Prison Escape Movies: The Ultimate List of the Best Ones

Prison escape movies are a genre of films that depict the attempts of prisoners to break out of their confinement. These movies often feature thrilling plots, suspenseful scenes, and ingenious methods of escape. Prison escape movies also explore themes such as freedom, justice, survival, and redemption.

In this article, we will present you with the ultimate list of the best escape-from-prison movies ever made. We will also explain why these movies are worth watching and what makes them stand out from the rest. Whether you are looking for a classic, a comedy, a drama, or a modern masterpiece, we have something for you on this list.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption is widely regarded as one of the best movies of all time and for good reason. Based on a novella by Stephen King, the movie tells the story of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a banker who is wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and her lover.

He is sentenced to life imprisonment at the Shawshank State Penitentiary, where he befriends Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), a fellow inmate and smuggler.

The movie follows Andy’s struggles and achievements in prison, as well as his plans to escape. The movie is a masterpiece of storytelling, with superb performances, memorable characters, and a powerful message of hope and resilience. The movie also features one of the most satisfying and iconic endings in cinema history.

The Great Escape (1963)

The Great Escape is a classic war movie based on a true story of a mass escape by Allied prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II. The movie stars Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, and many other famous actors as the prisoners who devise and execute an elaborate plan to tunnel their way out of the camp.

The movie is a thrilling and entertaining adventure, with spectacular action sequences, witty dialogue, and memorable scenes.

The movie also showcases the courage, ingenuity, and camaraderie of the prisoners, as well as the dangers and challenges they face along the way. The movie also features one of the most iconic scenes in cinema history: Steve McQueen’s motorcycle chase.

Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

Escape from Alcatraz is a biographical drama based on the true story of Frank Morris (Clint Eastwood), John Anglin (Fred Ward), and Clarence Anglin (Jack Thibeau), who escaped from Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in 1962. Alcatraz was considered to be the most secure prison in America at the time, located on an island in San Francisco Bay.

The movie depicts the meticulous planning and preparation of the escapees, as well as their execution of the escape. The movie also portrays the harsh conditions and brutal treatment of the prisoners by the guards and the warden (Patrick McGoohan). The movie is a gripping and realistic depiction of one of the most famous prison escapes in history.

Papillon (1973)

Papillon is an epic drama based on the autobiographical novel by Henri Charrière, who was nicknamed “Papillon” (French for “butterfly”) because of his tattoo. The movie stars Steve McQueen as Papillon and Dustin Hoffman as Louis Dega, two prisoners who are sent to the notorious penal colony of French Guiana in 1933.

The movie follows their friendship and their multiple attempts to escape from the hellish prison. The movie is a stunning and harrowing portrayal of the brutality and injustice of the prison system, as well as the resilience and determination of the human spirit. The movie also features some of the most impressive and daring escape scenes ever filmed.

Also Read: The Ultimate List of Natural Disaster Movies on Netflix in 2023

The Great Train Robbery (1978)

The Great Train Robbery is a historical crime thriller based on the novel by Michael Crichton, who also directed the movie. The movie stars Sean Connery as Edward Pierce, Donald Sutherland as Robert Agar, and Lesley-Anne Down as Miriam, who plan to rob a train carrying gold bullion from London to Folkestone in 1855.

The movie is a fascinating and fun depiction of Victorian England and its criminal underworld. The movie also showcases the cleverness and audacity of the robbers, who use various disguises, gadgets, and tricks to pull off their heists. The movie also features one of the most daring and spectacular escape scenes ever filmed: Sean Connery’s rooftop jump.

Escape Plan (2013)

Escape Plan is a modern action thriller that stars Sylvester Stallone as Ray Breslin, a former prosecutor, and expert in prison security, who is hired to test the security of a secret and high-tech prison called “The Tomb”. However, he soon realizes that he has been set up and trapped in the prison, where he meets Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), another inmate who agrees to help him escape.

The movie is a fast-paced and exciting ride, with plenty of twists and turns, as well as impressive action scenes. The movie also features the legendary team-up of Stallone and Schwarzenegger, who have great chemistry and humor. The movie also features a clever and ingenious escape plan that involves using the prison’s own technology against it.

