Film The Best Prisoner of War Movies  

Ranker Film
77 votes 10 voters 31 items

The best prisoner of war movies keep you on the edge of your seat. Most of them have some sort of historical basis, so they can be a little educational in addition to being intense. WWII POW movies are the most common, but others have been set amid different conflicts. There are Vietnam POW movies, as well as some set during the Civil War and the French Resistance. In this type of film, you will find a nice mix of true stories and historical fiction. 

Use this list to vote for the top POW films of all time. If there's a prisoner of war movie that you think is among the greatest and isn't included here, add it to the list. Then check back to see how other users are ranking your choice.  

list ordered by
1
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The Great Escape is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, James Garner
The Great Escape is a 1963 American WWII epic film based on an escape by British and Commonwealth POW from a German POW camp during WWII, starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard ...more
2
5 1
The Bridge on the River Kwai is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins
The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 WWII epic film directed by David Lean, based on the novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai by Pierre Boulle. The film is a work of fiction but borrows the ...more
3
5 1
Stalag 17 is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
William Holden, Peter Graves, Otto Preminger
Stalag 17 is a 1953 film which tells the story of a group of American airmen held in a German WWII prisoner camp, who come to suspect that one of their number is an informant. It was adapted ...more
4
4 1
Empire of the Sun is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, John Malkovich
Empire of the Sun is a 1987 American coming of age film based on J. G. Ballard's semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. Steven Spielberg directed the film, which stars Christian Bale, ...more
5
4 1
Rescue Dawn is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies
Rescue Dawn is a 2006 American drama film directed by Werner Herzog, based on an adapted screenplay written from his 1997 documentary film Little Dieter Needs to Fly. The film stars Christian ...more
6
3 1
King Rat is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
George Segal, John Mills, Denholm Elliott
King Rat is a 1965 WWII film adapted from the James Clavell novel King Rat. The film was directed by Bryan Forbes and starred George Segal as Corporal King and James Fox as Marlowe, two WWII ...more
7
3 1
The Colditz Story is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
John Mills, David Yates, Theodore Bikel
The Colditz Story is a 1955 prisoner of war film starring John Mills and Eric Portman and directed by Guy Hamilton. It is based on the book written by Pat Reid, a British army officer who was ...more
8
2 0
The Hanoi Hilton is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Jeffrey Jones, David Soul, Michael Moriarty
The Hanoi Hilton is a 1987 Vietnam War film which focuses on the experiences of American prisoners of war who were held in the infamous Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi during the 1960s and 1970s and the ...more
9
2 0
The Deer Hunter is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken
The Deer Hunter is a 1978 American epic drama film co-written and directed by Michael Cimino about a trio of Russian American steelworkers and their service in Vietnam. The film stars Robert De ...more
10
2 0
Paradise Road is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Cate Blanchett, Glenn Close, Julianna Margulies
Paradise Road is a 1997 war film which tells the story of a group of English, American, Dutch and Australian women who are imprisoned by the Japanese in Sumatra during World War II. It was ...more
11
2 0
The Great Raid is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
James Franco, Sam Worthington, Connie Nielsen
The Great Raid is a 2005 film about the Raid at Cabanatuan on the island of Luzon, Philippines during WWII. It is directed by John Dahl and stars Benjamin Bratt, Joseph Fiennes, James Franco, ...more
12
2 0
Von Ryan's Express is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Frank Sinatra, James Brolin, Trevor Howard
Von Ryan's Express is a 1965 WWII adventure film about a group of Allied prisoners who after Italy's armistice with the Allies in September 1943, conduct a daring mass escape by hijacking a ...more
13
2 0
A Town Like Alice is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Peter Finch, Vincent Ball, Virginia McKenna
A Town Like Alice is a 1956 British drama film, based on the 1950 novel by Nevil Shute and with Virginia McKenna and Peter Finch in the leading roles. The film does not follow the whole novel, ...more
14
2 1
The Grand Illusion is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Erich von Stroheim, Jean Gabin, Marcel Dalio
La Grande Illusion is a 1937 French war film directed by Jean Renoir, who co-wrote the screenplay with Charles Spaak. The story concerns class relationships among a small group of French ...more
15
2 1
A Man Escaped is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
François Leterrier, Jacques Ertaud, Maurice Beerblock
A Man Escaped or: The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth is a 1956 French film directed by Robert Bresson. It is based on the memoirs of André Devigny, a member of the French Resistance held ...more
16
1 0
To End All Wars is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Strong, Robert Carlyle
To End All Wars is a 2001 war film starring Robert Carlyle, Kiefer Sutherland and Sakae Kimura and directed by David L. Cunningham.
17
1 0
The McKenzie Break is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Brian Keith, Ian Hendry, Jack Watson
The McKenzie Break is a 1970 British war drama film directed by Lamont Johnson, starring Brian Keith as Jack Connor, an intelligence officer investigating recent disturbances at a German ...more
18
1 0
Seven Thunders is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Stephen Boyd, James Robertson Justice, Kathleen Harrison
Seven Thunders is a 1957 Second World War film about two British escaped prisoners of war.
19
1 0
The Password Is Courage is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Dirk Bogarde, Nigel Stock, Ed Devereaux
The Password is Courage is a 1962 film based on John Castle's 1954 Second World War memoir of the same name. It was written, produced and directed by Andrew L. Stone and stars Dirk Bogarde, ...more
20
1 0
Andersonville is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
William H. Macy, Thomas F. Wilson, William Sanderson
Andersonville is a 1996 American television film directed by John Frankenheimer about a group of Union soldiers during the American Civil War who are captured by the Confederates and sent to an ...more
21
1 0
Escape from Sobibor is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Alan Arkin, Rutger Hauer, Joanna Pacuła
Escape from Sobibor is a 1987 British made-for-TV film which aired on CBS. It is the story of the mass escape from the extermination camp at Sobibor, the most successful uprising by Jewish ...more
22
1 0
Land of Mine is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Land of Mine Roland Møller, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman
23
1 0
Little Dieter Needs to Fly is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Dieter Dengler, Werner Herzog, Eugene Deatrick
Little Dieter Needs to Fly is a 1997 documentary film made for German television, written and directed by Werner Herzog, produced by Werner Herzog Filmproduktion. The film was released to DVD in ...more
24
2 2
The Way Back is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan, Ed Harris
The Way Back is a 2010 epic drama film directed by Peter Weir, from a screenplay by Weir and Keith Clarke. The film is inspired by The Long Walk, the memoir by former Polish POW Sławomir Rawicz, ...more
25
1 1
Unbroken is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Prisoner of War Movies
Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson, Jack O'Connell
Unbroken is a 2014 American biographical drama film, produced and directed by Angelina Jolie, and based on the 2010 non-fiction book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, ...more