» Top 200
1. Cool Hand Luke (1967, USA)
The quintessential charismatic-con-against-the-world movie. Iconic.
2. Le Trou / The Hole (1960, France)
Four men, an outsider and a tunnel. Magnifique.
3. The Shawshank Redemption (1994, USA)
Fairytale escape saga. Wonderfully produced with deserved, broad appeal. And the narration!
4. The Hill (1965, UK)
Deserters and other wartime miscreants fight for dignity and justice in a desert prison.
5. Forbrydelser / In Your Hands (2004, Denmark)
Harrowing story of an unworthy prisoner who has special gifts, and a chaplain who needs them.
6. Brubaker (1980, USA)
Undercover warden unearths corruption. Prisoners unearth interred colleagues.
7. Carandiru (2003, Brazil)
Almost certainly the best Brazilian riot movie you'll ever see.
8. Women’s Prison (2002, Iran)
A portrait of the changes in one prisoner and the prison Governor over 17 years in the same prison.
9. Stir (1980, Australia)
Keenly observed film of the '74 Bathurst riot, and the best Australian prison movie by a long shot.
10. Un Prophète / A Prophet (2009, France)
Terrific, gritty tale of a young man captured by big-time organised crime operations in prison.
11. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962, UK)
Brooding borstal boy runs. From Police. But most of all, for himself.
12. The Visit (2001, USA)
A powerful story of shame, guilt, resentment and, ultimately, redemption.
13. Celda 211 / Cell 211 (2009, Spain)
Terrific thriller about a new guard getting caught up in a riot. And hoping to get out alive.
14. Cesare deve morire / Caesar Must Die (2012, Italy)
Wonderful take on Shakespeare's Julius Caesar - as played by real prisoners. In real prison.
15. Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985, Brazil / USA)
Two men, one cell, and a fantasy life meets the harsh reality of political detention.
16. Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954, USA)
Classic riot movie shot at Folsom Prison.
17. Stone (2010, USA)
Questions about sin, morality and possible redemption in a taut prison drama.
18. Kongen av Bastøy / King of Devil's Island (2010, Norway)
Coldness, mateship and blurred lines between good and bad in a wonderful juvenile prison film.
19. Vier Minuten / Four Minutes (2006, Germany)
Old, dry self-loather teaches piano to young, angry self-harmer.
20. Leonera / Lion's Den (2008, Argentina)
Honestly shot story of a woman trying to hang on to her child in custody.
21. Hunger (2008, UK)
The IRA's Bobby Sands starves himself to death in the Maze Prison in 1981. Provocative and beautifully shot.
22. Doing Time (2002, Japan)
A gentle, wistful account of submission to institutionalisation.
23. Jailbait (2003, USA)
Harrowing film about a fresh-faced kid and an imposing lifer, sharing the one cell. Enough said.
24. R (2010, Denmark)
Gritty portrait of a youngish prisoner out of his depth
25. Harmony (2010, South Korea)
A tearjerker. A choir, a mother wrenched from her child in prison and a sad gallows story.
26. Greenfingers (2000, UK)
A gentle comedy that says some important things about reintegration and community acceptance.
27. Against the Wall (1993, USA)
The 1971 Attica riot from the perspective of a new prison guard.
28. Eduart (2006, Greece)
Young murderer discovers the meaning of guilt in an Albanian prison.
29. Dame Sobh / Day Break (2005, Iran)
Gripping story of a murderer's agonising wait to learn whether he is to be executed.
30. Dog Pound (2010, Canada / France)
Grim, depressing account of an out-of-control youth facility.
31. Sciuscià / Shoeshine (1946, Italy)
Two shoeshine boys fall into juvenile prison together and fall out.
32. L'Aria Salata / Salty Air (2006, Italy)
Prison worker comes face-to-face with his father, a prisoner, after 20 years. And keeps schtum.
33. The Green Mile (1999, USA)
The best magical-giant-in-prison movie ever.
34. Beyond Re-animator (2003, Spain)
Riotous, fun-filled schlock-horror with plenty of blood and gore. And a riot.
35. The Escapist (2008, UK / Ireland)
A film of twists and turns that doesn't quite know to which side of the Atlantic it belongs.
36. Slam (1998, USA)
Surprisingly good film of a young rapper finding freedom, of sorts, in prison.
37. Eu când vreau să fluier, fluier / If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle (2010, Romania / Sweden)
Young prisoner self-destructs within days of his release.
38. Une Part du Ciel / A Piece of Sky (France / Belgium / Luxembourg, 2002)
Slow moving but powerful look at oppressed and exploited women - in and out of prison.
39. Life (1995, Australia)
Prisoners in a unit for men with HIV/AIDS deal with their Life sentences
40. On the Yard (1978, USA)
The prison experience rendered through stories of a top con and his cronies.
41. Selda / The Inmate (2007, Philippines)
Two men in a love affair that's part prison flick, part art house, part misery porn, part Brokeback Mountain.
42. Scum (1979, UK)
Unrelentingly grim tale of boys behaving badly.
43. VIP - La Otra Casa / VIP (Very Important Prisoners) - The Other House (2007, Guatemala)
Traditional comptroller-turns-prison-gangster fare from Guatemala.
44. Lucky Break (2001, UK)
Romantic comedy with an Irishman, his counsellor, an escape plot and a strange moral centre.
45. Me'Ahorei Hasoragim / Beyond the Walls (1984, Israel).
Jewish prisoners and PLO terrorists managed side-by-side in an Israeli prison. Uneasily, it must be said.
46. Porridge (1979, UK)
Comfortable as the top bunk in a snug cell: Norman Stanley Fletcher, Mr Mackay and plenty of witty repartee.
47. Attica (1980, USA)
A worthy, even-handed look at the 1971 Attica riot.
48. Duvar / The Wall (1983, Turkey)
What Midnight Express did for Turkish prisons, this time the Turks do to themselves.
49. I Love You Phillip Morris (2009, USA)
True story of a prisoner escaping jail, several times, to be with his gay lover whom he met in jail.
50. Jiphaengja / The Executioner (2009, South Korea)
Refreshingly different story of a novice guard facing moral dilemmas at home and at work.
