crime The Best Prison Movies

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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.

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

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

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

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

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American History X Edward Norton, Edward Furlong Beverly DAngelo

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The Great Escape Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough James Garner

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

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

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The Longest Yard Burt Reynolds, Bernadette Peters Ray Nitschke

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Law Abiding Citizen Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx Viola Davis

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

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Birdman of Alcatraz Burt Lancaster, Telly Savalas Karl Malden

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

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American Me Edward James Olmos, William Forsythe Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

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Con Air Nicolas Cage, John Malkovich Steve Buscemi

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Sleepers Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro Dustin Hoffman

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The Last Castle Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo Robin Wright

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The Hurricane Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber Rod Steiger

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Stalag 17 William Holden, Peter Graves Otto Preminger

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

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

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

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The Rock Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery Ed Harris

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

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

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The Fugitive Julianne Moore, Harrison Ford Tommy Lee Jones

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Death Race Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson Natalie Martinez - Released: 2008

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

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A Prophet Leïla Bekhti, Tahar Rahim Niels Arestrup

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Hunger Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham Stuart Graham - Released: 2008

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Escape from New York Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell Ernest Borgnine

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Bronson Tom Hardy, Amanda Burton James Lance - Released: 2009

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Jailhouse Rock Elvis Presley, Dean Jones Gloria Pall

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

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

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The Dirty Dozen is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Prison Movies
The Dirty Dozen Jim Brown, Donald Sutherland Charles Bronson

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Scarface is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Prison Movies
Scarface Michelle Pfeiffer, Al Pacino Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

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

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

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

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The Count of Monte Cristo Henry Cavill, Jim Caviezel Guy Pearce

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Tango & Cash Sylvester Stallone, Teri Hatcher Kurt Russell

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

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Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Prison Movies
Schindler's List Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes Ben Kingsley

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Starred Up Jack O'Connell, Rupert Friend Ben Mendelsohn

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The Defiant Ones Sidney Poitier, Tony Curtis Lon Chaney

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Escape Plan Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone 50 Cent

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

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Get the Gringo Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare Dean Norris

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