The Rock (1996)

The Rock is a blockbuster action thriller that stars Sean Connery as John Patrick Mason, a former British SAS captain who was imprisoned in Alcatraz for 30 years without trial. He is recruited by FBI agent Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage), who needs his help to stop a rogue US Marine general (Ed Harris) who has taken over Alcatraz and threatened to launch missiles loaded with nerve gas at San Francisco.

The movie is a thrilling and explosive spectacle, with spectacular action sequences, witty dialogue, and memorable characters. The movie also features some of the most impressive and exhilarating escape scenes ever filmed, such as the car chase through San Francisco, the underwater infiltration of Alcatraz, and the final showdown on the island.

Chicken Run (2000)

Chicken Run is an animated comedy that parodies the prison escape genre. The movie follows a group of chickens who live on a farm run by the evil Mr. and Mrs. Tweedy, who plan to turn them into chicken pies. The chickens are led by Ginger (voiced by Julia Sawalha), who dreams of escaping to freedom. Their hopes are raised when they meet Rocky (voiced by Mel Gibson), a rooster who claims to be able to fly.

The movie is a hilarious and heartwarming adventure, with charming characters, witty dialogue, and clever references to other escape movies. The movie also features some of the most creative and amusing escape scenes ever filmed, such as the pie machine sabotage, the flying machine construction, and the final aerial chase.

Escape from New York (1981)

Escape from New York is a cult classic sci-fi action movie that stars Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, a former Special Forces soldier who is sent to rescue the President of the United States (Donald Pleasence) from Manhattan Island, which has been turned into a maximum-security prison in 1997. He has only 24 hours to complete his mission before a bomb implanted in his neck explodes.

The movie is a gritty and stylish depiction of a dystopian future, with a dark and atmospheric tone. The movie also features some of the most iconic and badass characters ever created, such as Snake Plissken himself, who is a cynical anti-hero with an eye patch and a snarky attitude.

The movie also features some of the most thrilling and inventive escape scenes ever filmed, such as the glider landing on the World Trade Center, the car chase across the 69th Street Bridge, and the final showdown at Liberty Island.

Midnight Express (1978)

Midnight Express is a biographical drama based on the true story of Billy Hayes (Brad Davis), an American student who was arrested in Turkey in 1970 for trying to smuggle hashish out of the country. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but his sentence was later extended to 30 years after he tried to appeal. He eventually escaped from prison in 1975.

The movie is a shocking and disturbing portrayal of the horrors and injustices of the Turkish prison system, as well as the psychological effects of imprisonment on Billy. The movie also features some of the most intense and dramatic escape scenes ever filmed, such as Billy’s fight with the sadistic guard Hamidou (Paul L. Smith), his escape from the insane asylum, and his final dash to freedom.


These are just some of the best escape-from-prison movies ever made. There are many more that we could have included on this list, such as A Man Escaped (1956), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Escape from Sobibor (1987), The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), The Escapist (2008), Escape from Pretoria (2020), and many others.

Prison escape movies are a fascinating and thrilling genre of films that appeal to our sense of adventure, curiosity, and justice. They also inspire us with their stories of courage, creativity, and perseverance. Whether you are looking for a classic or a modern movie, a comedy or a drama, you will find something to enjoy on this list.

We hope you enjoyed this article and found some new movies to watch. If you did, please share it with your friends and family who might also be interested in escaping from prison movies. Thank you for reading! 🙏

Olajide Towoju
Olajide Towoju

Towoju Olajide is a technology writer who covers topics ranging from consumer tech to the latest developments in artificial intelligence. Born and raised in Nigeria, Towoju developed an early fascination with technology that led him to pursue a degree in Computer Science. After completing his studies, he worked as a software developer for several years before transitioning into tech journalism.

Towoju's work has been featured in various publications, including TechCrunch, Wired, and The Verge. He is also a regular contributor to several technology blogs and podcasts, where he shares his insights on emerging trends and breakthroughs in the tech industry. In addition to his work as a writer, Towoju is an avid photographer and enjoys capturing the beauty of nature and wildlife in his spare time.

Over the years, Towoju has written several books on technology and its impact on society. His writing has been praised for its ability to break down complex concepts into simple, easy-to-understand language. Whether he's exploring the latest advancements in AI or discussing the future of smart cities, Towoju's goal is to make technology accessible to everyone.

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