51. Escape from Alcatraz (1979, USA)
Faithful - or so it seems - account of the famous 1962 escape bid that just might have succeeded.
52. De hel van Tanger / Hell in Tangier (2006, Belgium)
An innocent man in a Moroccan Prison. Enough said.
53. El Juego de Arcibel / Arcibel's Game (2003, Argentina)
Jailed chess writer becomes an accidental revolutionary.
54. The Criminal Code (1931, USA)
Young prisoner, in love with the Warden's daughter, is pressured to turn stoolie after witnessing a murder.
55. Ghosted (2011, UK)
A compelling triangular piece involving a predator, his prey and the prey's protector.
56. Kyûka / Vacation (2008, Japan)
One wedding and an execution.
57. In the Name of the Father (1993, UK)
The complex challenges faced by two of the Guildford Four - to prove their innocence, and reconcile as father and son.
58. Dead Man Walking (1995, USA)
A committed nun fulfills her Christian duty by visiting a young, most unlovable murderer on death row.
59. Un Chant D’Amour (1950, France)
Extraordinary film about imprisoned men's longing for intimacy - in 26 soundless minutes.
60. Bronson (2009, UK)
Compelling portrait of Britain's most violent prisoner as cabaret artist and monster.
61. Jail (2009, India)
An innocent man struggles in prison. Supposedly India's answer to The Shawshank Redemption.
62. My Six Convicts (1952, USA)
Decent flick of the Donald Powell Wilson autobiography - a prison psychologist and his six inmate helpers.
63. Deathrow (2000, Philippines)
Sentimental story in which an old hit-man takes a young kid under his wing in Death Row.
64. Holes (2003, USA)
Wholesome Disney comedy about a young detainee whose luck changes.
65. Layla Lavan / White Night (1996, Israel)
White collar prisoner encourages his junkie cell-mate to get clean.
66. Prison on Fire (1987, Hong Kong)
Surprisingly, not about a prison on fire, but about the bond between a greenhorn and an old hand.
67. Captives (1994, UK)
Beautiful dentist falls for a bit of rough, in the best British tradition.
68. Stranger Inside (2001, USA)
Young prisoner seeks out her mother (also in prison) whom she's never met. A bleak survival story with a twist.
69. The Glass House (1972, USA)
Novice college professor and novice kid thrown to the wolves, with pretty predictable results.
70. Screwed (2011, UK)
A new Prison Officer tips the bucket on the Truth about Life as a Prison Officer.
71. Midnight Express (1978, USA)
The film that made allusions to ending up in a Turkish prison so much more evocative than, say, a Swiss prison.
72. The Quare Fellow (1962, UK)
Anti-hanging drama based around two prison officers, one old, one new, the unseen man on death row, and that man's wife.
73. Fortune and Men's Eyes (1971, Canada)
New prisoner fights to survive in a prison where sex equals power.
74. Convict Cowboy (1995, USA)
Old dog teaches new dog new tricks - rodeo style.
75. Scrubbers (1982, UK)
British borstal for girls - a companion piece for Scum.
76. McVicar (1980, UK)
First hand account of the prisoner-turned-journalist's 1968 escape from Durham Prison.
77. House of Numbers (1957, USA)
Two brothers do a bit of a switcheroo to allow the one who's in jail to escape.
78. Bad Boys (1983, USA)
Dog-eat-dog juvenile detention story.
79. Nu Zi Jian Yu / Women Prison (1988, Hong Kong)
Entertaining women's movie that doesn't miss one cliche, and creates a few to boot.
80. The Big House (1930, USA)
The Big House is the Big Daddy of prison movies; arguably the first in the genre. Can still hold its own, too.
81. The Criminal (1960, UK)
Classical film charting the demise of old-fashioned British gangsterism.
82. Each Dawn I Die (1939, USA)
Cagney and Raft in one of the better (if over-engineered in dramatic content) pre-war prison flicks.
83. Under the Gun (1951, USA)
New York gangster cops 20 years in a Deep South prison farm, and sets out to scheme his way out.
84. Silent Scream (1990, UK)
Biopic of convicted killer Larry Winters; a journey through his public and private hells.
85. Geschlecht in Fesseln / Sex in Chains (1928, Germany)
Silent film about prisoners' sexual desire which cries out for penal reform.
86. Nella città l'inferno / Hell in the City (1959, Italy)
Surprisingly good film about the wasted lives of women in prison.
87. Penitentiary (1938, USA)
Out-of-place prisoner falls for the warden's daughter but when pushed, sides with the cons.
88. Mrs. Soffel (1984, USA)
Warden's wife willingly wuns away with a womanising wrongdoer.
89. Gagooman / The Twilight (2002, Iran)
A troubled male prisoner marries a female prisoner. They find it tough when released.
90. Get the Gringo (2012, USA)
Enjoyable action romp with an alliance between a career criminal and a 10-year-old boy.
91. Short Eyes (1977, USA)
A child molester is dropped into the midst of self-righteous inmates, with predictable results.
92. Maléfique (2002, France)
A self-revealing black magic book takes over the lives of the four inhabitants of a shared cell.
93. Ramchand Pakistani (2008, Pakistan)
Stunningly shot story of a Pakistani father and son held in an Indian jail for years after straying across the border.
94. Convicted (1950, USA)
Above-average tale of conflicting loyalties, the criminal code, and falling in love with the Warden's daughter.
95. God Has a Rap Sheet (2002, USA)
Eight men and God in a Police cell. Fortunately, it's a large one.
96. Das Experiment (2001, Germany)
The pick of the esoteric university-research-into-prison-behaviour movie genre.
97. Within These Walls (2001, USA)
One nun + one closed-off old-timer + one dog-training program = one tear jerker.
98. Teen Deewarein / 3 Walls (2003, India)
A beautiful young filmmaker is at the centre of twists, turns and coincidences galore in a maximum security prison.
99. Shackles (2005, USA)
Prison movie genre meets teacher-works-with-tough-disadvantaged-students movie genre.
100. Fast-Walking (1982, USA)
Bent anti-hero guard faces big dilemma when two corrupt paths are in conflict with each other.
101. The Experiment (2010, USA)
Well-made remake of Das Experiment, which in turn was a remake of the Stanford Prison Experiment.
