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Neuman’s Movie Monday-Prison Movies

cinema clapper and video film tape on disc
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Whether they are breaking out, wrongfully imprisoned, or rehabilitating, here are the Top 10 prison movies I’ve seen.

 

10. The Longest Yard

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

I’ll admit that the original is probably better, but I do get some enjoyment out of this movie. Whether its the old athletes or the professional wrestlers, this movie is entertaining the whole way through. If you hate everything about the movie, you have to hand it to Cloris Leachman. She is a legendary crack up.

 

9. Con Air

Touchstone Picutes
Touchstone Pictues

Oh Jerry Bruckheimer. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But “Con Air” is one that when it’s on TV, I’ll watch at least a little. I’m not big on John Cusack and Nicholas Cage’s accent in this movie stinks. But I really like Steve Buscemi, John Malkovich, Ving Rhames and Dave Chappelle. The biggest downfall of this movie is the ending. Not even a spoiler alert here, but just END IT! The whole scene on the Las Vegas strip is unwatchable. In all fairness, this is a different take on a prison movie. But as if the pill wasn’t tough to swallow already, “Con Air” was nominated for 2 Oscars.

 

8. Stir Crazy

Coloumbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Another under rated movie. You can never go wrong with Gene Wilder and Richard Prior. Wrongfully put into prison, these 2 seem like they will barely make it. If you haven’t seen “Stir Crazy” get out and watch it. Two comedy legends nail this one.

 

7. The Great Escape

Mirisch Company
Mirisch Company

Based on a true story, “The Great Escape” is so good. Working on 3 different tunnels called “Tom,” Dick,” and “Harry” the inmates are desperately trying to get out of the German POW camp. Let’s just say it’s not the camp from Hogan’s Heros.

 

6. The Bridge on the River Kwai

Coloumbia Pictures
Coloumbia Pictures

This is such a cool concept. Japanese POW’s are instructed to build a bridge for a railway but the whole time they plan to destroy it for the Allies. So trying to work hard to keep their captors off their back while contriving a plan to take it down results in a great movie. I’ve only seen it once, but want a repeat viewing.

 

5. American History X

New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

This is a great movie and I’ve expressed my opinions on it before. There is so much to this story outside of the prison scenes, but this movie is as closely related to how modern prison life as you can get. A lot of these other movies are set in old time prisons or prisons of war. Here there is the grouping a lot of modern prisons have to go through for protection or otherwise. If you upset your own group, you are left vulnerable to the rest of the prison.

 

4. The Green Mile

Castle Rock Entertainment
Castle Rock Entertainment

How Michael Clarke Duncan didn’t win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, I’ll never know. John Coffey is one of my favorite characters of all time. You know that Tom Hanks is going to be good, and this is the second time on this list James Cromwell plays a prison warden (The Longest Yard). I don’t care if you are the most hard headed person, if you don’t get somewhat emotional during The Green Mile, you are a robot.

 

3. Escape from Alcatraz

Paramount Pictues
Paramount Pictures

“You break the rules, you go to prison. You break the prison’s rules, you go to Alcatraz.” This is a great film. I might be biased because I specifically watched this movie right before taking a tour of Alcatraz which definitely enhanced my experience there. Even taking the boat to the island, the thought of, “do you think they made it” was constantly in my head. If you are going to San Francisco, (sure… wear flowers in your hair) go visit Alcatraz. I want to watch this movie again, go back to “The Rock” and take the tour again, but this time at night.

 

2. Life is Beautiful

Melampo Cinematografica
Melampo Cinematografica

We had a middle school class take a field trip to a theater to watch “Life is Beautiful.” I loved it. A family is taken on one of the trains to a Nazi death camp, and Guido (Roberto Benigni) hides his son away in the horrible conditions. Guido tells his son that he is apart of a big game to hide him from the truth of what’s happening in the camp. He tries to accumulate pretend points to win the game while unspeakable actions are happening around him. “Life is Beautiful” is a must see.

 

1. The Shawshank Redemption 

Castle Rock Entertainment
Castle Rock Entertainment

No surprise here. It’s one of the best movies ever made. Based off a Stephen King novel, Frank Darabont returns on this list (The Green Mile) with what Internet Movie Database has tied for number one on their list of greatest movies of all time. This movie has a score of 9.2 which is tied with “The Godfather.” Nominated for 7 Oscars, the only thing you can say that’s bad about this movie is that TNT has played it over and over again. This is a movie I’ve seen a thousand times and I’ll still catch myself watching it whenever I see it’s on.

 

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