10 Great Genre-Hopping Prison Movies

Bet you never realised how versatile prison movies can be.

Let's face it, prison is one of the last places on Earth we'd choose to live. The idea of being surrounded by con men, thieves, habitual liars, rapists, murderers and outright psychopaths, constantly watching your back and dreading that inevitable moment when you drop the soap in the showers is about as appealing a prospect as repeatedly slamming your head in a door for eternity. Which is probably why the prison movie genre is so popular - it allows us to delve into the darkest side of society and spend some time with truly hardened criminals without fear of physical harm. Starred Up, a new gritty British prison drama released this week, examines that rare beast - a young man called Eric (played by Jack O'Connell) who actually chooses to prematurely upgrade from a youth offenders facility to an adult prison in order to be closer to his father, even if doing so requires him to engage in obscene acts of violence and sacrifice the last vestiges of his humanity. O'Connell is already being touted as the next big star, delivering a powerhouse performance which has secured him a place in Hollywood working alongside Angelina Jolie and the Coen Brothers. But not all prison movies are as hard-hitting as Starred Up. In fact, the prison setting has such a broad appeal that within the genre there is plenty of scope for action, comedy, political commentary and much more besides. The following list shows us just how versatile prison movies can be.

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