102. Alias 'La Gringa' (1991, Peru)
Several escapes, a love story (of sorts) and a riot. What more could one want?
103. The Hour Before My Brother Dies (1986, Australia)
A condemned man and his sister relive an incest-flavoured childhood moment before he dies.
104. Le Party (1990, Canada)
Where would a prison concert be without drag queens, strippers and an escape bid?
105. Murder in the First (1994, USA)
Novice lawyer puts Alcatraz on trial after unreconstructed prisoner murders another on release from The Hole.
106. Soom / Breath (2007, South Korea)
Curious romance between a depressed wife and a depressed death row prisoner.
107. Goodbye Bafana (2007, Belgium / Ors)
Apartheid-supporting white guard and Nelson Mandela forge an enduring but unconvincing, overstated bond.
108. The Keeper (1995, USA)
Low budget tragedy involving a well-meaning guard and a Haitian prisoner.
109. The Pot Carriers (1962, UK)
Quintessentially British comedy-drama about day-to-day life in the nick.
110. Новая Земля / Terra Nova (2008, Russia)
Lord of the Flies with adult prisoners on a desolate island.
111. Offender (2012, UK)
Modern action flick with an angry young man avenging the wrongs done to him, his girl and his unborn child.
112. Zonzon (1998, France)
A gritty film about three very different cellmates - with classic prison movie features.
113. Killer: A Journal of Murder (1996, USA)
A novice prison guard is drawn to an intelligent but brutal serial killer. Not sure why.
114. Mery Per Sempre / Forever Mary (1989, Italy)
A transsexual prisoner trapped inside To Sir With Love in a youth prison.
115. The Longest Yard (1974, USA)
The first of the Longest Yards, and a better gridiron movie than prison movie.
116. Felon (2008, USA)
Decent, regular guy is forced to survive in brutal prison. Now, there's an idea for a new movie!
117. Mean Machine (2001, UK)
Soccer's version of The Longest Yard.
118. Sense of Freedom (1979, UK)
Jimmy Boyle, Glasgow standover man, rails at the world. Violently, pointlessly.
119. The Longest Yard (2005, USA)
The second Longest Yard (or third if you count Mean Machine). Who thought a remake might be a good idea?
120. House of Women (1961, USA)
A great 50s women's prison movie from the 60s: riots, a warden falling in love with an inmate, and lots of perfect hair.
121. San Quentin (1937, USA)
Humphrey Bogart plays prisoner in a mediocre movie featuring an upright, if awfully conflicted, Captain of the Yard.
122. Silent Grace (2001, Ireland)
Definitely no shower scenes in this subdued IRA WIP film.
123. Do Ankhen Barah Haath / Two Eyes, Twelve Hands (1958, India)
Not quite My Six Convicts, Indian-style, but six murderers given a chance by a godly jailer.
124. The Jericho Mile (1979, USA)
Includes the only prison warden on film to wear both a powder blue and an electric blue suit.
125. Two Way Stretch (1960, UK)
Peter Sellers comedy that in many ways anticipates the better-known Porridge series.
126. The Slams (1973, USA)
Entertaining '70s action flick which asks us to hope that a 9-time murderer gets away with the loot.
127. Lilies (1996, Canada)
Brave but flawed story of a Bishop held hostage in prison and made to confront his past.
128. I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932, USA)
Prisoner escapes, makes good, gets caught, goes back to jail, escapes. Can't go back in, can't live outside.
129. Girls in Prison (1956, USA)
A first time prisoner, the chaplain who believes in her, some missing loot... and an earthquake!
130. For the Term of His Natural Life (1927, Australia / USA)
Epic film of an innocent man transported to the convict settlements in Australia and subjected to the worst they have to offer.
131. Locked Up: A Mother's Rage (1991, USA)
Tearjerker dealing with the impact of imprisonment on the families left behind.
132. The Birdman of Alcatraz (1962, USA)
Factually and geographically-challenged account of Robert Stroud's famous self-rehabilitation program
133. Diamond Geezer (2005, UK)
Old-fashioned comedy-drama involving an escape from prison to commit daring robbery, and then a break back in.
134. Fortress (1992, USA)
A futuristic prison and a hard-done-by prisoner. And the intestinator!
135. Riot (1969, USA)
The most un-riotous riot imaginable.
136. Everynight... everynight (1994, Australia)
Beatings aplenty in this film of the campaign to 'Stop the bash!' in Pentridge Prison's 'H' Division in the early '70s.
137. Ghosts... of the Civil Dead (1988, Australia)
A huge filmic swipe at 1980s 'new generation', 'electronic zoo', super-max prisons.
138. Animal Factory (2000, USA)
Young boy is taken under the wing of shaven-headed hard man. With only the purest of intent, it must be said.
139. Prison Song (2001, USA)
Depressing story highlighting the procession of African Americans wasting their lives in jail.
140. Deathwatch (1966, USA)
Two prisoners seek a murderer's favours.
141. Chinese Midnight Express II (1999, Hong Kong)
A barrister-turned-prisoner joins forces with a guard. Turned prisoner.
142. Lockdown (2000, USA)
Pretty standard, but watchable, innocent-man-in-a tough-prison flick.
143. Castle on the Hudson (1940, USA)
Remake of 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932), and perhaps the better of the two. Marginally.
144. Brokedown Palace (1999, USA)
Two women accused of drug smuggling protest innocence but don't seem to want to find the real culprit. If there is one. Odd.
145. Men Without Souls (1940, USA)
New prisoner, new prison chaplain and some new twists to old themes.
146. 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932, USA)
A celebration of hard-but-fair prison Wardens starring Spencer Tracy in the lead criminal role.
147. Conviction (2001, USA)
Average offering based on the true story of Carl Upchurch, prisoner turned defender of the downtrodden.
148. Brute Force (1947, USA)
Tough guy, bent on escape to see cancer-ridden girl, is frustrated by bent tough guard.
149. Go for Broke (2002, USA)
Some Like it Hot, prison-style. Well, not really, but you get the picture.
150. So Evil, So Young (1961, UK)
A wronged young woman is exculpated and a spiteful one gets her come-uppance in a girls' borstal.
