A good prison escape film is not just a film that depicts a jail break or escaped inmates. The film should centrally emphasise the escape, both tonally and practically, while also considering the circumstances that necessitate the escape. If you enjoy prison escape films, you might also enjoy similar themed online casino slot games. Try Prison Escape, which you can play here.
One of the common features of these films is the emphasis on oppression and abjection that’s fostered by the prison. Another aspect is the dysfunctional legal system that relies on incarceration facilities. Specifically, in most prison escape films, the convicts are seeking to release themselves in order to have another opportunity at freedom, but some films have a different take on the subject.
The Shawshank Redemption
One of the highest-rated films on IMDb also happens to be about incarceration. The Shawshank Redemption film tells the story of one prisoner’s escape attempt and relationship with another convict. Using narration and temporal manipulation, this film portrays one of the most emotive and famous stories of a prison break ever told. A true masterpiece, but one that was overlooked by the Academy Awards. It notably lost the Best Picture nomination to Forrest Gump. Nevertheless, its legacy lives on.
This film is based on Henri Charrière’s memoir of the same name. It describes his stay at the French Guyana penal camp on Devil’s Island. Steve McQueen plays Charrière (nicknamed “Papillon” due to his butterfly tattoo). He’s a man wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to harsh labour for the rest of his life. Dustin Hoffman stars as Louis Dega, a convicted embezzler who becomes Papillon’s most trusted buddy and aids him in his escape plan. This film is tough (if you’re not a big fan of bugs, prepare to close your eyes), but it’s also quite beautifully filmed.
Sylvester Stallone plays a “structural-security tester” who becomes the victim of a conspiracy and is falsely imprisoned in the world’s most secure prison. Of course, he’ll have to use his skills to get away. Arnold Schwarzenegger also appears in this film, portraying another convict, and they decide to collaborate. Sly’s obvious joy at the prospect of working with his buddies is one of the nicest aspects of this film. Nevertheless, the film delivers the expected plot twists and turns with a suitable dose of entertaining action.
Whether you want action-packed prison escape movies or subtler studies of the motivations behind the yearning for freedom, there are many other prison escape films and TV shows to choose from. Here are a few that we would highly recommend.
For action and adventure, second World War epics, The Great Escape and A Colditz Story along with the TV show Colditz all document the ingenuity of prisoners of war attempting to escape. For a more light-hearted take, we’d recommend James Robertson Justice’s VIP. More modern tales include the TV shows The Fugitive, Prison Break and Escape at Dannemora.