The Best Prison Movies Films

The Best Prison Movies

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originally by  15,826 votes 2,747 voters 543,592 views 121 items tags f p @

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.


List Photo: user uploaded image
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 23 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1152
    - 119
    The Shawshank Redemption

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 832
    - 167
    The Green Mile


    Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Sam Rockwell Released: 1999

    ;
  3. 3
    + 417
    - 127
    Cool Hand Luke

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

    ;
  4. 4
    + 431
    - 87
    Escape from Alcatraz


    Clint Eastwood, Danny Glover, Patrick McGoohan Released: 1979

    ;
  5. 5
    + 336
    - 97
    The Great Escape

    added by mrblond
    Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner

    ;
  6. 6
    + 468
    - 86
    American History X

    ranked low on reranks
    Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly DAngelo

    ;
  7. 7
    + 312
    - 119
    Papillon


    Dustin Hoffman, Steve McQueen, Vic Tayback Released: 1973

    ;
  8. 8
    + 297
    - 118
    Midnight Express


    John Hurt, Randy Quaid, Brad Davis Released: 1978

    ;
  9. 9
    + 329
    - 113
    The Longest Yard

    added by Lons
    Burt Reynolds, Bernadette Peters, Ray Nitschke

    ;
  10. 10
    + 264
    - 107
    O Brother, Where Art Thou?


    George Clooney, John Goodman, Holly Hunter

    ;
  11. 11
    + 295
    - 73
    Law Abiding Citizen

    ranked low on reranks & added by wiabux
    Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, Viola Davis

    ;
  12. 12
    + 170
    - 93
    Birdman of Alcatraz

    added by ryanmcw
    Burt Lancaster, Telly Savalas, Karl Malden

    ;
  13. 13
    + 363
    - 95
    Con Air

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

    ;
  14. 14
    + 213
    - 106
    Dead Man Walking


    Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Jack Black Released: 1995

    ;
  15. 15
    + 185
    - 82
    American Me

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

    ;
  16. 16
    + 154
    - 97
    The Last Castle

    added by KimBrownsey
    Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo, Robin Wright

    ;
  17. 17
    + 153
    - 87
    The Hurricane

    added by Lons
    Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Rod Steiger

    ;
  18. 18
    + 153
    - 83
    Sleepers

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

    ;
  19. 19
    + 110
    - 75
    Stalag 17

    often listed & added by bojanthebest
    William Holden, Peter Graves, Otto Preminger

    ;
  20. 20
    + 121
    - 93
    Brubaker

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

    ;
  21. 21
    + 219
    - 104
    Bad Boys

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

    ;
  22. 22
    + 203
    - 118
    The Longest Yard


    Adam Sandler, Courteney Cox, Chris Rock Released: 2005

    ;
  23. 23
    + 104
    - 22
    The Rock

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

    ;
  24. 24
    + 119
    - 73
    Stir Crazy


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

    ;
  25. 25
    + 93
    - 59
    In the Name of the Father


    Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Tom Wilkinson

    ;
  26. 26
    + 153
    - 68
    Felon

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

    ;
  27. 27
    + 92
    - 87
    A Prophet

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

    ;
  28. 28
    + 73
    - 87
    Hunger

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

    ;
  29. 29
    + 128
    - 88
    Death Race

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

    ;
  30. 30
    + 107
    - 43
    Escape from New York

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

    ;
  31. 31
    + 101
    - 72
    Bronson

    added by PeteBoyle
    Tom Hardy, Amanda Burton, James Lance Released: 2009

    ;
  32. 32
    + 40
    - 10
    The Fugitive

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

    ;
  33. 33
    + 103
    - 75
    Life


    Eddie Murphy, Poppy Montgomery, Martin Lawrence Released: 1999

    ;
  34. 34
    + 80
    - 82
    Jailhouse Rock

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

    ;
  35. 35
    + 88
    - 63
    Murder in the First


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

    ;
  36. 36
    + 87
    - 73
    Undisputed


    Wesley Snipes, Master P, Peter Falk Released: 2002

    ;
  37. 37
    + 35
    - 10

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

    ;
  38. 38
    + 76
    - 70
    Brokedown Palace


    Kate Beckinsale, Claire Danes, Paul Walker Released: 1999

    ;
  39. 39
    + 55
    - 48
    The Defiant Ones


    Sidney Poitier, Tony Curtis, Lon Chaney

    ;
  40. 40
    + 29
    - 15
    The Count of Monte Cristo

    added by mainpleine
    Henry Cavill, Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce

    ;
  41. 41
    + 28
    - 9
    Tango & Cash

    added by mainpleine
    Sylvester Stallone, Teri Hatcher, Kurt Russell

    ;
  42. 42
    + 78
    - 40
    Holes

    ranked low on reranks
    Shia LaBeouf, Sigourney Weaver, Patricia Arquette Released: 2003

    ;
  43. 43
    + 60
    - 50
    Let's Go to Prison

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

    ;
  44. 44
    + 57
    - 66
    Cell 211

    added by srjthnk
    Luis Tosar, Carlos Bardem, Alberto Ammann

    ;
  45. 45
    + 59
    - 64
    Runaway Train

    added by AdrianDanga
    Jon Voight, Rebecca De Mornay, Eric Roberts

    ;
  46. 46
    + 73
    - 41
    Starred Up

    ranked low on reranks
    Jack O'Connell, Rupert Friend, Ben Mendelsohn

    ;
  47. 47
    + 58
    - 72
    Get the Gringo


    Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare, Dean Norris

    ;
  48. 48
    + 49
    - 61
    Animal Factory


    Mickey Rourke, Willem Dafoe, Edward Furlong Released: 2000

    ;
  49. 49
    + 88
    - 65
    Lock Up

    ranked low on reranks
    Sylvester Stallone, Donald Sutherland, Tom Sizemore Released: 1989

    ;
  50. 50
    + 49
    - 65
    Undisputed II: Last Man Standing

    added by wiabux
    Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins, Ben Cross Released: 2005

    ;
122 +

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