151. Hoodwink (1981, Australia)
The con's con: convincing the system that he's blind.
152. 46-oku-nen no koi / Big Bang Love, Juvenile A (2006, Japan)
Prison murder mystery overlaid with dense symbolism.
153. Binecuvântată Fii, Închisoare / Bless You, Prison (2002, Romania)
A political prisoner is sustained in jail by her Christian faith and abhorrence of the communists.
154. Dead Leaves (2004, Japan)
Futuristic prison fable told in frenetic, furious anime.
155. Chicago (2002, USA)
Slick, cynical musical - with much-too-incidental prison bits.
156. Caged (1949, USA)
Redeemable teenager is slowly sucked into the criminal milieu and towards a life of crime.
157. Convict 99 (1938, UK)
A sacked headmaster finds himself a convict and a prison Governor, both by mistake.
158. Love Comes to the Executioner (2003, USA)
Darkish comedy with an executioner working at the jail where his brother and his true love are both on Death Row.
159. 186 Dollars to Freedom (2012, USA / Peru)
Old fashioned story of an innocent American in a brutal foreign prison.
160. Prison Without Bars (1938, UK)
Single-minded Warden makes herself miserable seeking to make her charges happy.
161. Chinese Midnight Express (1997, Hong Kong)
Innocent man finds his way in prison, doesn't escape, but finds his way out of prison intact.
162. Hell's Highway (1932, USA)
Brotherly love on a chain gang.
163. Nor Chor / Bangkok Hell (2002, Thailand)
Snitch shows that the hellish side of a Bangkok prison is... loss of freedom.
164. 6,000 Enemies (1939, USA)
Framed DA in prison; a different take on the 1931 flick The Criminal Code's take on a DA in prison.
165. Carbine Williams (1952, USA)
Solid telling of the true story of a prisoner inventing and producing a firearm in prison.
166. Symetria / Symmetry (2003, Poland)
Prison innocent carefully, deliberately, embraces the prison culture.
167. Women's Prison (1955, USA)
Enjoyable 50s melodrama featuring a ruthless Superintendent and a good doctor.
168. Cellmates (2011, USA)
Inoffensive offering in which a bigot finds redemption and love in prison. Not with his cellmate.
169. Firelight (2012, USA)
Good-hearted but ludicrous story of a counsellor helping a young prisoner find her self-worth.
170. The Jail in Burning Island (Hong Kong, 1997)
Morally complex but enjoyable romp with fist fights, gunfights, triads, ex-cops... and imaginative restraints.
171. Within These Walls (1945, USA)
Warden's daughter falls for prisoner; Warden's son falls and becomes a prisoner.
172. The Mannsfield 12 (2007, USA)
12 big time convicts versus one big time crooked Warden.
173. Undisputed (2002, USA)
A Mike Tysonesque boxing champ is challenged in the ring - in prison.
174. Yield to the Night (1956, UK)
Diana Dors in a tense wait to see if her execution will be stayed. It's not. She becomes past tense.
175. Devil's Island (1939, USA)
Brain surgeon accused of treason features in Devil's Island dilemmas.
176. Mean Dog Blues (1978, USA)
Innocent man in prison v Doberman Pinscher
177. Mickey B (2007, UK)
Worthy prison adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, played by real prisoners in a real Northern Ireland jail.
178. Racing for Time (2007, USA)
Girls at a youth jail are transformed by a well run running program.
179. Undisputed II: Last Man Standing (2005, USA)
A better-than-average prison fight flick in a Russian nick.
180. The Last Mile (1959, USA)
Remake of the 1932 film of the same name. Death Row inmates revolt. Mickey Rooney stars.
181. Histoire de Pen / Inside (2002, Canada)
Story of the decline and fall of a 19-year-old kid in prison. Should be tragic, but isn't.
182. K-11 (2012, USA)
Wasted rich man lands a front-row seat as a spectator in a transgender jail unit.
183. Pros & Cons (1999, USA)
Average offering about two innocent men in prison. With maybe more cons than pros.
184. Gwangbokjeol Teuksa / Jail Breakers (2002, South Korea)
Try arranging these in the one sentence: madcap, South Korean, comedy. Doesn't work, does it?
185. Lik Wong / Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991, Hong Kong)
A blood-soaked story of corruption and vengeance that fortunately never takes itself seriously.
186. Release (2010, UK)
A defrocked gay priest and a Prison Officer get unfrocked together.
187. Condemned! (1929, USA)
Warden's wife and suave prisoner fall in love.
188. Borstal Boy (2000, UK / Ireland)
A pale shadow of the rollicking book on which it is based.
189. Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion (1972, Japan)
A wronged woman wreaks revenge, with plenty of cultish exploitative elements thrown in.
190. Half Past Dead (2002, USA)
Undercover FBI agent fights scores of intruders into a hi-tech Alactraz, and naturally wins.
191. Weeds (1987, USA)
A troupe of ex-cons from San Quentin take an amateurish prison production on the road.
192. Black Cat in Jail (2000, Hong Kong)
A women's bonding film featuring an assassin, a wrongly-imprisoned mother, a starlet and a vengeful wife.
193. The Weak and the Wicked (1954, UK)
Enjoyable, sympathetic look at women who end up in prison and why. No-one is really wicked.
194. Pardon Us (1931, USA)
Uneven Laurel & Hardy effort in what is thought to be the first ever full length full-length talkie prison comedy.
195. Penitentiary (1979, USA)
Early parole on offer to the prison's best boxer? Sounds reasonable.
196. Convicts 4 (1962, USA)
So-so 60's story of a 30's con who beats the chair in Sing Sing and through art finds his way out in the 40's.
197. Six Against the Rock (1987, USA)
Lo-fi account of the 48-hour 'Battle of Alcatraz' from May 1946.
198. Papillon (1973, USA)
Long and largely uninspired rendering of a vibrant book.
199. H3 (2001, Ireland)
One-dimensional view of the Bobby Sands hunger strike era - Maze Prison, 1981.
200. So Young So Bad (1950, USA)
So-so paint-by-numbers story of a reformist psychiatrist and four not-so-bad girls.
201. Men of San Quentin (1942, USA)
An unashamed propaganda film for prison reform and Warden Clinton T Duffy.
