Prison Dramas I've Reviewedby classicsoncall | created - 01 Aug 2012 | updated - 9 months ago | Public
I thought this would be an interesting category. Here's a list of prison movies I've watched and reviewed on the IMDb. It's presented in IMDb ranking order.
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1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
R | 142 min | Drama
Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.
Votes: 2,212,241 | Gross: $28.34M
"I'm a convicted murderer who provides sound financial planning."
2. The Green Mile (1999)
R | 189 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy
The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.
Votes: 1,079,601 | Gross: $136.80M
"I couldn't help it boss, I tried to take it back but it was too late."
3. The Great Escape (1963)
Not Rated | 172 min | Adventure, Drama, History
Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.
Votes: 214,042 | Gross: $12.10M
"Give up your hopeless attempt to escape."
4. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
GP | 127 min | Crime, Drama
A laid back Southern man is sentenced to two years in a rural prison, but refuses to conform.
Votes: 154,844 | Gross: $16.22M
"Yeah, well, sometimes nothing means a real cool hand."
5. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
Passed | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him.
"I'll be a model prisoner if it kills me."
6. Papillon (1973)
R | 151 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
A man befriends a fellow criminal as the two of them begin serving their sentence on a dreadful prison island, which inspires the man to plot his escape.
Votes: 116,925 | Gross: $53.27M
"Forget France, and put your clothes on."
7. Down by Law (1986)
R | 107 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Two innocent people are arrested. An interesting third person, with broken English, joins them in their cell. On his idea, they decide to escape from the prison. Their journey is the rest of the movie.
Votes: 45,578 | Gross: $1.44M
"Yeah, it's a sad and beautiful world, pal."
8. Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)
Not Rated | 147 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
A surly convicted murderer held in permanent isolation redeems himself when he becomes a renowned bird expert.
"I guess you're a lifer pal, just like me."
9. Caged (1950)
Not Rated | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A naive nineteen year old widow becomes coarsened and cynical when she is sent to a woman's prison and is exposed to hardened criminals and sadistic guards.
"Pile out you tramps! It's the end of the line!"
10. The Defiant Ones (1958)
Approved | 96 min | Crime, Drama
Two escaped convicts chained together, white and black, must learn to get along in order to elude capture.
"Looks like you two boys are in for trouble."
11. Brute Force (1947)
Passed | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard.
"What's OK? Nothing's OK. It never was and it never will be."
12. Midnight Express (1978)
R | 121 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
Billy Hayes, an American college student, is caught smuggling drugs out of Turkey and thrown into prison.
Votes: 69,376 | Gross: $35.00M
"The bad machine doesn't know he's a bad machine."
13. Escape from Sobibor (1987 TV Movie)
Not Rated | 143 min | Drama, History, War
German death camp in Sobibor, Poland, killed two hundred fifty thousand Jews. It had the most successful prisoner escape in World War II on October 14, 1943.
But what is there to do but survive?
14. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
R | 91 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
An unlikely partnership between a Highway Patrol Officer, two criminals and a station secretary is formed to defend a defunct Los Angeles precinct office against a siege by a bloodthirsty street gang.
Anybody got a smoke?
15. Runaway Train (1985)
R | 111 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Two escaped convicts and a female railway worker find themselves trapped on a train with no brakes and nobody driving.
Votes: 25,361 | Gross: $7.94M
"Boy, this is gonna be somethin'...
16. Each Dawn I Die (1939)
Approved | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A corrupt D.A. with political ambitions is angered by news stories implicating him in criminal activity and decides to frame the reporter who wrote them for manslaughter in order to silence him.
Learnin' kind of fast, ain't ya mug?
The X-Files (1993–2018)
TV-14 | 45 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
Enemies of a prison inmate who was executed in the electric chair begin dying one by one.
"How does it feel to be on death row, Warden?"
18. Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)
Not Rated | 132 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A former boxer-turned-drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.
"You just lost your minimum freedom."
19. Brubaker (1980)
R | 131 min | Crime, Drama
The new warden of a small prison farm in Arkansas tries to clean it up of corruption after initially posing as an inmate.
Votes: 15,140 | Gross: $37.12M
"You want more from me you'll have to earn it."
