The 10 Greatest Prison Escape Movies of all Time

Prison break movies are always fun to watch, whether the escapes are made by Allied POWs or just common criminals. It appeals to the subversive side of human nature to see a convict stick it to the system and run free, especially one who the audience knows doesn’t deserve to be locked up in the first place.

Prison break films are very adaptable and can be written to coincide with many different genres, including thrillers, adventure movies and even comedies (as fans of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times will know). Here we list the ten best jailbreak and POW escape movies of all time.

10. Papillon

The odd, trippy prison break movie that is Papillon stars Steve McQueen as a petty crook who is exiled to the infamous penal colony on Devil’s Island in French Guiana, where existence is a hell of scorching weather, dangerous animals and hideous disease. When your first day starts with hiding a metal cylinder full of money up your ass, you know you aren’t at summer camp… The movie chronicles the protagonist’s many escape attempts over the course of his 14-year sentence, as McQueen goes from… well… Steve McQueen in 1973 to a used-up, white-haired, broken-toothed old man — a bit like The Shawshank Redemption but with fewer posters of actresses to hide the tunnels behind. McQueen does a great job as the title character and absolutely dominates every scene he appears in, despite the formidable acting talent surrounding him (co-star Dustin Hoffman, for example). The dangerous cliff-jumping stunt performed during Papillon’s final escape attempt is also a milestone in cinema. A classic convict film.

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