202. I Stefania (1966, Greece)
A 60s pot-boiler with a distinctly 30s feel.
203. Civil Brand (2002, USA)
Shoot 'em up women's prison revolt drama masquerading as a film with something serious to say about the exploitation of prisoners.
204. Hold 'Em Jail (1932, USA)
Wheeler & Woolsey find romance and a football match in prison, anticipating The Longest Yard series.
205. Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison (1951, USA)
Escape bids, murders, a brutal Warden... and a talking prison! What more could you want?
206. Redeemer (2002, USA)
Inoffensive story of a man's quest to be released after 20 years.
207. Di yi jian / The First Time is the Last Time (1989, Hong Kong)
Young prisoner in conflict: torn between her love for her boyfriend and loyalty to a fellow campaigner.
208. Canon City (1948, USA)
Pretty uninspiring account of the real life escape of 12 men from Colorado State Prison in 1947.
209. Death Race (2008, USA)
Innocent man beats odds, beats rivals, beats the system.
210. Duffy of San Quentin (1954, USA)
San Quentin Warden recalls what it is like to be a great San Quentin Warden.
211. Ring of Death (2008, USA)
Ex-cop goes undercover to expose lethal prison fight ring. He does. Surprise!
212. Maximum Security (1984, USA)
Episodes of a TV series spliced into a movie of a prisoner struggling to deal with his relationship with his dying father.
213. The Last Mile (1932, USA)
If you’re looking for a film that extols the virtues of the death penalty, this ain’t that film.
214. Con Air (1997, USA)
Ridiculous action flick in which squarehead prisoner saves all good people from all bad people.
215. Half Past Dead 2 (2007, USA)
Odd-couple heroes double-handedly defeat half the jail in order to protect their loved ones.
216. Last Light (1993, USA)
White prisoner, looked after on death row by a black guard, in a film that could have been much better.
217. Tracks (2004, USA)
Unsatisfying story of an abused, unlikeable teenager wrestles with his demons while in prison on a manslaughter charge.
218. Lock Up (1989, USA)
In a big surprise, Stallone plays Stallone.
219. Convict 13 (1921, USA)
20 minutes of silent slapstick, starring Buster Keaton as civilian, prisoner and guard - almost all at once.
220. Prison of Secrets (1997, USA)
Brave fish-out-of-water single-handedly brings down a nasty, corrupt regime in a women's prison.
221. Up the River (1930, USA)
Gentle comedy drama teaming Humphrey Bogart and Spencer Tracy for the only time.
222. Guilt by Association (2001, USA)
A widow unwittingly gets involved in her boyfriend's drug ring and cops 20 years under mandatory sentencing laws.
223. Road Gang (1936, USA)
An innocent journalist fights for justice and against a corrupt politician.
224. Love Child (1982, USA)
Young prisoner fights to keep the offspring from her affair with a prison guard.
225. Hellgate (1952, USA)
A Western, an innocent man, and an underground prison.
226. Buckstone County Prison (1978, USA)
Derivative flick in which an enigmatic Native American prisoner vanishes and becomes a legend.
227. Doin' Time (1985, USA)
Uninspired low-brow comedy.
228. Animal 2 (2007, USA)
Race riots, fights, double blackmail and Animal making a filmic return.
229. Bloodsport 4 - The Dark Kumite (1999, USA)
Action rom com featuring an undercover cop in a series of fight-to-the-death bouts in prison.
230. Elly Baly Balak (2003, Egypt)
A prisoner and the prison warden swap brains. Not high-brow, one suspects.
231. Stir Crazy (1980, USA)
Limp comedy revolving around two first timers, a rodeo, and an escape plot.
232. Prison on Fire 2 (1990, Hong Kong)
Curious blend of prison drama, comedy, fighting.. and a couple of songs for good measure.
233. Riot in Juvenile Prison (1959, USA)
Not enough rioting, too much prison reform. But in a co-ed prison, it must be said.
234. Ni ljuger / You're Lying! (1969, Sweden)
Confused docu-drama with an alcoholic ingrate trying to prove the prison system's failures. He fails.
235. Bandini / Imprisoned (1963, India)
Goody-two-shoes murderer has a much-too-complicated love life.
236. Rób swoje, ryzyko jest twoje / Just Do It - The Risk is Yours (2002, Poland)
Unfunny prison comedy in anyone's language; this one happens to be Polish.
237. El Apando (1976, Mexico)
Deserves cult status, even if you can't understand a word.
238. Dogboys (1998, USA)
Nasty prison boss uses prison dogs nastily in a sort of nasty B Grade thriller.
239. Stoic (2009, USA)
Harrowing account of the torture and killing of a prisoner in a four-out cell.
240. Girls in Prison (1994, USA)
Disappointing spoof of women-in-prison movies.
241. Convicted Woman (1940, USA)
Innocent-woman-in-prison meets reformist-lawyer-turned-prison-warden.
242. Boys' Reformatory (1939, USA)
Honest kid and a prison doctor fight for all that is good. The film itself is not so good.
243. Triple Trouble (1950, USA)
The Bowery Boys in their 19th in a series of 48. Formulaic? Never.
244. Life (1999, USA)
Two men spend 65 years in prison together for a crime they didn't commit. Ho ho ho!
245. Big Stan (2007, USA)
A one-joke comedy where the one joke doesn't cut it.
246. Buried Alive (1939, USA)
Massive melodrama: Four Suitors and an Execution.
247. Ladies of the Big House (1931, USA)
A love story involving an innocent newlywed couple who fight for their lives (one sort of literally) in prison.
248. State Penitentiary (1950, USA)
Part innocent-man-in-jail, part Nevada prison propaganda flick.
249. Dios te bendiga hijo mío Santa Martha Acatitla Penitenciaria (2007, Mexico)
Bleak essay on a prison in Mexico City, where evil is rife, hope is absent, and the Warden is highly amusing.
250. They Went That-A-Way & That-A-Way (1978, USA)
Two cops get stranded on an undercover assignment in a prison farm. And ought not be let out.
251. Unshackled (2000, USA)
Racist white man finds redemption and tolerance through sharing a cell with a black adversary.
