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The Best Movies About Women In Prison

Updated January 15, 2021 650 votes 472 voters 230.6k 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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  • The Big Doll House
    Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use
    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
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  • Women in Cellblock 9
    Photo: user uploaded image
    Women in Cellblock 9 is a 1977 Swiss film directed by Spanish director Jesus Franco, starring Howard Vernon and Karine Gambier. Its main theme is women in prison. Unlike most of Franco's work this remains banned in the United Kingdom due to large amounts of sexual violence, and as one of the lead actresses in many of the sex scenes was 16 at the time the film was made. The film was rejected by the British Board of Film Classification when submitted in 2004 and has since not been successfully appealed....  more
    • Actors: Howard Vernon
    • Released: 1977
    • Directed by: Jesús Franco
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  • Caged Fury
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    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
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  • The Big Bird Cage is a 1972 exploitation film of the "women in prison" subgenre. It serves as a non-sequel follow-up to the 1971 film The Big Doll House. The film was written and directed by Jack Hill, and stars Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Anitra Ford, and Carol Speed....  more
    • Actors: Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Anitra Ford, Marissa Delgado, Vic Díaz
    • Released: 1972
    • Directed by: Jack Hill
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