20. The Longest Yard (1974)
R | 121 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
A sadistic warden asks a former pro quarterback, now serving time in his prison, to put together a team of inmates to take on (and get pummeled by) the guards.
Young people can learn a great deal from a skillfully played football game.
21. The Mayor of Hell (1933)
Passed | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
Five members of a teen-age gang, including leader Jimmy Smith, are sent to the state reformatory, presided over by the melodramatically callous Thompson. Soon, Patsy Gargan, a former ... See full summary »
Excuse me boss, I ain't no lawyer, I can't talk without thinking.
22. Get the Gringo (2012)
R | 96 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A career criminal nabbed by Mexican authorities is placed in a tough prison where he learns to survive with the help of a young boy.
You know, you gotta love murderers who recycle.
23. Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954)
Not Rated | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Fed up with the inhumane prison living conditions, a general prison riot breaks out, leading to hostage-taking, a stand-off with the guards and eventual negotiations with the prison administration officials.
Let me at the screws!
24. Crime School (1938)
Not Rated | 85 min | Crime, Drama
A gang of underprivileged teenagers are sentenced to serve two years in a reform school after almost killing a criminal fence who attacked them.
It don't take no brain to get burned.
25. Invisible Stripes (1939)
Approved | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
An ex-con who wants to go straight has difficulties trying to reintegrate into society while on parole.
Votes: 1,293 | Gross: $0.11M
You think changin' your uniform means anything, you'll still be wearin' stripes. You may not be able to see 'em, but they'll be there alright.
Night Gallery (1969–1973)
TV-PG | Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Charlie Finnegan is serving a life sentence in a federal penitentiary and longs to escape. Fellow prisoner Pete Tuttle tries to help him, with the aid of his talent for hypnosis.
I dream about being out there.
27. Prison Break (1938)
Approved | 72 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
Joaquin Shannon arrives home from a cruise on his fishing boat. His first mate, Charles Nelson, is to marry Shannon's sister the next day. Nelson gets drunk and Shannon finds him near the ... See full summary »
You may be a big shot to some o' these guys, but to me you're just a cheap crook.
28. San Quentin (1937)
Approved | 70 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
An army trainer becomes captain of the prison yard and in time, falls for the sister of a hardened inmate.
Well Jamieson, there's your new Army.
29. Women's Prison (1955)
Approved | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Life at a 1950s women's maximum security prison where the warden and the guards are as brutal as the inmates.
Make trouble, you get trouble...
30. Cell 2455, Death Row (1955)
Approved | 77 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
Whit, condemned and awaiting execution, reviews the events of his life that has brought him to Cell 2455 on San Quentin's Death Row, a story he had told in a autobiography that became a ... See full summary »
Warden, why do they have to kill me?
31. The Longest Yard (2005)
PG-13 | 113 min | Comedy, Crime, Sport
Prison inmates form a football team to challenge the prison guards.
Votes: 156,310 | Gross: $158.12M
It's an honor to be locked up here, Sir.
32. Parole Girl (1933)
67 min | Crime, Drama
A young woman released on parole vows to ruin the life of the man who insisted on sending her to jail.
You're working a clever racket girly, but you got caught.
33. Up the River (1930)
Passed | 92 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
When paroled trustee Steve and former inmate Judy who try to put their criminal lives behind them are blackmailed, two career criminals come to their rescue.
Remember who you're playin' with, a bunch o' crooks.
34. Riot (1969)
R | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A riot in a state prison is staged to cover up an escape attempt, during which many inmates and guards are killed. Shot on location at Arizona State Prison.
We're going to elevate the mood of the entire population...
35. Penitentiary (1979)
R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Sport
A hitchhiker named Martel Gordone gets in a fight with two bikers over a prostitute, and one of the bikers is killed. Gordone is arrested and sent to prison, where he joins the prison's ... See full summary »
If you don't handle the fools, they handle you.
36. The Steel Jungle (1956)
Approved | 86 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A power struggle emerges among convicts condemned to prison life.
That killer is as cute as a bug in a rug.
37. 20,000 Cheers for the Chain Gang (1933)
TV-PG | 20 min | Short, Musical, Comedy
Four convicts escape from a chain gang. Shortly thereafter, changes are made at the prison, because a blue ribbon commission will be investigating conditions there. The changes include ... See full summary »
Hey fellas, lets' escape!