Oh crap, he escaped!
February 22, 2013 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Fiction help: Name scenes from movies where characters realize or discover that their prisoner has escaped.

Two classic examples...

* The local Tennessee cops find the filleted prison guards and then we smash cut to Hannibal Lecter ripping his stolen face off.
* James Bond and Q watch the computers go haywire and Bond rushes downstairs to discover Silva has hacked into the computers and opened all the interior doors.
posted by Cool Papa Bell to Grab Bag (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The great dummy heads reveal in Escape from Alcatraz (1979).
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:13 AM on February 22, 2013

Shawshank Redemption where the guards discover that the Rita Hayworth poster has a tunnel behind it.
posted by sweetkid at 11:13 AM on February 22, 2013 [7 favorites]

Nearly every episode of Animaniacs!
posted by jozxyqk at 11:16 AM on February 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

In Cool Hand Luke, Luke (Paul Newman) goes to urinate in the bushes. The guards tell him to keep shaking the bush so they'll know he's still there. He ties a rope to the bush, and escapes.
posted by Melismata at 11:19 AM on February 22, 2013

In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, the guard leaves to tell his superiors that Robin is ready to betray his king. The guard is quite pleased because good news is always rewarded ("on the other hand, bad news is severely punished.") While he's off delivering the news, all of the inmates escape. When he comes back, he says, "I just told them the good news, and... and... and I'm in deep shit."

(I nearly had that movie memorized as a kid. Tried to rewatch it recently... it didn't hold up over time.)
posted by SugarAndSass at 11:21 AM on February 22, 2013

In Twelve Monkeys, when he's zapped back to the future, leaving behind empty still-buckled restraint cuffs.
posted by Specklet at 11:22 AM on February 22, 2013

Truman's escape in The Truman Show.
posted by mediated self at 11:33 AM on February 22, 2013

The movie version of The Fugitive:

Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: Oh, wow, gee whiz! Look here! [dangles a set of unshackled leg irons in front of the guard] You know, we're always fascinated when we find leg irons with no legs in them! Who held the keys, sir?
Old Prison Guard: Me.
Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: Where are those keys at?
Old Prison Guard: I don't know.
Deputy Erin Poole: Care to revise your statement, sir?
Old Prison Guard: What?
Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: Do you want to change your bullshit story, sir? [Poole shows the photo of Kimble to the guard]
Old Prison Guard: [after looking at it for a few seconds] He mighta got out.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:33 AM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Possibly stretching the definition of "prisoner" a bit, but the awards at the music festival in The Sound of Music—Captain Von Trapp is being "escorted" to accept a commission in the German Navy.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:34 AM on February 22, 2013

The Last Detail with Randy Quaid escaping briefly from Jack Nicholson.
posted by coldhotel at 11:41 AM on February 22, 2013

Another "not really a prisoner", but The Usual Suspects might fit the bill.
posted by Roommate at 11:46 AM on February 22, 2013

Jason X, in the beginning: In a prison/research facility, a soldier covers a chained-up Jason with a sheet. When the others arrive, they think the person under the sheet is him, but then it comes off and it's the soldier. They realize he has escaped. He then starts doing what he does best.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:50 AM on February 22, 2013

See also: the Sleeping Dummy trick, with the reveal when someone checks on them.
Famous examples include: Ferris Beuller's Day Off, Dr. No, Truman Show, and Airplane!
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:51 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Catch Me if You Can -- Tom Hanks looks in the airplane bathroom to find Leonardo DiCaprio has crawled out into the landing gear.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:51 AM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also look for this in Stalag 17 and Foxy Brown.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:51 AM on February 22, 2013

The Rock: FBI Director Womack is thrown off the balcony, and as the FBI agents are rescuing him, the prison John Mason escapes.

(I have seen this movie many times.)
posted by hmo at 11:57 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Busmalis in Oz, though the bigger surprise was that he didn't escape alone and took a guy he barely ever talked to with him. Should be season 3.
posted by MinusCelsius at 12:06 PM on February 22, 2013

The Lion King: "Hey, did we order this dinner to go?" "No. Why?" "Because there it goes!"
posted by pitrified at 12:08 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Related trope might be Fakeout Escape (which also applies to the Silence of the Lambs example you mention.)
posted by McCoy Pauley at 12:35 PM on February 22, 2013

In Hot Fuzz, Nicholas Angel (played by Simon Pegg) has just arrived at his new posting as a police officer in a small town in Britain. He arrests Danny Butterman (played by Nick Frost) for drunkenness and public urination the evening before he is to start. The next morning he goes into his first day at work to discover that the cell is empty.

Moments later he discovers the identity of his new partner.
posted by 1367 at 1:05 PM on February 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

Moonrise Kingdom: "Jiminy cricket, he flew the coop!"
posted by Conductor71 at 1:20 PM on February 22, 2013

It happens at least once in "Midnight Run," while Robert DeNiro is trying to get Charles Grodin from LA to NY (or maybe the other way around -- I haven't seen it in a long time). The scene that comes to mind is when Charles Grodin's character steals a small plane and takes off after convincing Robert DeNiro's character that he's so afraid of flying that he could die if they take a plane, thus the road trip. It's a very very funny movie.
posted by Dolley at 1:24 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Raising Arizona
posted by maxg94 at 1:34 PM on February 22, 2013

There are a few scenes in "I Love You Phillip Morris" where the Jim Carrey character's escape attempts are so brazen that he literally takes off running the second the police turn their backs. Example
posted by ceribus peribus at 1:38 PM on February 22, 2013

The Debt (2011): Rachel walks around the corner to see the knocked-over bowl.
posted by stebulus at 1:57 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Early in John Carter, a luckless private runs to inform Colonel Powell that the prisoner, Carter, had escaped...and taken the Colonel's horse.
posted by Atreides at 2:31 PM on February 22, 2013

In Demolition Man, Wesley Snipes' cryogenically frozen ass manages to escape his restraints during a parole hearing (for which he has been "temporarily" unfrozen) by uttering a code-word that evil-doers have programmed into his brain while he was in a state of suspension. Bad things happen next.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 3:39 PM on February 22, 2013

Also from The Fugitive:
Cosmo Renfro: [after Kimble has just lept off the dam to escape] What happened? Where'd he go?
Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: The guy did a Peter Pan right off of this dam, right here.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:57 PM on February 23, 2013

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