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The Best R-Rated Prison Movies 

Updated March 17, 2020 546 votes 93 voters 8.9k views 47 items

List Rules Add your favorite movie to the list if it's missing, but only if it's the correct rating.

List of R-Rated prison movies, ranked from best to worst with movie trailers when available. This list takes the best R-Rated prison movies and pits them against each other to see once and for all what the greatest R-Rated Prison movie of all time is. This list of popular R-Rated prison movies includes information like who directed the film, when it was released and which actors starred in the movie. If you think the top R-Rated Prison movie isn't as high as it should be then be sure to vote it up so it can take its rightful place among the other great R-Rated Prison films on this list. If you're trying to find a specific R-Rated Prison film you can search this list and filter to find what you're looking for.

List contains movies like Stir Crazy and Midnight Express.

If you're trying to find out "What are the best R-Rated prison movies?" and "What are the most famous R-Rated prison movies?" then this list is the perfect resource for you.

Use this list if you're looking for some new prison movies that are rated R. Between Netflix, Hulu and other services there are thousands of great prison movies rated R, so get out there and start watching.

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Did you know that Sidney Poitier and Steve Buscemi have both directed R Prison film movies?

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Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, Craig T. Nelson

Released: 1980

Directed by: Sidney Poitier

Stir Crazy is a 1980 American comedy film directed by Sidney Poitier and starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor as down-on-their-luck friends who are given 125-year prison sentences after being ...more

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The Shawshank Redemption... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best R-Rated Prison Movies
BaruchLalaev added Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins

Released: 1994

Directed by: Frank Darabont

The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and ...more

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John Hurt, Randy Quaid, Brad Davis

Released: 1978

Directed by: Alan Parker

Midnight Express is a 1978 American-British prison drama film directed by Alan Parker, produced by David Puttnam and starring Brad Davis, Irene Miracle, Bo Hopkins, Paolo Bonacelli, Paul L. ...more

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Glenn Plummer, Carl Lumbly, Byron Minns

Released: 1992

Directed by: Stephen Milburn Anderson

South Central is a 1992 American crime drama film, written and directed by Stephen Milburn Anderson. This film is an adaptation of the 1987 novel Crips by Donald Bakeer, a former high school ...more

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Burt Reynolds, Bernadette Peters, Ray Nitschke

Released: 1974

Directed by: Robert Aldrich

The Longest Yard is a 1974 American sports comedy film directed by Robert Aldrich. Written by Tracy Keenan Wynn based on a story by producer Albert S. Ruddy, the film follows inmates at a prison ...more

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Sylvester Stallone, Donald Sutherland, Tom Sizemore

Released: 1989

Directed by: John Flynn

Lock Up is a 1989 American prison action film directed by John Flynn. The film stars Sylvester Stallone and Donald Sutherland. The film was released in the United States on August 4, 1989.

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Nicolas Cage, Morgan Freeman, Robert Redford

Released: 1980

Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg

Brubaker is a 1980 American prison drama film starring Robert Redford, Yaphet Kotto and David Keith. The film, which was directed by Stuart Rosenberg, is a fictionalized account of a 1967 prison ...more

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Robert Redford, Mark Ruffalo, Robin Wright

Released: 2001

Directed by: Rod Lurie

The Last Castle is a 2001 American action drama film directed by Rod Lurie, starring Robert Redford, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo and Delroy Lindo. The film portrays a struggle between inmates ...more
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Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones, Omid Djalili

Released: 2001

Directed by: Barry Skolnick

Mean Machine is a 2001 British comedy-drama film directed by Barry Skolnick. It stars former footballer Vinnie Jones. The film is an adaptation of the 1974 American film The Longest Yard, ...more

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Mos Def, Lark Voorhies, MC Lyte

Released: 2003

Directed by: Neema Barnette

Civil Brand is a 2002 feature film written by Preston A. Whitmore II and Joyce Renee Lewis, and directed by Neema Barnette. It features N'Bushe Wright, Da Brat, Mos Def, LisaRaye McCoy, and ...more
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Penitentiary 2 Mr. T, Ernie Hudson, Rudy Ray Moore

Released: 1982

Directed by: Jamaa Fanaka

Penitentiary II is a 1982 American Blaxploitation drama film, directed by Jamaa Fanaka. Released on April 2, 1982, the film is the sequel to 1979's Penitentiary. It was followed by another ...more
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Felon Val Kilmer, Anne Archer, Sam Shepard

