In my opinion, Sleepers is one of Kevin Bacons best roles, he fits the role perfectly. Sick, tormented and bursting with anger and discipline. Afterwards, It makes you really take a step back and evaluate the movie as a whole and just think to yourself 'wow, I'm lucky'. For me, the young kids in the movie did a terrific job, showing their emotion and overcoming such horrendous adversity. To this day, looking back at Sleepers still makes me feel a bit weird.
Starring Daniel Day Lewis in perhaps one of his best roles, for me, his acting is world class. Especially in this movie. It's quite early on in Day Lewis' Career, but even then he still seems incredibly good, I think Lewis is one of those characters who is just so naturally gifted, it's not very difficult for him to excel. In the Name of the Father is a portrayal of the tragedy's of IRA bombings and 'Gerry Conlon' a man who got sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn't commit. The true story really sinks in with Day Lewis delivering an incredible performance.
I don't think a best prison movie list would ever be complete without having The Shawshank Redemption on there. Stated by some to be one of the best movies ever made, which for me is a fair assumption, it's one of those movies that just really resonates with you, you feel for the characters and as the story progresses, you do too. I think this was Darabont on his A-game, I don't think any prison movie could ever trump it.
I guess if you lock Clint Eastwood up in a prison, he's going to escape. You just can't contain him! Escape from Alcatraz shows the strength of the human spirit, more than that it shows pure determination for achieving your goal, especially if it's to escape from Alcatraz....Y'know the most difficult prison EVER to escape from. Nobody traps Clinty baby up.
Ok when I say 'the best' prison movies ever made, I use the term loosely. Very loosely. For me, Fortress is a classic though, it's just brilliant. It's one of those movies from the early 90s that just completely resonates with you, the one that you forget it's name and then try google it 15 years later, well that's what I did. I first saw It when I was quite young, re-found it and re-kindled my love for Fortress. Christopher Lambert stars in this futuristic prison, doing all he can to escape and find his wife who's trapped in there with him...as if things couldn't get any worse.
Since we're on the theme of nostalgia, check out this little beauty....No Escape! A young Ray Liotta, who'd of guessed it. Stuck on an island which is in fact a prison! It's not just any island, it's not the paradise kind, it's the kind that has a lot of evil deformed humans who try to brutalise and eat you! (whether they do or not remains to be seen they just kind of look a little deformed). Stuart Wilson plays the brilliant flamboyant pirate bad guy. It's definitely a must see.
Damn I love this movie, Kevin Bacon and Christian Slater put on epic performances! I'm still surprised Bacon didn't receive an award for his brilliant portrayal of Henri Young. A man who's in a maximum security prison for stealing a couple of bucks from a cash register to help feed his starving sister. Henri is beaten and maimed for years, tormented by his captors until one day he snaps and kills a fellow inmate. It's Christian Slaters job to help Henri and make sure he doesn't get the death sentance.
Another Frank Darabont classic, thank you sir. The Green Mile is brilliant, it manages to encapsulate every emotion throughout the movie. One of Tom Hanks & Michael Clark Duncan's most brilliant performances. The Green Mile is one of those movies that you have to watch at least once in your life time, otherwise you'll have done yourself an injustice. If you're a fan of brilliant acting, directing and scriptwriting The Green Mile is a triple threat that you have to take advantage of.
A Prophet is a brilliant French Prison drama directed by Jacques Audiard, the story revolves around Malik a young french man who's sentenced to six years in prison for attacking policemen, alone and illiterate he manages to become friends with mobsters who enforce a brutal rule.
Edward Norton puts on an incredible performance as the Neo-Nazi skinhead Derek Vineyard. American History X focuses on two brothers, both are great students until their father is murdered by a black drug dealer, Derek is led into the Neo-Nazi movement. Derek brutally ends up killing black gang members and is sentenced to prison for manslaughter.