17 Best Prison (Prison Escape) Movies of All Time

17 Best Prison (Prison Escape) Movies of All Time

The following list showcases the 17 best prison escape movies of all time. These films feature thrilling and intense storylines, depicting the struggles and determination of prisoners as they attempt to break free from their captors. From classic films such as “The Great Escape” and “Papillon,” to more recent releases such as “Escape Plan” and “The Shawshank Redemption,” these movies are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. So let’s see the 17 best prison movies (prison escape movies of all time) you must watch.

1. Escape From Pretoria

Escape from Pretoria is an Australian prison film co-written and directed by Francis Annan, based on the real-life prison escape of three political prisoners in South Africa in 1979.

The film was released on 6 March 2020, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Daniel Webber. It is based on the 2003 book Inside Out: Escape from Pretoria Prison by Tim Jenkin, one of the escapees.

2. Get the Gringo

Get the Gringo (How I Spent My Summer Vacation) is an American action film directed by Adrian Grunberg, produced, co-written by, and starring Mel Gibson. The film is about a career criminal nabbed by Mexican authorities who is placed in a tough prison where he learns to survive with the help of a young boy.

It stars Mel Gibson, Kevin Balmore Hernandez, Dolores Heredia, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Jesús Ochoa, Roberto Sosa, and Tenoch Huerta, released on May 1, 2012.

3. Papillon

Papillon is a biographical drama movie directed by Michael Noer and screenplay by Aaron Guzikowski. The movie stars Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek in the lead role and it was released on August 24, 2018.

It tells the story of French convict Henri Charrière (Charlie Hunnam), nicknamed Papillon (“butterfly”), who was imprisoned in 1933 in the notorious Devil’s Island penal colony and escaped in 1941 with the help of another convict, counterfeiter Louis Dega (Rami Malek).

4. Felon

Felon is an American prison crime thriller movie written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh. The movie tells the story of a family man who ends up in state prison after he kills an intruder. The story is based on events that took place in the 1990s at the notorious California State Prison, Corcoran.

The film stars Stephen Dorff, Marisol Nichols, Val Kilmer, Anne Archer, and Harold Perrineau. It was released in the United States on July 18, 2008.

5. The Next Three Days

The Next Three Days is an American crime-action thriller movie written and directed by Paul Haggis and stars Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks in the lead role. It was released in the United States on November 19, 2010, and was filmed on location in Pittsburgh.

It is a remake of the 2008 French movie Pour elle (Anything for Her) by Fred Cavayé and Guillaume Lemans. The film is about a married couple’s life which is turned upside down when the wife is accused of murder.

6. Escape Plan

Escape Plan is a 2013 American prison action thriller film directed by Swedish filmmaker Mikael Håfström, stars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, and 50 Cent.

The film follows Stallone’s character Ray Breslin, a lawyer turned prison security tester who is incarcerated in the world’s most secret and secure prison and recruits fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer, portrayed by Schwarzenegger, to stage a breakout.

The film was released in the United States on October 18, 2013, received mixed reviews, and grossed $137 million worldwide against a $54 million budget.

7. Con Air

Con Air is an American action thriller film directed by Simon West and written by Scott Rosenberg. The film centers on a prison break aboard a Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System aircraft, nicknamed “con air.

The film stars Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, and Steve Buscemi. It was released theatrically on June 6, 1997, by Buena Vista Pictures through Touchstone Pictures and was a box office success, grossing over $224 million against a production budget of $75 million.

8. Unbroken

Unbroken is an American biographical war film produced and directed by Angelina Jolie and stars Jack O’Connell as American Olympian and Army officer Louis “Louie” Zamperini and Miyavi as Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) corporal Mutsuhiro Watanabe. It is based on the 2010 non-fiction book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.

The film Zamperini survived in a raft for 47 days after his bomber ditched in the ocean during the Second World War, before being captured by the Japanese and being sent to a series of prisoner-of-war camps. It was released in the United States on December 25, 2014.

