20+ Interesting Movies Featuring Prisoners and their life in Prison

No matter how much you hate them, despise them or outcast them, prisoners or criminals are a part of our human society. Yes, they must have done horrendous crimes for which they are punished to serve their sentences in the prison world.

Although most of these criminal serving their life in prison totally deserve it, there may be some who are wrongly convicted of the crimes they didn’t commit. We see a lot of people walking freely in our society whom we consider as deserving as those criminals to be sent to prison for the crimes they committed but didn’t get convicted due to lack of evidence or loopholes in our law system. These people range from a variety of backgrounds such as politics, entertainment, sports etc.

However, the article is not about those who aren’t convicted nor it is about who got convicted. Today, the article is about the movies that feature the life in prison and the prisoners. While most of these movies are fictional, some are based on true stories.

Movies on Prisoners and their life in Jail

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption film on prison escape

An innocent man, Andy Dufresne(Tim Robbins) is wrongly convicted of his wife’s murder and spends the next two decades in prison. The story of The Shawshank Redemption revolves around this man and the way he survives among the hardcore criminals and corrupt wardens. It also displays the strong bonding between Tim and his fellow inmate Red, a contraband smuggler. Shawshank Redemption is one of the best Movies about the Life in Prison.

Also Read: Best Motivational and Inspirational Movies Ever

Cool Hand Luke

prison life films cool hand luke

Cool Hand Luke is a film about a prisoner in the Florida prison camp who refuses to give into the system. The prisoner is portrayed by Paul Newman, who establishes himself as an anti-hero and plays a reckless, egoistic hothead, who is adamant against the prison rules and refuses to bow to the authority.

The Great Escape

The Great Escape

Starring Steve Mcqueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough, The Great Escape is a film based on the true events concerning the escape of British Commonwealth prisoners of war from the German POW camp during World Ware II. Directed by John Sturges, the film is adapted from Paul Brickhill’s 1950 novel of the same name.

Birdman of Alcatraz

life inside the prison

Birdman of Alcatraz is a fictionalized film based on the life of Robert Stroud, a federal prison inmate, popularly nicknamed as the Birdman of Alcatraz, because of his fascination for birds. Although the title of the film states Alcatraz, the majority of the film is set in another prison called Leavenworth, where Stroud befriended his bird pets. However, when moved to Alcatraz, he wasn’t allowed to take the birds with him.

A Prophet

A Prophet movie on prison escape and life of prison

A Prophet is a French prison crime-drama film starring Tahar Rahim and is directed by Jacques Audiard. The film is about the life in prison and how a petty criminal Malik El Djebena, portrayed by Tahar Rahim, climbs up the ladder of the prison hierarchy and becomes a notorious drug trafficker and gets a nickname Prophet.

The Rock

The Rock 1996 film

Starring Sean Connery, Nicholas Cage, and Ed Harris, The Rock is a not about prison life but is set majorly on Alcatraz Island, a tourist spot that used to be a strongly held prison for notorious criminals. When a group of rogue Marines takes thirty tourists as hostages, the FBI decides to rope in a federal prisoner John Mason, played by Connery, who is the only person to have escaped the highly secured Alcatraz prison and knows the in and out of the prison through uncharted underground tunnels.


life in the jail

Based on the 1981 Irish hunger strike, the Steve McQueen’s historical drama film, Hunger stars Michael Fassbender in one of his best character portrayals till date. The film is centered upon Bobby Sands, portrayed by Fassbender, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) volunteer, who starts a hunger strike in Maze prison in the 80s.

The Green Mile

The Green Mile prison life

The Green Mile is a 1999 American prison drama film starring Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb and Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey. Adapted from Stephen King’s novel of the same name, the film tells the story of Paul’s work as a death row corrections officer during the Great Depression in the United States and his special encounters with supernatural events.

Midnight Express

midnight express is one of the best films on prison breaks

Midnight Express is a British-American prison escape film based on the life of Billy Hayes and is adapted from his non-fiction book of the same title. The film is about the life of Billy Hayes in prison after he is caught trying to smuggle hashish out of Turkey. The film was highly criticized and both by Hayes and the screenplay writer Oliver Stone expressed their regret over the portrayal of Turks in the film.


life in prison

Papillon is a 1973 prison drama film adapted from the best-selling autobiography by the French convict Henri Charriere, mostly talking about his life in prison and the attempts to escape. The film also reflects upon Henrie’s true loyalty towards his friends in prison, his bonding with his close friend Louis Dega and most importantly his will to never give up.

Rajeesh Nair is a true Gizmofreak and an addictive movie buff. He blogs at LifeBlender.com – a lifestyle Blogzine which focuses on general life related topics of the 21st Century.


  1. SecurTel

    I am interested in watching and reading about prison life. Thanks for posting this. I am going to check it this weekend. Great post!