10 Best Prison Break Movies and Scenes

Movie PrisonsLists by Joey Paur

Who doesn't love a good prison break? I was thinking about it recently and realized some of my favorite movies involve prison breaks. This year alone there were two movies that I saw that featured brilliant prison break scenes. If I ever get thrown into jail, the first thing I'm going to do is start plotting my escape! I'll want a good story to tell people. 

I came up with a list of ten movies that included kick-ass prison break scenes. No matter what kind of prision a person is in, I imagine it's hell. Sure, some are worse than others, but I imagine anyone that ever been thrown in one can't wait to get out. There is a point for many of these characters where they ain't got nothin' to loose, so escaping become their only option. If I ever do have to break out of a prison these movies will be my guide in coming up with a plan. 


The Shawshank Redemption - 1994

Of course this movie is going to be on the list! It's not only one of the greatest movies ever, it's also one of the best executed and most surprising prison breaks ever put on film. I remember how gleefully shocked I was when the ending came the first time I saw this movie. It made the whole message of hope so much more meaningful. It was just so powerful. 


Escape from Alcatraz - 1979

This Clint Eastwood movie is a favorite of mine. I've always been fascinated by Alcatraz and the story of how Frank Morris escaped. Most of the movie is spent planning and preparing for the escape and watching them actually perform the prison break is so cool. It took some balls for these guys to try to escape, so I'd like to think that they actually made it.


The Great Escape - 1963

This fantastic Steve McQueen film told the story to a group of World War II POWs tunneling out of a prison camp. This was a thrilling action-packed adventure movie that is worth watching if you haven't seen it yet. 


Cool Hand Luke - 1967

"What we’ve got here is failure to communicate…" Like the title suggests, this is a really cool movie. It stars Paul Newman as a decorated war veteran doing time in a chain-gang prison. He puts up with a lot of shit their with its sadistic officers, and because he escapes multiple times he is idolised by the other prisoners. 


Escape from New York - 1981

Snake Plissken is one of the most badass antiheroes in the movies. The character is sent into to New York's Manahatten Island, which was turned into a maximum security prison that holds the worst of the worst, to break out the President of the United States, who was captured by the prisoners. He has 24 hours to complete the task, and it's an entertaining adventure!


Watchmen - 2009

"None of you seem to understand… I'm not locked in here with you, you're locked in here with me!" One of my favorite parts of this movie is when Rorschach is put in prison. I came to fear and respect that character even more during his time there. Nite Owl and Silk Spectre II go in to get him out, and it turned out to be one hell of a cool prison break. 


Papillon - 1973

This was a really different and trippy kind of movie. It stars Steve McQueen as a criminal who is exiled to the infamous prison colony on Devil's Island in French Guiana. This film chronicles all of the escape attempts of the main character over his 14-year sentence. The transformation McQueen's character makes throughout the movie is haunting.


Midnight Express - 1978

This movie scarred me. It was an ultra-violent movie that told the true story of how US citizen Billy Hayes was thrown into a Turkish prison after being caught smuggling drugs out of Istanbul. His stay in this prison makes all of these other movies look like a kids playground. The scene in which he escapes with pure luck is so freakin' intense. The movie will make you never want to smuggle drugs out of a foreign country.


X-Men: Days of Future Past -2014

I know almost all of you will agree that the best scene of this movie is when Quicksilver broke Magneto out of prison. It was simply stunning in every way. I was so disappointed that Quicksilver wasn't in the movie more after that. The movie was great, but let's be honest… it was all downhill after that prison escape.


The Grand Budapest Hotel - 2014

The prison escape scene in this Wes Anderson film is hands down the most entertaining one that I've ever seen. It was just so amazingly fun and well thought out. This isn't just one of my favorite movie prison escapes all time, it also might just be one of my all time favorite movie scenes ever. 

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