252. The Second Hundred Years (1927, USA)
20 minutes of pretty standard Laurel & Hardy fare.
253. Carne de Presidio (1952, Mexico)
Upstanding man struggles in prison.
254. Down Time (2001, USA)
Realistic look at prison life that forgets that real doesn't always equal interesting.
255. La Furia / The Fury (1997, Argentina)
Judge's son lands in prison, and judge ensures his own imprisonment by helping him escape. I think.
256. In Hell (2003, USA)
An awful exercise in American chauvinism from a Chinese director and Belgian actor.
257. Mutiny in the Big House (1939, USA)
Unabashed tribute to all prison-reforming, riot-quelling prison chaplains.
258. Let's Go to Prison (2006, USA)
Lacklustre comedy about getting back at a judge by making his wrongly convicted son's time in jail more difficult.
259. Buy & Cell (1988, USA)
Mediocre flick in which an innocent broker turns his prison into a money-making corporation.
260. Back by Midnight (2002, USA)
Rodney Dangerfield as a private prison warden with a novel way of raising funds. Just not very funny.
261. Prison Nurse (1937, USA)
Prison nurse falls for prison doctor. Only problem: prison doctor is a prisoner.
262. The Hoose-Gow (1929, USA)
Laurel & Hardy start a rice fight. That's as good as it gets.
263. Condition Red (1995, USA / Finland)
Correctional Officer breaks free from tawdry existence by having an affair with a prisoner and helping her escape.
264. The Wrath of Cain (2010, USA)
Second-rate story of a dying father trying to find redemption for himself and his son.
265. Johnny Greyeyes (2000, Canada)
Second-rate pic of a Native Canadian prisoner in love with her cellmate and trying to keep her family together.
266. Broken Bars (1995, USA)
Undercover-cop-in-prison movie meets pony-tailed-action-man movie.
267. Prison Mutiny (1943, USA)
Absurd prison reform flick where an exonerated playboy convict becomes a riot-busting guard.
268. Atrapadas / Condemned to Hell (1984, Argentina)
Retro 1970s-style women's prison shocker; good guys, bad guys, and a chance to nastily avenge some nastiness.
269. Death Warrant (1990, USA)
Jean-Claude Van Damme plays an undercover cop in a maximum-security prison in a film with a maximum of ordinariness.
270. Green Street Hooligans 2 (2009, USA)
Pathetically-scripted drama about brawling rival British soccer hooligans in prison, filmed in a Californian dust-bowl.
271. Ladies They Talk About (1932, USA)
Tough Barbara Stanwyck plays a tough gangster moll being tough in one of the earliest Women-in-Prison movies.
272. Off the Wall (1983, USA)
Miserable comedy following two innocent men in prison and a mad Warden.
273. Doing Life (1986, Canada)
Low-budget, mediocre, vaguely true story about a cop killer who studies law in prison.
274. Behind Prison Gates (1939, USA)
Stunningly ludicrous undercover-cop-in-prison story.
275. Doing Hard Time (2004, USA)
Inane father-seeks-to-avenge-his-son's-death-in-prison movie.
276. The Man Who Turned to Stone (1957, USA)
The energy of women prisoners is used to prolong the life of 200+ year old prison officials. Enough said.
277. Against Their Will (1994, USA)
Lame, predictable prisoner-takes-on-the-system flick.
278. Locked Down (2010, USA)
Awful innocent-cop-in-prison-fight-movie that borrows heavily from other awful prison fight movies.
279. Ernest Goes to Jail (1990, USA)
Unfunny addition to the Ernest stable.
280. I'm Going to Get You... Elliott Boy (Canada, 1971)
B-grade film of a double-crossed university drop-out landing unhappily in a queer prison.
281. Girls in Chains (1943, USA)
Very ordinary Goodies v Baddies flick in which the hairdos steal the show.
282. 13 Dead Men (2003, USA)
Awful flick in which a corrupt warden tortures a Death Row inmate who has a secret stash of diamonds.
283. Evasive Action (1998, USA)
Very mediocre re-run of Con Air, this time on a train. Not sure why they didn't call it Con Rail.
284. Shapeshifter (2005, USA)
A Romanian prisoner turns into a flesh-eating beast. Pretty beastly.
285. Numbered Men (1930, USA)
Part love story, part revenge story, part honor system story. And pretty feeble at that.
286. Huo Shao Dao / Island of Fire (1990, Taiwan)
Woeful cop-in-prison, martial arts flick that borrows heavily from Cool Hand Luke.
287. There was a Crooked Man... (1970, USA)
Lame western; long on length, short on everything that would make it watchable, like wit.
288. Jacktown (1962, USA)
Lame 60s story of a would-be tough-guy's rocky path to redemption via the Warden and his daughter.
289. Unspeakable (2002, USA)
Speakably bad Silence of the Lambs-ish psychological thriller.
290. Bloodfist III: Forced to Fight (1991, USA)
Kickboxing flick that needs only a decent script and a good lead actor to be mediocre.
291. Big House Bunny (1950, USA)
Bugs Bunny. Yosemite Sam. Prison. 7 Minutes. Enough said.
292. Dead Men Walking (2005, USA)
Low-budget, high-entrails horror. Pretty horrible.
293. Club Fed (1990, USA)
Woeful comedy about a luxurious minimum security prison for the wealthy.
294. Le prigioniere dell'isola del diavolo / Women of Devil's Island (1962, Italy / France)
Bad. Not even devilishly so.
295. Stuck! (2009, USA)
Forgettable visual tribute to women-in-prison films of a forgotten era.
296. Live by the Fist (1992, Philippines / USA)
Woeful innocent-man-on-brutal-prison-island flick.
297. Con Games (2001, USA)
Banal prison thriller devoid of decent thrills and decent acting.
298. El Escape De Los Santos (2005, USA)
In this film, low-budget really does equal low-quality.
299. Der Heiße Tod / 99 Women (1969, UK / West Germany / Spain / Italy)
Terrible, terrible saga of ninety-nine women imprisoned in a corrupt island prison.
300. The Boys of Cellblock Q (1992, USA)
Awfully acted,awfully low-budget gay spoof of the prison movie genre.
» Other Movies
City Island (2009, USA)
Warm farce about a corrections officer's acting ambition and other family secrets.