9. The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is an American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the 1982 Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.

It tells the story of banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murders of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence. It was released in the United States on September 23, 1994.

10. Lockout

Lockout (also known as MS One: Maximum Security) is an English-language French science fiction action film directed by James Mather and Stephen Saint Leger, and stars Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, and Joe Gilgun.

The plot follows Snow (Pearce), a man framed for a crime he did not commit, who is offered his freedom in exchange for rescuing the President’s daughter Emilie (Grace) from the orbital prison MS One, which has been taken over by its inmates, led by Alex (Regan) and his psychotic brother Hydell (Gilgun). It was released on 13 April 2012 in North America and on 18 April 2012 in France.

11. The Escapist

The Escapist is a crime drama thriller film directed and co-written by Rupert Wyatt and stars Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Liam Cunningham, Seu Jorge, Dominic Cooper, Steven Mackintosh, Stephen Farrelly, and Damian Lewis.

The film runs two narratives simultaneously, the preparation of the escape and the escape itself. It was released in the United Kingdom on 20 June 2008.

12. Lock up

Lock Up is an American prison crime action film directed by John Flynn and stars Sylvester Stallone, Donald Sutherland, Tom Sizemore, and John Amos. It was released in the United States on August 4, 1989.

With only six months left of his sentence, inmate Frank Leone (Sylvester Stallone) is transferred from a minimum-security prison to a maximum-security prison by a vindictive warden.

13. The Way Back

The Way Back is an American adventure survival drama film directed by Peter Weir. The film is inspired by The Long Walk (1956), the memoir by a former Polish prisoner of war Sławomir Rawicz, who claimed to have escaped from a Soviet Gulag and walked 4,000 miles (6,400 km) to freedom in World War II.

The film stars Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, and Saoirse Ronan, with Alexandru Potocean, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Gustaf Skarsgård, Dragoș Bucur and Mark Strong. The film was released in the United States on December 29, 2010.

14. Rescue Dawn

Rescue Dawn is an American epic war biographical drama film written and directed by Werner Herzog, based on the true story of German-American pilot Dieter Dengler, who was shot down and captured by villagers sympathetic to the Pathet Lao during an American military campaign in the Vietnam War.

The movie stars Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies, Pat Healy, and Toby Huss. It was released in the United States on July 4, 2007.

15. The Counterfeiters

The Counterfeiters is an Austrian-German historical drama film written and directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky. It fictionalizes Operation Bernhard, a secret plan by Nazi Germany during World War II to destabilize the United Kingdom by flooding its economy with forged Bank of England pound notes. The film centers on a Jewish counterfeiter, Salomon ‘Sally’ Sorowitsch, who is coerced into assisting the operation at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

The movie stars Karl Markovics, August Diehl, and Devid Striesow. It was released on 22 March 2007 in Germany and on 23 March 2007 in Austria.

16. Escape From Alcatraz

Escape from Alcatraz is an American biographical thriller film directed by Don Siegel. Alcatraz is the most secure prison of its time. It is believed that no one can ever escape from it until three daring men make a possible successful attempt at escaping from one of the most infamous prisons in the world.

The film stars Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Fred Ward, Jack Thibeau, and Larry Hankin. It was released on June 22, 1979.

17. The Great Escape

The Great Escape is an American epic adventure suspense war film based on Paul Brickhill’s 1950 non-fiction book of the same name, a firsthand account of the mass escape by British Commonwealth prisoners of war from German POW camp Stalag Luft III in Sagan (now Żagań, Poland), in the Nazi Germany province of Lower Silesia. The film depicts a heavily fictionalized version of the escape, with numerous compromises for its commercial appeal, such as focusing more on American involvement in the escape.

The movie stars Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn, Hannes Messemer, and David McCallum. Panavision. It was released in the United State on July 4, 1963.

So, this is the list of 17 best and most popular prison movies (escape from prison movies) of all time. Also, if you’ve any other best Prison Escape movies please comment below and we’ll update as soon as possible.


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