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Prison Movies


I'm looking for Prison movies that are like The shawshank Redemption and The Last Castle

Actually I'm looking for any movie that resembles The Shawshank Redemption. But anyways....let me know guys.
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The Green Mile with Tom Hanks and Michael Duncan Clark is about as close as you can get, taken from the same trilogy as Shawshank Redemption.
Also recommend The Animal Factory with William Dafoe and Edward Furlong. Based on the book by Edward Bunker(Resevoir Dogs Mr. Blue, the old guy with the moustache in the cafe scene near the start) it was a great book, and the film is arealistic big screen adaptation, plus if you fancy seeing Mikey Rouke in drag(hey, it'll float somebody's boat) then this is the film for you.
Classic prison film is Papillion with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
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I love cool hand Luke ... has anyone else seen Histoire de Pen AKA Inside AKA Banged up?


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Cool Hand Luke

Shawshank Redemption


Escape From Alcatraz

The Great Escape

dead man walking is another one you could try...susan sarandon and sean penn...

birdman of alcatraz
midnight express
kiss of the spider woman
stalag 17 (about a pow camp really)
the defiant ones

Green Mile with Tom Hanks...that movie is so special!!
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Here to support the villians.......
Try Murder in the first, starring Kevin Bacon, Christian Slater and Gary Oldman. It's very powerful with one of Bacon's best performances and Oldman is brilliant as the evil warden.
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For me Cool Hand Luke is definitely the prison movie and towers above them all.

Some of the other greats that haven't been mentioned yet or discussed in any depth...

  • I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932 - Mervy LeRoy)
    Just about all Hollywood prison tales can be traced right back to this one, with Paul Muni in the true story of James Allen, a wrongly-convicted man put through the torturous Hell of a Georgia chain gang, a punishment that far outweighed his supposed crime. This is the granddaddy of 'em all, and still an effective piece of cinema over seventy years later.
  • Each Dawn I Die (1939 - William Keighley)
    Jimmy Cagney's turn in White Heat is better known and more iconic, in this one he's not a cold-blooded gangster but a newspaper reporter wrongly-convicted of murder. Once inside he befreinds tough racketeer George Raft, who helps plot an escape to clear his name. Seems a bit cliche-ridden today, but all those plot points and attitudes had to start somewhere.
  • Brute Force (1947 - Jules Dassin)
    A gritty low-budget piece with Burt Lancaster in only his second role as a prisoner who leads a revolt against a sadistic guard, played to the hilt by Hume Cronyn. If you only know Hume from Cocoon, check out his work here. Adheres to genre material that was already cliche, but the hard-boiled tenor and well-drawn characters under Dassin's direction make it stand the test of time.
  • I Want to Live! (1958 - Robert Wise)
    A true story of a woman named Barbara Graham, played by Susan Hayward in her Oscar-winning role, sliding her way through life until she was linked to a murder she didn't have any part of, resulting in her conviction and death sentence. Hayward is excellent as she tries to battle the system and clear her name before her time runs out.
  • There Was A Crooked Man... (1970 - Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
    Not a "serious" picture but a damn fun one, with Kirk Douglas as a smug but charming bandit in a battle of wills with a warden played by Henry Fonda. This is probably the best of the Western-set prison flicks, and has great supporting roles for Warren Oates, Hume Cronyn and Burgess Meredith, but this is Douglas' movie. He needs to bust out of his desert territorial prison and claim the hidden loot from the job that got him imprisoned, but his plan may be too clever by half. The music is hopelessly dated, but the story and characters are timelessly engaging.
  • Escape from Alcatraz (1979 - Don Siegel)
    Great movie, based on the true events of a few inmates who made it out of the cellblock and may or may not have been able to cross the cold, unforgiving bay waters and make it to safety, the break that led to the island prison being closed for good shortly thereafter. Eastwood is at his cool, quiet best as Frank Morris, and Patrick McGoohan is chilling as the cruel warden of The Rock. This movie is miles better than Shawshank.
  • Down by Law (1986 - Jim Jarmush)
    This movie is more firmly of Jim Jarmusch than an attempt at any sort of reality, even a movie reality, but the never-ending Beckett-like tedium of being stuck in a small cell for a long period of time has never been captured better. The cellmates played by John Lurie and Tom Waits are burdened not only with each other and nothing to do all day, but their other roomie is someone who speaks barely a word of English, played by Roberto Benigni. The deadpan humor and slow pacing may be off-putting for those uninitiated to Jarmusch, but to those willing to give it a try you may be in for a happy surprise.
  • American Me (1992 - Edward James Olmos)
    Character actor turned director Olmos presents a brutal look at the life of a Chicano gangster, from the streets to the penetentary. The scenes in prison are frightening and show how it cycles back to continued violence for the inmates, even if they manage to get back to the outside world. Probably the most disturbing look at prison up to that time, with the sadism and ugliness presented as is.
  • In the Name of the Father (1993 - Jim Sheridan)
    Another heartbreaking true story, this time a tale of injustice in the English legal system. Another great piece of acting by Daniel Day-Lewis and strong work by Emma Thompson, but it is Pete Postlethwaite as the wrongly-imprisoned father who steals the show and breaks your heart.
  • Dead Man Walking (1995 - Tim Robbins)
    Without getting into a political discussion, I will say that Robbins' film is quite balanced representing both sides of the Capital Punishment issue well, and while it isn't likely to change any viewer's mind either way, it is a moving and well acted piece of yet another true story, though this one featuring a man who is anything but innocent.