Atmen / Breathing (2011, Austria)
Compelling film about a young prisoner, his mother, a morgue, and his path to redemption.
American Me (1992, USA)
Powerful story of an Hispanic crime boss and the damage gang culture wreaks on the potential of young Hispanic men.
Chicken Run (2000, UK)
Whimsical animated comedy about chickens trying to escape a harsh chicken farm. Too witty to be a prison comedy.
Take the Money and Run (1969, USA)
Hit-and-miss Woody Allen comedy classic, with his inept criminal hero in some irresistibly funny prison scenes.
Longford (2006, UK)
Devout, trusting Lord Longford risks his reputation in supporting Moors murderer Myra Hindley.
Monster's Ball (2001, USA)
White guard and black Death Row inmate's wife, both hurting, find solace in each other.
Estômago / Estômago: A Gastronomic Story (2007, Brazil / Italy)
Excellent film in which a young cook becomes a young crook.
American History X (1998, USA)
Nasty Neo-Nazi learns some powerful lessons in the nick.
Skřivánci na niti / Larks on a String (1969, Czechoslovakia)
Bittersweet tragi-comedy about the communist regime in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s.
Chopper (2000, Australia)
Journey around the life of Mark Brandon Read, in and out of prison. Some of it is even true.
Présumé Coupable / Guilty (2011, France)
Bleak tale of a man falsely accused of being in a paedophile ring.
Sullivan's Travels (1941, USA)
Hollywood director wanting to experience hardship, briefly experiences prison hardship.
On the Outs (2004, USA)
Misery porn. Three girls on the outs. And staying on the outs, it seems.
Gamle mænd i nye biler / Old Men in New Cars (2002, Denmark)
A black comedy in which a psychopath is sprung from prison to see his dying dad.
L'amore buio / Dark Love (2010, Italy)
A young rapist writes to his victim from juvenile prison.
Black Tuesday (1954, USA)
Terrific gangster film with two cashed-up escapees from Death Row, and plenty of Police.
We are the Bus People (1979, Egypt)
Two men, locked up for a fare transgression on a bus, get mistaken for dissidents trying to overthrow the government.
Crónica De Una Fuga / Chronicle of an Escape (2006, Argentina)
Gripping drama of an escape from a clandestine detention centre run by the military junta in Buenos Aires in 1977.
7 Ans / 7 Years (2006, France)
Bizarre love triangle involving a prisoner, his wife and a prison warder.
Never Too Late To Mend (1937, UK)
Melodrama in which a cruel justice of the peace justly winds up in his own prison.
The Defiant Ones (1958, USA)
Proud black man and racist white man escape, handcuffed together, and find some tolerance and respect.
The Hard Word (2002, Australia)
Enjoyable crime thriller with incidental prison bits.
The Next Three Days (2010, USA)
A prison escape - without the knowledge of the prison escapee.
Chaindance (1990, Canada)
Hardened cons are conscripted into a caring-for-the-disabled program.
Pour Elle / For Her (France, 2008)
Slow-burning thriller in which a schoolteacher devotes himself to springing his innocent wife from prison.
White Heat (1949, USA)
Oedipus, schmoedipus. Jimmy Cagney plays a gangster on the edge of madness who loves his mother just a little too much.
Przesłuchanie / Interrogation (1982, Poland)
A party girl is held as a political prisoner and tortured for not being a Party girl.
Laughing Gor - Qian Zui Fan / Turning Point 2 (2011, Hong Kong)
Complex plot involving an undercover cop in prison; certainly no laughing matter.
Nothing But the Truth (2008, USA)
Journalist spends 12 months (and more) in jail rather than reveal a confidential source or two.
Naked Gun 33⅓ - The Final Insult (1994, USA)
Lt Frank Drebin comes out of retirement to go undercover in a prison and save the free world.
Pierrepoint - the Last Hangman (2005, UK)
Gallows humour, minus the humour.
El chacal de Nahueltoro / The Jackal of Nahueltoro (1970, Chile)
Melancholic portait of a killer of a family of six, and his reformation before execution.
Por sus propios ojos / Proper Eyes (2007, Argentina)
Understated look at the experience of women visitors to men in jail.
Hard Choices (1985, USA)
Morally complex tale of a social worker who runs away with a teenager charged with murder.
Pressure Point (1962, USA)
African-American psychiatrist and his Nazi prisoner patient go toe-to-toe.
First Time Felon (1997, USA)
Two-dimensional story of a first-time offender being rehabilitated through a boot camp.
33 Postcards (2011, Australia / China)
Not-so-young Australian prisoner rescues young Chinese girl. And vice versa.
Kajínek (2010, Czech Republic)
Whodunnit which pronounces the man serving life for two murders 'not guilty'
The Cracksman (1963, UK)
Gentle comedy about a trusting safe-cracker who lands in jail. More safe than cracker.
The Killing Yard (2001, USA)
Courtroom drama focusing on the trial of one of the leaders of the Attica riot.
The Ceremony (1963, USA)
Escape from death row, with a twist.
Big House, U.S.A. (1955, USA)
Noirish tale of a kidnapper dragged into an escape to lead others to the ransom money.
Manners of Dying / L'Exécution (2004, Canada)
Eight opaque versions of the one execution.
The Fence (1994, USA)
Old- fashioned tragedy about an ex-con trying to survive on the outside.
The Mayor of Hell (1933, USA)
Entertaining but flawed musing on self-governing boys' reform schools.
Gideon's Trumpet (1980, USA)
The true story of the landmark case guaranteeing US defendants the right to counsel.
Lady Gangster (1942, USA)
Fast-paced wartime flick featuring an entertaining contest between an elegant heroine and some reviled stool-pigeons.
Кармен / Carmen (2003, Russia)
A prison guard falls obsessively for a prisoner, whom he lets escape and whose gang he then joins.
Bandits (1997, Germany)
Four women escapees achieve rock star fame but somehow elude recapture on the run.
My Cousin Vinny (1992, USA)
Two kids on murder raps are represented by a bumbling novice lawyer. No prizes for guessing the result.
Ek Hasina Thi / There was a Beautiful Girl (2004, India)
Good, decent, beautiful girl get set up by nasty crook... then seeks revenge. No longer good and decent.