Released: 2008

Directed by: Ric Roman Waugh

Felon is a 2008 American prison film written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh. The film stars Stephen Dorff, Val Kilmer and Harold Perrineau. The film tells the story of the family man who ends ...more

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#37 of 136 The Best Prison Movies #54 of 64 The Best Sam Shepard Movies

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Mickey Rourke, Willem Dafoe, Edward Furlong

Released: 2000

Directed by: Steve Buscemi

Animal Factory is a 2000 drama film about life in prison, set in San Quentin. The film was directed by Steve Buscemi, and stars Willem Dafoe, Edward Furlong, Danny Trejo, John Heard, Mickey ...more

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Nick Nolte, Joe Mantegna, Ernie Hudson

Released: 1987

Directed by: John D. Hancock

Weeds is a 1987 American drama feature film about a prison inmate who writes a play that catches the attention of a visiting reporter. The film was directed by John D. Hancock, and stars Nick ...more
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Barbara Steele, Desireé Cousteau, Gary Goetzman

Released: 1974

Directed by: Jonathan Demme

Caged Heat is an exploitation film from 1974 of the "women-in-prison" film genre. It was written and directed by Jonathan Demme for New World Pictures, headed by Roger Corman. The film ...more
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Wendy O. Williams, Sybil Danning, Sherri Stoner

Released: 1986

Directed by: Tom DeSimone

Reform School Girls is a 1986 American film, written and directed by Tom DeSimone. It stars Linda Carol, Wendy O. Williams, Pat Ast, Sybil Danning and Sherri Stoner, and depicts the story of ...more
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Penitentiary Badja Djola, Chuck Mitchell, Leon Isaac Kennedy

Released: 1979

Directed by: Jamaa Fanaka

Penitentiary is a 1979 American blaxploitation drama film film starring Leon Isaac Kennedy as Martel "Too Sweet" Gordone that deals with the wrongful imprisonment of a black youth. The ...more
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Tom Selleck, Abraham Murphy, Tobin Bell

Released: 1989

Directed by: Peter Yates

An Innocent Man, is a 1989 crime thriller film directed by Peter Yates, and starring Tom Selleck. The film follows James Rainwood, an airline mechanic sent to prison when framed by crooked ...more
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Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dean Martin, Cynthia Gibb

Released: 1990

Directed by: Deran Sarafian

Death Warrant is a 1990 action movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. The film was written by David S. Goyer while a student at USC, and was Goyer's first screenplay to be sold and produced ...more
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Richard Roundtree, Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Richard Paul

Released: 1992

Directed by: Oley Sassone

Bloodfist III: Forced to Fight is a 1992 action/adventure film starring Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Richard Roundtree, and Gregory McKinney. It was directed by Oley Sassone and written by ...more
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Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann

Released: 2009

Directed by: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra

I Love You Phillip Morris is a 2009 comedy film based on the 1980s and '90s real-life story of con artist, impostor, and multiple prison escapee Steven Jay Russell, as played by Jim Carrey. ...more

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Kirsten Dunst, Morgan Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton

Released: 2003

Directed by: Ed Solomon

Levity is a 2003 drama film directed by Ed Solomon. Its theatrical release was on April 4. The score for this film was composed by Mark Oliver Everett of the band Eels. Levity was filmed in ...more
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Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen

Released: 2020

Directed by: Andrea Di Stefano

The Informer is a 2019 British film directed by Andrea Di Stefano, based on the novel Three Seconds by Roslund/Hellström. Working undercover for crooked FBI handlers to infiltrate the ...more
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Kerry Washington, Ryan Gosling, Kevin Spacey

Released: 2003

Directed by: Matthew Ryan Hoge

The United States of Leland is a 2003 American drama film written and directed by Matthew Ryan Hoge that follows a meek teenage boy, the eponymous Leland, who has inexplicably committed a ...more

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Bottom of the 9th is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best R-Rated Prison Movies
Joe Manganiello, Sofía Vergara, Michael Rispoli

Released: 2019

Directed by: Raymond De Felitta

Bottom of the 9th is a 2019 American drama film, directed by Raymond De Felitta. A once-aspiring baseball player (Joe Manganiello) returns to his Bronx neighborhood after serving 17 years in