Others not yet mentioned include Runaway Train, Before Night Falls, The Hurricane, Mrs. Soffel, Out of Sight and a key segment of GoodFellas. For purposes of this list I didn't count all the P.O.W. (prisoner of war) flicks either, although The Bridge on the River Kwai, Stalag 17 and The Great Escape are all fantastic films. And I didn't even get into the Sci-Fi takes on the genre, things like THX-1138, Escape from New York, The Running Man, Alien³ and No Escape, especially as they all pale in comparison to the classic small-screen "The Prisoner" (1967-1968).

Happy renting.
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Originally Posted by Holden Pike
For me Cool Hand Luke is definitely the prison movie and towers above them all.
This is the truest thing I've read tonight. And that car washing scene...phew

I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I really don't like prison movies...but I saw one once called 'Tomorrow La Scala' about some prisoners putting on a play or an opera or something.

Sleepers which is about a kids' prison, if you don't mind brutal and depressing.

The Green Mile, American Me, Blood In Blood Out

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The Rock is a decent action film with Cage and Connery about the Rock, not really all about the prison, but still has it.

The last Castle with Gandolfini and Redford is a good film about a general in prison.

Hart's War is about prison with Bruce Willis.

Chronicles of Riddick has a prison in it, futuristic, but not too much about it.

An Innocent Man is a good prison flick, probably most well known.

No Escape is about a futuristic prison, haven't seen it but i know it's there.

Escape from New York/LA - - Weird Prison flick.

Fortress is a very weird futuristic prison flick - whole movie is about the prison.

Just thought of this but Midnight Express is a really good movie about the turkish Prison system.

Goodfellas has one of the greatest prison scenes ever when they are cooking and Ray Liota goes outside to get the bread, classic.

Can't think of any more right now, but these will get you started.


I need some help looking for some drawing reference for a scene of a prisoner walking while shackled. Can you guys recall any films with scenes similar to this?

Sean Connery, The Rock

So far I've seen The Rock, Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption.

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The Lock Up (1989) starring Sylvester Stallone and Donald Sutherland is pretty good.

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Originally Posted by Thursday Next
Sleepers which is about a kids' prison, if you don't mind brutal and depressing.
I'm surprised you're the only one to mention Sleepers so far. One of the few prison movies I've seen. It always disturbs me watching it, which I rarely do anymore, even thoguh I own it.
Sorry if I mispell alot of words, I painted my keyboard black to match my computer and monitor and theres no letters on the keys anymore. I'm too lazy to spell check sometimes.