Being imprisoned is one of those experiences that even cinema cannot and, frankly, should not glamorize. There is nothing enviable or alluring about losing one’s freedom, sometimes forever.
The concept of prisons often incites screenwriters to cut loose and employ extremes, imbuing proceedings with elements such as the lack of actual cells, surrealism and that trusty trope, one that never lets audiences down - the sadistic guard.
Viewers like getting lost in other people’s misery adventures, as has been proven by box office results over the decades, with films like Escape From New York making significant profit.
Various films have also shown that a prison is not always one kind of confinement. Works like A Clockwork Orange demonstrate what being captive to one’s mind can do to a person and those like Wedlock show futurism gone wrong.
The following films take the loneliness of incarceration to a new level of endurance for their characters. From human to alien monsters, from brutal inmates to the agony of losing one’s free will, these prisons offer a glimpse at out-of-control aspects of the human psyche.