The Best Prison Movies of All Time

The Best Prison Movies of All Time

If you’ve ever been in prison, you know that these films aren’t easy to watch. Whether you’re on a prison cell or in the infamous “Death Row,” you can watch these movies to feel better about yourself and learn from others’ experiences. The Shawshank Redemption, Miracle in Cell No. 7, The Great Escape, On My Skin, and many more are all great options, but which ones are your favorites?

Love prison films? Then this list is for you. These are the best prison movies of all time. These are some of the most popular jail flicks ever to grace the silver screen, and have helped shape cinema into what it is today. This list may not be the most complete but it is highly rated and you will find that many of these films have something in common, whether it’s a famous actor, director, or great cast.

The Best Prison Movies of All Time
The Best Prison Movies of All Time

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is one of the most beloved movies of all time. It’s been nominated for nine Oscars, including Best Picture, and has received an almost universally positive response from critics and audiences. While some people believe that Citizen Kane or The Godfather are better movies, and even those who like “Star Wars” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark” admit that TSR is a great movie, they can’t deny its poetic quality.

Miracle in Cell No. 7

If you are looking for a fun and heartwarming movie, then Miracle in Cell No. 7 might be right up your alley. This 2013 Korean comedy-drama is now available on Netflix and is being remade in both Turkish and Philippine versions. It follows the life of a mentally challenged father who is wrongfully imprisoned for a murder. He develops friendships with hardened criminals in prison and is eventually able to see his daughter for the first time in the film.

The Great Escape

The Great Escape (1963) is based on a true story about British soldiers being forced to serve as POWs in Nazi Germany. It tells the story of a group of prisoners, led by Steve McQueen, who plan to break free from the German camp in order to create a distraction for the Nazis. It’s a three-hour epic with some of the most memorable scenes in movie history, and it has inspired countless other films, including Metal Gear, Chicken Run, and The Simpsons.

On My Skin

On My Skin, the 2018 Netflix prison movie, won 14 awards when it was released. The film is based on a true story about police brutality in Italy. A man named Stefano Cucchi was arrested for a small crime and died inside a prison cell. After being stabbed, his body was found a week later. The film explores the consequences of police brutality and the effect of incarceration on an individual.

Con Air

The first film that I thought was good when I was a teenager was the 1996 prison drama Con Air. The film is about young delinquent Mick OBrien, played by Sean Penn, who gets caught up in a gang war and loses his best friend Carl. He quickly learns the harsh realities of life in prison, but not before calling Carl a’shit for brains’. I was disappointed by this movie, but it ended up being

one of my favorite movies of all time.

Escape from Alcatraz

The movie Escape from Alcatraz is based on a true story, but the plot is hardly mind-blowing. There are scenes of male nudity, some from behind, and strong language. Teens and young adults, however, are likely to enjoy the film. However, if you’d like a film without all of these things, you might want to look elsewhere. In the end, the movie will make you think about your own safety.

The Best Prison Movies of All Time
Miracle in Cell No. 7


The central plot of “Riot” is largely uninteresting, with the convicts arguing over how to make a prison break. The film’s central cast includes Gene Hackman and Jim Brown, who play a small band of criminals that plans to instigate a prison riot by breaking out of the solitary confinement wing through a tunnel beneath the prison auditorium. “Riot” is a movie that explores political weariness and cynicism while blurring the lines between barbarism and social conflict. It is a film for our times and reflects the anxieties of that time period.

Jails and prisons are a simply irresistible setting for filmmakers. They offer an entire world to explore, full of people dealing with internal conflicts, rules and regulations, and general power dynamics that make for great drama. You won’t find many prison movies on this list of the best prison films that don’t deliver on that drama.

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