Best prison escape movies ever made.
written by Sriram Sundar
Prison films are generally classified into two categories: the first type is the escape-drama where the jailbirds desperately attempts to break away from high security prisons, and the second category is more focused on the life inside the prison walls.
Now these Jailbreak movies are spiked with high dozes of suspense and tension; and most often you start sympathising with the convict and his desperate attempts for freedom – but then can he succeed in his attempt to break free or remain trapped in the system?
Well, let’s check out the fate of the prisoner in some of these Best prison escape movies ever made.
10. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hB3S9bIaco
Covering a period from 1946 to 1967, Shawshank focuses on the plight of a Maine banker, Andy Dufresne who sentenced to two life terms for the murder of his wife and lover.
Directed by Frank Darabont, this film was also nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Morgan Freeman as Ellis Redding, the veteran inmate of Shawshank State Prison who takes Tim Robbins (Andy Dufresne) under his wing. The greatest movie ever made..! Period.
9. Papillon (1973)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW_IWHw3z-U
Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, this movie is based on a book by the same name authored by Henri Charriere, a former convict and fugitive from Devil’s Island and though the work is fiction, the background is entirely based on real events.
Papillon (Steve McQueen) is charged with a crime he hasn’t committed, and Luis Dega (Dustin Hoffman), a fraud banker is convicted on counterfeit charges. Bound by mutual necessity, they soon become friends during their journey to Devil’s Island.
8. Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSS0fH9zzFY
Directed by Don Siegel, this film is a little slow and doesn’t move in a breakneck pace but still, it is listed as a “classic” on most movie review sites,
Clint Eastwood strolled through this movie naturally as Frank Morris, a soft spoken, solitary prisoner who was destined to escape Alcatraz. Been rated PG (“parental guidance suggested”) as it includes some explicit violence, bloodshed and obscene language.
7. Anything for Her (2008)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBZVsLoSsDU
Police burst into the house of happily married schoolteacher Julien (Vincent Lindon) and arrest his wife, Lisa (Diane Kruger) on suspicion of murdering her female boss. She’s given a 20-year sentence and he’s left to raise their small son. As time passes, diabetic Lisa stops taking her insulin in an attempted suicide and Lucien feels that time is running out to keep his family together. He goes about meticulously planning her escape – but how does one go about breaking someone out of prison?
Directed by Fred Cavayé, it is a fast-paced and engrossing thriller that gained a nomination for Best First Work at the César Awards in 2009.
6. The Great Escape (1963)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkwmIDx9RwQ
This movie tells the story of a group of prisoners of war who try to escape from a Nazi POW camp during World War II, with the help of a meticulous and ingenious plan. Steve McQueen epitomizes the attitude with his frequent shenanigans.
Directed by John Sturges, “The Great Escape” is regarded as one of the greatest WWII films ever. The movie starts with the signature theme tune that is heard around many football grounds even today.
5. The Hole (1960)
Le trou (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK7fZrSC6VA
Five prisoners housed in a French prison during the late 1940s awaiting sentence break through their cell floor, enter the insides of the prison, and get to the sewer system from where they can break into the regular sewage setup and finally freedom. But the best-laid plans are foiled by a newcomer who turns them in.
Sadly, this was Director Jacques Becker‘s last film – he died just a few weeks after filming on Le Trou had been completed.
4. Stalag 17 (1953)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T86RDFgzC5U
Directed by Billy Wilder, Stalag 17 begins with two prisoners from the barrack who, after careful planning with the rest of inmates try to escape the camp but are discovered & shot down. It is a light-hearted thriller drama that makes you laugh all along.
All eyes fall on Sgt. Sefton (William Holden) who frequently makes exchanges with German guards for small luxuries. To protect himself from a mob of his enraged fellow inmates, Sgt. Sefton resolves to find the true traitor within their midst.
3. La Grande Illusion (1937)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hctrYzVYmfM
Director Jean Renoir tells us the story of a group of French soldiers who are held captive in prisoner of war camps during the First World War, the war that was to end all wars.
Lieutenant Marechal (Jean Gabin) is a pilot and blue collar guy while Captain de Boldieu is an aristocrat. They are shot down by Captain von Rauffenstein, a German aristocrat, while flying a reconnaissance mission. This movie received an Oscar nomination for best motion picture of the year.
2. Midnight Express (1978)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buDEEC7tKv4
‘Midnight Express’ takes you into a world where the only thing that can keep you alive in this horrible real world is bravery. This film also won two Oscars; ‘Best Music, Original Score’ and ‘Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.
Directed by Alan Parker, it is the true story of Billy Hayes (Brad Davis), an American tourist who gets caught trying to smuggle several kilos of hashish out of the country.
1. A Man Escaped (1956)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6nHFpKK6Lc
“When one is in prison, the most important thing is the door.”
– Robert Bresson
Based on the memoirs of André Devigny, who escaped from Fort Montlucin Lyonin 1943, during World War II, ‘A Man Escaped’ tells the story of Fontaine (François Leterrier), a member of the French Resistance who is imprisoned by the Nazis in Montluc prison after an unsuccessful escape attempt.
Director Robert Bresson‘s masterpiece is still a pinnacle in French cinema.
and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch.
+1. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QvF2FZZftY
For director Mervyn LeRoy, with a career that spanned more than three decades, ‘I am a Fugitive from a Chain’ Gang represented one of his first major successes.
James Allen (Paul Muni) is wrongfully convicted of a crime and is sent to work in a chain gang where he first encounters this living hell. He spends years of being treated like an animal by the inhumane prison system. But he waits, biding his time for the perfect moment to make a break for freedom.