Film Class: Prison Film

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  1. Blood In, Blood Out

    Blood In, Blood Out (1993)


    Blood In Blood Out (also known as Bound by Honor) is a 1993 American crime-drama film directed by Taylor Hackford. It follows the intertwining lives of the three Chicano relatives from 1972 to 1984. They start out as members of a street gang in East Los Angeles, and as dramatic incidents occur, their lives and friendships are forever changed. Blood In Blood Out was filmed in 1991 throughout the Spanish-speaking areas of Los Angeles and inside California's San Quentin State Prison.

  2. The Green Mile

    The Green Mile (1999)


    The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy crime drama film directed by Frank Darabont and adapted from the 1996 Stephen King novel of the same name. The film is told in a flashback format and stars Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb and Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey with supporting roles by David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, and James Cromwell. The film also features Dabbs Greer, in his final film, as the old Paul Edgecomb. The film tells the story of Paul's life as a death row corrections officer during the Great Depression in the United States, and the supernatural events he witnessed.

  3. Life

    Life (1999)


    Life is a 1999 American comedy-drama film written by Robert Ramsey & Matthew Stone and directed by Ted Demme. The film stars Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. The supporting cast includes Obba Babatundé, Bernie Mac, Anthony Anderson, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Bokeem Woodbine, Guy Torry and Barry Shabaka Henley. The film's format is a story being told by an elderly inmate about two of his friends, who are both wrongly convicted of murder and given a life sentence in prison. The film was the last R rated role to date for Eddie Murphy who has stuck mainly to family friendly films for the past 16 years of his career.

  4. The Shawshank Redemption

    The Shawshank Redemption (1994)


    The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the film tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a banker who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Prison for the murder of his wife and her lover despite his claims of innocence. During his time at the prison, he befriends a fellow inmate, Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding, and finds himself protected by the guards after the warden begins using him in his money laundering operation.

  5. Cool Hand Luke

    Cool Hand Luke (1967)


    Cool Hand Luke is a 1967 American prison drama film directed by Stuart Rosenberg, starring Paul Newman and featuring George Kennedy in an Oscar-winning performance. Newman stars in the title role as Luke, a prisoner in a Florida prison camp who refuses to submit to the system.

  6. Jailhouse Rock

    Jailhouse Rock (1957)


    Jailhouse Rock is a 1957 American musical drama film directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Elvis Presley, Judy Tyler, and Mickey Shaughnessy. Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and dramatized by Guy Trosper from a story written by Nedrick Young, the film is about a young man sentenced to prison for manslaughter who is mentored in music by his prison cellmate who realizes his musical abilities. After his release from jail, while looking for a job as a club singer, the young man meets a musical promoter who helps him launch his career. As he develops his musical abilities and becomes a star, his self-centered personality begins to affect his relationships.

  7. I Love You Phillip Morris

    I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)


    I Love You Phillip Morris is a 2009 comedy-drama film based on the 1980s and '90s real-life story of con artist, impostor, and multiple prison escapee Steven Jay Russell, as played by Jim Carrey. While incarcerated, Russell falls in love with his fellow inmate, Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). After Morris is released from prison, Russell escapes from prison four times in order to be reunited with Morris. The film was adapted from I Love You Phillip Morris: A True Story of Life, Love, and Prison Breaks by Steve McVicker. The film is the directorial debut of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. It grossed a little over $20 million worldwide after its limited theatrical release.

  8. Chicago

    Chicago (2002)


    Chicago is a 2002 American musical comedy crime film film based upon the musical of the same name, exploring the themes of celebrity, scandal, and corruption in Jazz Age Chicago. The film stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger and Richard Gere, and also features John C. Reilly, Queen Latifah, Christine Baranski, Taye Diggs, Lucy Liu, Colm Feore, and Mýa Harrison.

  9. The New Guy

    The New Guy (2002)


    The New Guy is a 2002 American teen comedy film directed by Ed Decter. The film tells the story of high school loser Dizzy Gillespie Harrison. Dizzy is an unpopular, high school band geek going through a hellish senior year.

  10. Out of Sight

    Out of Sight (1998)


    Out of Sight is a 1998 American crime comedy film based on the novel of the same name by Elmore Leonard and directed by Steven Soderbergh. The first of several collaborations between Soderbergh and star George Clooney, it was released on June 26, 1998.

  11. The Last Castle

    The Last Castle (2001)


    The Last Castle is a 2001 American action drama film directed by Rod Lurie, starring Robert Redford, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo and Delroy Lindo.

