5 Hard-Hitting Prison Movies on Netflix
Published February 18, 2021
If you’re anything like the majority of the population, you never want to experience life behind bars. But while that rings true for most people, we have this weird fascination with what that life is like. Luckily, movies give us a glimpse without having to go through it firsthand, albeit with a lot more drama. Prison movies are some of the most popular among movie fans. There’s just something about knowing the troubles a character went through that led them to commit such crimes. You can’t help but root for the guy while condemning the act. But that’s enough talking. Here are the hard-hitting prison movies that you should add to your Netflix watchlist.
1. A Twelve-Year Night (2018)
A Uruguayan film based on a true story, “A Twelve-Year Night,” focuses on the story of three political prisoners during the country’s military dictatorship in the 1970s. These three were key leaders of the radical, trade union-affiliated Tupamaros movement, which was aggressively snuffed out by government forces in 1972. The story follows their twelve-year journey as isolated army hostages. The point of their isolation was to keep their being alive a secret in hopes of preventing future uprising.
2. The Green Mile (1999)
The Green Mile follows the story of a Louisiana Death Row guard, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), during the Depression. The funny thing about Paul is that he’s a lot nicer than you’d expect a Death Row guard to be. He’s also surrounded by a competent and humane staff save for Percy, who has some evil intent in him. One day a new prisoner arrives in the form of a humongous black man. This man is John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), who was recently convicted of the rape and murder of two little white girls. However, it quickly becomes clear that he is not what he is made out to be. Find out the kind of relationship that develops between Paul and John in this Stephen King novel-based blockbuster.
3. American History X (1998)
American History X is a story revolving around the ugly topics of racism and hate. It revolves around two brothers from Venice, Los Angeles, who got involved with the white supremacist Neo-Nazi movement. After their father is killed by black drug dealers, Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton) goes on a racist tirade on live television. This leads Derek to form a white supremacist gang, terrorizing other ethnicities in the area. Later in the movie, Derek kills a person and curb stomps another, earning him a 3-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter. It’s in prison where we see him reflect on his Neo-Nazi ideals and intend to prevent his younger brother from following the same path.
4. Shot Caller (2017)
Shot Caller follows Jacob Harlan (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a family man sent to prison after a fatal car crash left his best friend dead. He is quickly introduced to the dangerous prison lifestyle, which sees him joining a white supremacist gang for survival. Watch as Jacob gives way to ruthlessness and is corrupted by the criminal world he never thought he’d be in.
5. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Cool Hand Luke is a 1967 prison drama film directed by Stuart Rosenberg. It stars Paul Newman and features George Kennedy in an Oscar Award-winning performance. It is one of the most critically-acclaimed films of all-time, earning a 100% Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film centers around decorated war veteran Lucas “Luke” Jackson (Paul Newman), who is arrested for cutting parking meters off their stands in a drunken fit. Watch this anti-hero’s journey as he jostles with authorities and finds unique ways to stand against the establishments.
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About The Author
Terrence Tan Ting is an industrial engineer by profession but a full time writer by passion. He loves to write about a wide range of topics from many different industries thanks to his undying curiosity.