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The Best Movies About Women In Prison

Updated January 15, 2021 681 votes 504 voters 234.2k views54 items

List RulesVote for your personal favorite women in prison films, regardless of how popular or successful they were at the box office.

Women in prison films or WiP movies are an explotation genre that has been around since the beginning of film as medium.  These are the top films that take place primarily in a women's prison. The genre may not be as large as other, but there are still plenty of great movies about women and girls going to jail. While the setting and the characters may be different than typical movies that take place in prison, female prison movies still share many of the same motifs and themes of the genre in general. 

What's better, Escape from Hell or Women in Cellblock 9? The films on this list cover the most famous female prison movies.  If we missed any movies that feature women how are incarcerated on this list, please add them to the list yourself. 

Whether you're at home and want to watch these women in prison movies on DVD, streaming Blu-ray or streaming, or if you're seeing them in theaters for the first time, this is a list of good women in prison movies that can be helpful in either situation to see where they all stack up. So from the latest, to the greatest women in prison movies, here is the full women in prison movies list, ordered from best to worst.

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    An American woman (Pam Grier) is convicted of murder in the Philippines and sentenced to a grim women’s prison in the jungle, where she and the other prisoners rise up against an abusive and sadistic warden....  more
    • Actors: Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Christiane Schmidtmer, Jack Davis, Roberta Collins
    • Released: 1971
    • Directed by: Jack Hill
  • Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use
    Caged Fury is a 1989 women in prison film about a group of prisoners who decide to escape from an all-female prison. The film was directed by Bill Milling, and stars Erik Estrada and James Hong....  more
    • Actors: Janine Lindemulder, Ron Jeremy, Erik Estrada, Jack Carter, James Hong
    • Released: 1989
    • Directed by: Bill Milling
  • Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use
    This delicious period piece, based on Sarah Waters’ 1999 novel of the same name, is a women-in-prison movie with a gothic Victorian twist. Upper-class Margaret (Anna Madeley), mourning her father’s recent death and looking for diversion, goes to Millbank Prison as a “Lady Visitor” — presumably to improve the female convicts but really as a way to step outside her limited, conventional world. When she finds herself irresistibly drawn to Selina (Zoe Tapper), an attractive young convict, Margaret’s do-gooding quickly falls by the wayside....  more
    • Actors: Anna Massey, Amanda Plummer, Nickolas Grace, Anne Reid, Sarah Crowden
    • Released: 2008
    • Directed by: Tim Fywell
  • 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 stars Juanita Brown, Roberta Collins, Erica Gavin, Ella Reid, Rainbeaux Smith, and Barbara Steele. John Cale wrote and performed its soundtrack music, which features the guitar playing of Mike Bloomfield. Two later features, Caged Heat II: Stripped of Freedom and Caged Heat 3000, made use of the Caged Heat name and the women-in-prison situation, but are unrelated films....  more
    • Actors: Barbara Steele, Desireé Cousteau, Gary Goetzman, Roberta Collins, Rainbeaux Smith
    • Released: 1974
    • Directed by: Jonathan Demme

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