What other great escape movies are out there?
August 17, 2007 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Lately I’m obsessed with movies featuring prison breaks. Some of the recent ones I’ve seen are: The Great Escape, Stalag 17, Escape from Alcatrez, Shawshank Redemption (of course), Papillon, No Escape, The Scarlet Pimpernel…. What are some good ones I haven’t seen yet?
posted by silverstatue to Media & Arts (53 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Don't forget the Count of Monte Cristo.
posted by slavlin at 7:26 AM on August 17, 2007

The Rock? The Island? Not great movies either one, but certainly in the theme... also a quick Google search adds Midnight Express and V for Vendetta to your list.
posted by nkknkk at 7:31 AM on August 17, 2007

oh damn, when i said the scarlet pimpernel, i REALLY meant the count of monte cristo. i wish we could edit our questions!
posted by silverstatue at 7:32 AM on August 17, 2007

Cool Hand Luke? Didn't he escape at some point? How bout "O Brother Where Art Thou?"
posted by Sassyfras at 7:35 AM on August 17, 2007

Escape from New York.

Although, technically, the inmates don't escape from a prison, Escape to Victory features prisoners of war getting loose (with an Oscar-worthy performance from John Wark - "I'll have the top bunk"). Apparently Sylvester Stallone wanted a different ending (spoiler alert), whereby he not only saved the last-minute German penalty, but then dribbled the ball back up the other end of the park and slotted it home for an Allied victory at the death.
posted by gene_machine at 7:37 AM on August 17, 2007

I don't know if it counts as a prison break (since only 1 guy gets away), but The Killing Fields has a prison escape in it.
posted by jquinby at 7:38 AM on August 17, 2007

"a man escaped" is simply stunning.
posted by oh pollo! at 7:38 AM on August 17, 2007

Escape from New York was a really good movie, although not your "typical" prision.
posted by momzilla at 7:38 AM on August 17, 2007

The new Herzog movie Rescue Dawn.
posted by The Straightener at 7:39 AM on August 17, 2007

Would The Defiant Ones count? I haven't seen it, so I don't know if all the emphasis is on being on the run or if much of it deals with the prison break.

Also, how about Escape From New York? Or is that taking the concept a little too far?
posted by kimota at 7:40 AM on August 17, 2007

In the escapist camp, "Lock Up" and "Tango and Cash." Both with Sylvester Stallone. Both with dramatic (and overwrought) prison breaks.
posted by Gordion Knott at 7:40 AM on August 17, 2007

Aliens 4
Logan's Run
Star Wars, natch
Sci-fi nerd signing out

That movie Con Air is about a prison break too I suppose
posted by poppo at 7:41 AM on August 17, 2007

Out of Sight, which is a great movie.
posted by lalex at 7:42 AM on August 17, 2007

Little Dieter Needs to Fly, the Herzog documentary on which Rescue Dawn is based.
posted by mark7570 at 7:45 AM on August 17, 2007

The Deer Hunter has an escape from a POW camp.
posted by marionnette en chaussette at 7:46 AM on August 17, 2007

for a comedy i loved 'after the fox' , also known as 'Caccia alla volpe' starring peter sellers.
This features 2 escapes, one at the beginning and one at the end.
posted by razzman at 7:48 AM on August 17, 2007

Grand Illusion, by Jean Renoir, is a masterpiece.
posted by chinston at 7:54 AM on August 17, 2007

Runaway train is both an awesome prison break movie and an awesome train movie. Surprised noone has mentioned it yet.

Cool hand Luke is more of a chaingang movie but includes lots of escaping. Great movie anyway
posted by uandt at 7:56 AM on August 17, 2007

gene_machine, that's odd. I never knew that movie had been released with a title other than just Victory. That said, my little brother and I loved it and watched it at every opportunity.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:57 AM on August 17, 2007

The Colditz Story; Bridge Over the River Kwai.
posted by Zé Pequeno at 7:59 AM on August 17, 2007

Midnight Express.
posted by box at 8:00 AM on August 17, 2007

It was Escape to Victory in the UK, Escape elsewhere. The reason eludes me.
posted by gene_machine at 8:02 AM on August 17, 2007

I meant Victory. Sigh
posted by gene_machine at 8:03 AM on August 17, 2007

Down by Law
posted by sulaine at 8:08 AM on August 17, 2007

Chicken Run?
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:08 AM on August 17, 2007

Natural Born Killers - pretty graphic.
posted by iconomy at 8:10 AM on August 17, 2007

Mrs. Soffel - the warden's wife helps a prisoner escape.
posted by iconomy at 8:16 AM on August 17, 2007

I really like prison break/escape films as well ... my absolute favorite one, hands down, is Le Trou. It's so good I'm amazed I'm the first to mention it in this thread.

