Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Time Well Spent Watching Prison Movies

Just as I started watching “Cool Hand Luke” for the umpteenth time Monday evening Gilda called me in to an early dinner. I set the DVR to watch it at a later date but it prompted me to put together a list of favorite films with prison-themes or important incarceration scenes.


Another communication from Gilda, however, has concerned me. She sent along a column from The Washington Post that lamented the loss of cultural touchstones among younger generations (make sure you read some of the comments, as well—https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/cultural-references-keystone-cops/2021/07/25/d9b11bf8-ebe1-11eb-ba5d-55d3b5ffcaf1_story.html).


As many of the movies I recommend are from decades 50-60-70-80 years ago, I worry that many of you have no touchstone to identify with them. To me, a black and white movie such as “Brute Force” (1947) or “Three Came Home” (1950) represents cinematic excellence. Sadly, Turner Classic Movies is often the only outlet that broadcasts them.


You’ll have to work hard to view my complete selection. Keep in mind the list is restricted to movies I have seen that have made, and continue to make, lasting impressions on me. 


That’s life. With that as our mutual sentence, here’s my list of films, involving jail, prison or any form of incarceration. As usual, I welcome some of your favorites:


The Shawshank Redemption


Midnight Express


Ben-Hur


Spartacus


A Face in the Crowd


Cool Hand Luke


Escape from Alcatraz


The Way Back


The Deerhunter


Terminator


Life Is Beautiful


Schindler’s List


Escape from Sobibor


I Want to Live


12 Monkeys


Modern Times


I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang


Brute Force


Birdman of Alcatraz


The Count of Monte Cristo (1934)


Captain Blood


The Seahawk


Passage to Marseille


A Tale of Two Cities


Papillon


Empire of the Sun


Stalag 17


The Great Escape


In the Name of the Father


The Producers


Bridge on the River Kwai


Conviction


Three Came Home


The Hill


Each Dawn I Die


White Heat


Silence of the Lambs

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