsythe, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

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209 101
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GS69 added Sleepers Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman

146 89
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bojanthebest added Stalag 17 William Holden, Peter Graves, Otto Preminger

174 106
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Lon Harris added The Hurricane Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Rod Steiger

144 112
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Brubaker Nicolas Cage, Morgan Freeman, Robert Redford - Released: 1980

151 90
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Stir Crazy Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, Craig T. Nelson - Released: 1980

442 133
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Con Air Nicolas Cage, John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi

267 125
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Bad Boys Sean Penn, Ally Sheedy, Clancy Brown - Released: 1983

88 102
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PeteBoyle added Hunger Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, Stuart Graham - Released: 2008

127 75
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In the Name of the Father Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Tom Wilkinson

107 103
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erwan added A Prophet Leïla Bekhti, Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup

244 141
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The Longest Yard Adam Sandler, Courteney Cox, Chris Rock - Released: 2005

90 97
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azzy_roth added Jailhouse Rock Elvis Presley, Dean Jones, Gloria Pall

156 107
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PeteBoyle added Death Race Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Natalie Martinez - Released: 2008

92 17
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mainpleine added The Fugitive Julianne Moore, Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones

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149 36
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The Rock Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Ed Harris

71 11
The Dirty Dozen is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Prison Movies
mainpleine added The Dirty Dozen Jim Brown, Donald Sutherland, Charles Bronson

185 82
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Felon Val Kilmer, Anne Archer, Sam Shepard - Released: 2008

126 86
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PeteBoyle added Bronson Tom Hardy, Amanda Burton, James Lance - Released: 2009

51 3
Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Prison Movies
GilWhiteley added Schindler's List Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

93 78
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Brokedown Palace Kate Beckinsale, Claire Danes, Paul Walker - Released: 1999

140 52
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BushWanker added Escape from New York Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

107 72
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Murder in the First Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon, William H. Macy - Released: 1994

132 85
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Life Eddie Murphy, Poppy Montgomery, Martin Lawrence - Released: 1999

80 21
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Prison Movies
mainpleine added Scarface Michelle Pfeiffer, Al Pacino, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

105 79
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Undisputed Wesley Snipes, Master P, Peter Falk - Released: 2002

60 22
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mainpleine added The Count of Monte Cristo Henry Cavill, Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce

58 18
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mainpleine added Tango & Cash Sylvester Stallone, Teri Hatcher, Kurt Russell

104 47
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Holes Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Patricia Arquette - Released: 2003

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64 58
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The Defiant Ones Sidney Poitier, Tony Curtis, Lon Chaney

81 80
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Get the Gringo Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare, Dean Norris

121 70
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Lock Up Sylvester Stallone, Donald Sutherland, Tom Sizemore - Released: 1989

72 73
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AdrianDanga added Runaway Train Jon Voight, Rebecca De Mornay, Eric Roberts

80 61
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wiabux added Let's Go to Prison Will Arnett, Michael Shannon, Bob Odenkirk - Released: 2006

62 74
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Animal Factory Mickey Rourke, Willem Dafoe, Edward Furlong - Released: 2000

62 77
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srjthnk added Cell 211 Luis Tosar, Carlos Bardem, Alberto Ammann