Oh - and I second Chicken Run, as well ... though it's a lot more entertaining after you've seen the 'escape' movies it riffs on (like Cool Hand Luke).
posted by General Zubon at 8:21 AM on August 17, 2007

Seconding Grand Illusion. What an amazing movie.
posted by The Bellman at 8:27 AM on August 17, 2007

The Wooden Horse. Classic British POW movie.
posted by jennydiski at 8:35 AM on August 17, 2007

Raising Arizona.
posted by toxic at 8:45 AM on August 17, 2007

I'm a bit fascinated by prison breaks myself. I really liked Das Experiment, a German film, although its not about prison breaks per se.
posted by letahl at 8:51 AM on August 17, 2007

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
posted by n o i s e s at 9:22 AM on August 17, 2007

Canon City (my birthplace)
posted by hortense at 9:22 AM on August 17, 2007

As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me
posted by dpcoffin at 9:46 AM on August 17, 2007

Where Eagles Dare might fit the genre, although it's more about rescuing a prisoner than the prisoner getting out of their own accord.
posted by djgh at 9:46 AM on August 17, 2007

Seconding LE TROU - great film.

I'd also heartily recommend FEMALE CONVICT SCORPION - JAILHOUSE 41 starring Meiko Kaji.

Its a woman in prison film -but it is much more than that: it is truly lysergic cinema and features some of most stunning visuals ever committed to celluloid.

This Japanese film that falls into a style of filmmaking that I would call artsploitation. This particular film from the FEMALE CONVICT SCORPION (aka FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION) series is currently out of print, but you can probably rent it at a good non-corporate video store (the American Cinematheque released it on dvd back in 1999 or 2000).

The remainder of the films from the series (at least the ones starring Meiko Kaji) are also available on dvd and can be rented from Netflix. But none of the other films are as amazing as JAILHOUSE 41 (which is the second film in the series).

The SCORPION films were among the many influences apparent in KILL BILL - in fact two songs from the soundtrack are featured in KILL BILL VOL. 1.

Once you watch JAILHOUSE 41 - I can guarantee that you will want your friends to watch it too! I made dubs for several of my friends and they were all blown away by the film...
posted by cinemafiend at 10:28 AM on August 17, 2007

Although not a movie, Prison Break season 1 is absolutely fantastic. Just what you are looking for too.
posted by lain at 10:34 AM on August 17, 2007

While there's no prison break (there's a break of another kind...but I don't want to spoil) The Fugitive has to be one of the best well, fugitive movies ever.
posted by derMax at 10:37 AM on August 17, 2007

lain... its my love for Prison Break the tv show that has launched this quest for similar movies!

Thanks for all the suggestions everybody! Keep them coming!
posted by silverstatue at 10:42 AM on August 17, 2007

Escape from Sobibor! Best Nazi camp escape movie ever, and it's based on a true story!
posted by vorfeed at 10:44 AM on August 17, 2007

We're No Angels, with Bogart, is pretty tops.
posted by klangklangston at 1:33 PM on August 17, 2007

(Which leads us to...)
posted by klangklangston at 1:35 PM on August 17, 2007

Oh, and Silverado features one, and El Dorado is all about preventing one (as is Rio Bravo).
posted by klangklangston at 1:37 PM on August 17, 2007

I'm seconding "Rescue Dawn," which is still playing in some theaters, and thirding "Grand Illusion," which is simply one of the best films ever made. (I think I counted those vouches up right.)

Also, I recommend that you read the book "The Great Escape." It's the account of the actual escape from Stalag Luft III on which the film was based, written by one of the prisoners.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 1:57 PM on August 17, 2007

Masochists may wish to view Christopher Lambert in Fortress.

Breaking out of prison is also a plot element of The Running Man.
posted by Crosius at 3:40 PM on August 17, 2007

The Last Castle features a nifty little fake prison break.
posted by trinity8-director at 4:37 PM on August 17, 2007

I'm seconding 'Runaway Train' and 'O' Brother Where Art Thou?' (see Sullivan's Travels to appreciate the origins of O' Brother), but most of the movies recommended here are worth it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:08 PM on August 17, 2007

Almost forgot. Wedlock is a great b sci-fi escape movie.
posted by slavlin at 6:34 PM on August 17, 2007

'A Man Escaped' sets the standard. It's a slower movie than most mentioned, so don't expect the pace of a Hollywood adventure movie. If you watch it, read a little on the backstory.
posted by BigSky at 9:23 PM on August 17, 2007

I third "A Man Escaped".
posted by Flunkie at 10:22 PM on August 17, 2007

I once saw a pretty bad movie - possibly made for TV - depicting the same events as Escape from Alcatrez. In this version, the main character was that guy who ended up getting left behind. Since it was a lot less exciting than the Eastwood version, I assumed it was more faithful to the actual events.
posted by Clay201 at 1:32 AM on August 18, 2007

« Older Date ideas in Austin?   |   Help me find someone in Chicago who can fix my... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.