  12. Mean Machine

    Mean Machine (2001)


    Mean Machine is a 2001 British comedy-drama film directed by Barry Skolnick. It stars former footballer Vinnie Jones. The film is an adaptation of the 1974 American film The Longest Yard, featuring association football rather than American football. It also reunites most of the cast who have starred in the Guy Ritchie blockbusters Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch.

  13. Chained Heat

    Chained Heat (1983)


    Chained Heat (alternate title: Das Frauenlager in West Germany) is a 1983 exploitation film in the women-in-prison genre. It was co-written and directed by Paul Nicholas for Jensen Farley Pictures.

  14. Brokedown Palace

    Brokedown Palace (1999)


    Brokedown Palace is a 1999 American drama film directed by Jonathan Kaplan, and starring Claire Danes, Kate Beckinsale, Bill Pullman and Lim Kay Tong. It deals with two American friends imprisoned in Thailand for drug smuggling. Because it presents a critical view of the Thai legal system, most scenes were filmed in the Philippines; however, some panoramas and views were filmed in Bangkok. Its title is taken from a Grateful Dead song written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter from their 1970 album American Beauty.

  15. Bad Boys

    Bad Boys (1983)


    Bad Boys is a 1983 American crime drama film primarily set in a juvenile detention center, starring Sean Penn, Esai Morales, Clancy Brown and Ally Sheedy in her film debut. The film is directed by Rick Rosenthal. The original music score was composed by Bill Conti.

  16. Autumn Born

    Autumn Born (1979)


  17. Bronson

    Bronson (2008)


    Bronson is a 2008 British fictionalised biographical dark comedy-psychological drama film co-written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Tom Hardy. The film follows the life of notorious prisoner Michael Gordon Peterson, who was renamed Charles Bronson by his fight promoter. Born into a respectable middle-class family, Peterson would nevertheless become one of the United Kingdom's most dangerous criminals, and is known for having spent almost his entire adult life in solitary confinement. Bronson is narrated with humour, blurring the line between comedy and horror.

  18. Undisputed

    Undisputed (2002)


    Undisputed is a 2002 American sports film written, produced and directed by Walter Hill. The film stars Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames. The film was released in the United States on August 23, 2002.

  19. Felon

    Felon (2008)


    Felon is a 2008 American prison film written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh. The film stars Stephen Dorff, Val Kilmer and Harold Perrineau. The film tells the story of the family man who ends up in state prison after he kills an intruder. The story is based on events that took place in the 1990s at the notorious California State Prison, Corcoran. The film was released in the United States on July 18, 2008.

  20. Brubaker

    Brubaker (1980)


    Brubaker is a 1980 American prison drama film starring Robert Redford, Yaphet Kotto and David Keith. The film, which was directed by Stuart Rosenberg, is a fictionalized account of a 1967 prison scandal in Arkansas. It charts the attempts of a reforming warden to clean up a corrupt and violent penal system.

  21. Midnight Express

    Midnight Express (1978)


    Midnight Express is a 1978 American-British prison drama film directed by Alan Parker, produced by David Puttnam and starring Brad Davis, Irene Miracle, Bo Hopkins, Paolo Bonacelli, Paul L. Smith, Randy Quaid, Norbert Weisser, Peter Jeffrey and John Hurt. It is based on Billy Hayes' 1977 book Midnight Express and was adapted into the screenplay by Oliver Stone.

  22. Dead Man Walking

    Dead Man Walking (1995)


    Dead Man Walking is a 1995 American crime drama film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, and co-produced and directed by Tim Robbins, who adapted the screenplay from the non-fiction book of the same name. Sister Helen Prejean establishes a special relationship with Matthew Poncelet (played by Sean Penn), a prisoner on death row in Louisiana, acting as his spiritual adviser after carrying on correspondence with him.

  23. Prison Heat

    Prison Heat (1993)


  24. Half Past Dead

    Half Past Dead (2002)


    Half Past Dead is a 2002 American action film written and directed by Don Michael Paul in his directorial debut, and produced by Steven Seagal, who also starred in the lead role. The film co-stars Morris Chestnut, Ja Rule and Nia Peeples. The film was released in the United States on November 15, 2002. This was Steven Seagal's last theatrical release film in many countries until 2010's Machete.

  25. Birdman of Alcatraz

    Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)


    Birdman of Alcatraz is a 1962 film starring Burt Lancaster and directed by John Frankenheimer. It is a largely fictionalized version of the life of Robert Stroud, a federal prison inmate known as the "Birdman of Alcatraz" because of his life with birds. In spite of the title, much of the action is set at Leavenworth Prison, where Stroud was jailed with his birds. When moved to Alcatraz he was not allowed to keep any pets.

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