Bound by Honour (1993, USA)
Long, long saga charting different directions taken by three Hispanic kids, with one proving himself in a prison gang.
Naruto Shippuden: Blood Prison (2011, Japan)
The 8th Naruto film with him in prison and exploring the nature of sacrifice.
Weary River (1929, USA)
Part silent film in which an ex-convict, tempted to return to the racket, is saved by a good woman and a good warden.
The Hurricane (1937, USA)
French rigidity versus Pacific island free-spiritedness, played out in a prison and a tsunami.
Wedlock (1991, USA)
Exploding collars and not much more.
I Want to Live! (1958, USA)
Good time girl meets Mr Sparky
El Agujero / The Hole (1997, Mexico)
Drunken old man winds up drunk and in jail on his return to his hometown.
The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936, USA)
Slightly tepid account of the redemption of Dr Samuel Mudd, via Fort Jefferson on Dry Tortugas.
Last Dance (1996, USA)
Formulaic Death Row saga featuring Sharon Stone and nothing much of interest to say.
Behind the Mask (1932, USA)
Undercover cop in 3 minutes and 42 seconds of prison.
Forever Strong (2008, USA)
Sullen athlete gets a character transplant from a legendary rugby coach. You may have seen it before.
Prison Break (1938, USA)
Tuna fisherman takes the rap for brother-in-law, then gets a series of bad raps.
Letters from a Killer (1998, USA)
Cheap thriller about an ex-Death Row inmate whose sharing of thrills between four women leads to more murders.
Breakout (1975, USA)
Unthrilling spring-an-innocent-man from awful Mexican prison thriller.
8E88 - Fan Lanla (2010, Thailand)
An innocent man in prison and his fiancée's ghost in a schoolyard comedy / thriller.
Todos a la Cárcel (1993, Spain)
A gala event held in a prison to celebrate former political prisoners serves as a backdrop for a patchy farce.
Fa Guan Ma Ma / A Young Prisoner's Revenge (2001, China)
Warning: he's hardly a prisoner (not in screentime, at least), and he doesn't get revenge. But he is young.
Madea Goes to Jail (2006, USA)
Tyler Perry's Madea peddles conservative Christian values - some from prison.
A Tanú / The Witness (1969, Hungary)
Gentle comedy poking not-so-gentle fun at the Hungarian communist regime.
The Rock (1996, USA)
Two unlikely bedfellows, thrust together in a crisis, get to save the day. Surprise!
Down by Law (1986, USA)
Tom Waits. And waits. Atmospherically.
Skidoo (1968, USA)
Colourful, groovy, psychedelic but flaccid comedy about a hit-man who can't hit no more.
Holiday (2006, South Korea)
Honourable thief fights for justice to the sound of the Bee Gees.
Animal (2005, USA)
Violent African American has a political and social awakening in prison.
The Pursuit of Happiness (1970, USA)
Dreary 70s anti-Establishment flick; a wealthy man struggles to stay anti-Establishment in prison.
Undisputed III: Redemption (2010, USA)
Fight film in which the bad guy in Undisputed II becomes the sentimental favourite in this one.
Escape from New York (1981, USA)
Second-rate futuristic prison story from which there is no escape.
Cell 2455, Death Row (1955, USA)
A film, based on Caryl Chessman's Death Row memoir, which stops mid-sentence.
Prison Train (1938, USA)
A potential hit on an Alcatraz-bound gangster barely enlivens a dull train ride.
An Innocent Man (1989, USA)
Innocent goody-two-shoes loses innocence and saves himself. Can't save movie, but.
Jailhouse Rock (1957, USA)
Ordinary Elvis film - is there any other type? - built around one very good song.
Before I Hang (1940, USA)
Boris Karloff plays Jekyll and Hyde on Death Row
Black Mama, White Mama (1973, USA / Philippines)
Weak female blaxploitation version of The Defiant Ones.
Tango & Cash (1988, USA)
Ludicrous action flick featuring two framed, maverick, odd-couple cops who bust out of jail to find out who set them up.
Three Smart Saps (1942, USA)
The Three Stooges in a 16 minute short, mostly set in a prison, and about everything but prison.
Proximity (2001, USA)
Ludicrous action flick about high level corruption and murderers being bumped off in prison.
Las Islas Marías (1951, Mexico)
A simple story about honour. And love. And finding both in a penal colony.
Untamed Youth (1957, USA)
Very 1950s, very silly, very Mamie Van Doren: a rock 'n' roll ranch alternative to prison.
The Sun Sets at Dawn (1950, USA)
An innocent man's race to become the first to try out a new electric chair.
Lady in the Death House (1944, USA)
Lightweight murder mystery where the boyfriend of the woman on Death Row is the executioner.
The Bridge of Sighs (1936, USA)
Nice woman goes to an extremely nice prison to get evidence to free her wrongly convicted brother on Death Row.
Experiment Alcatraz (1950, USA)
Medical researcher turns detective. Alcatraz merely provides the research subjects.
The Condemned (2007, USA)
Ten Death Row inmates are dropped on to an island to fight to the death. Luckily, one is a decent American.
Bloodsport II - The Next Kumite (1996, USA)
Vapid fight film.
Maximum Security (1997, USA)
A bomb of a movie about a bomb placed in a virtually empty prison.
9 Souls (2003, Japan)
Nine dangerous prisoners escape. We follow them, unfortunately.
Kala Pani (1958, India)
One man's earnest pursuit of his long lost, adulterous, alleged murderer father. With singing.
The Valachi Papers (1972, Italy / France)
Uncharismatic insider rats on the mob.
Penitentiary II (1982, USA)
Terrible, ludicrous film about an ex-con fighting for a world championship inside his old prison.
Living Dead Lock Up (2005, USA)
Woeful zombie flick.
Guru, the Mad Monk (1970, USA)
Horror flick set in the 15th Century that should never have seen the light of the 20th.
Hell Hole (1983, Indonesia / Philippines)
Young woman is tricked into sexual slavery, put in prison and degraded. Viewer is just degraded.
15 to Life (2002, USA)
Terrible documentary-type flick about the inevitability of African American imprisonment in New Orleans.