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21 Best Prison Movies on Netflix To Watch In 2020 (Our Top Recommendations)


Nobody is interested in leading a ‘Prison Life’ but people are always interested in knowing how prisoners are treated behind the bars. Thus, to know about the ‘Prison Life’ they head towards the movies. There is nothing better than movies to know about prisons. Movies based on ‘Prison Life’ are quite intriguing and always fascinates the audiences. The curiosity of people that how culprits are treated behind the bars is the major reason why prison movies are highly in demand. Hundreds of prison movies are being produced and loved by the audience.

If you want to experience the ‘Prison Life’ then there are some prison movies with an intriguing plot and are available on the OTT platformNetflix to watch. Here is a list of some best prison movies that you can watch on Netflix. Browse through the article and get to know about the movies and their IMDb rating. The list will help you in deciding what to watch on the Netflixplatform.

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21 Best Prison Movies On Netflix To Watch In 2020

1. The Green Mile (1999)

  • Genre:Drama/Crime
  • IMDb Rating:8.6
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) the head guard of a prison meets a black man named John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan). John was accused of murdering two girls and serving imprisonment. Later on, Paul gets to know that John possesses a mysterious gift and this fact brings drastic changes in Paul’s life.

The film is directed by Frank Darabont. The strong acting of the actors brings out memorable characters on screen. You should watch this movie at least once to witness the great performance of the artists. Another reason to watch this movie is marvellous story-telling. Experience the craft of story-telling at its best with this movie.


2. American History X (1998)

  • Genre:Drama/Crime
  • IMDb Rating:8.5
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:Derek (Edward Norton), a former neo-Nazi skinhead who has served three years of imprisonment for a crime, tries to stop his younger brother Danny (Edward Furlong) from going down to the same path of the crime he did. It is a compelling story of brothers where one brother tries to save another brother from falling into the deep pit of hate and crime.

The director of the movie is Tony Kaye who successfully brought out the best in the artists. This resulted in the movie getting various renowned awards. The intense yet gripping plot of the film does not fail to ignite the interest of the audience in the movie. It is available on Netflix, then do in-cash this opportunity of witnessing something great.

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3. 13th (2016)

  • Genre:Documentary/History
  • IMDb Rating:8.3
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:13th is an American documentary film by a filmmaker named Ava DuVernay. It lets the audience peep into the world of prisons, especially in the United States. Ava DuVernay researched the history of racial inequality in the United States. During this exploration, she focused on the fact that the United States’ prisons are full of African-Americans. This disproportionate number of prisoners compelled her to produce the documentary.

This amazing American documentarycontains detailed information and brilliant interviews that throw light on the injustice and racial inequality. The detailed information presented in the documentary says all about the efforts made by the team. The documentary film has won some renowned awards as well.

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4. The Fear Of 13 (2015)

  • Genre:Documentary/Mystery
  • IMDb Rating:7.7
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:The Fear of 13 is a British documentary telling the story of a convicted murderer Nick Yarris who has spent 22 years of his life on Death Row in Pennsylvania. He is awaiting execution and files petitions in court asking for the execution. DNA evidence turns out to be a plot twister and brings a change in the story of Nick Yarris.

The director of the documentary is David Sington and he has effectively brought the pain of Nick on screen with good use of sound effects. The title of the documentary is inspired by the word ‘Triskaidekaphobia’. Nick was educating himself in prison and he learned this word there. The documentary is full of twists and turns and you get engrossed in the story of Nick.

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5. Midnight Express (1978)

  • Genre:Drama/Prison
  • IMDb Rating:7.6
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:The film tells the story of an American hashish smuggler Billy Hayes (Brad Davis) who gets caught and prosecuted. He is sentenced to four years of imprisonment. Later on, his sentence is increased to 30 years. Billy makes a plan to escape the jail and includes other inmates in the escape plan as well.

This neo-noir drama has won and got nominated for various prestigious awards. The list of the awards says it all how good this film is. It is directed by Alan Parker. The artists of the film have delivered the best possible performance. The film is based on the autobiographical book of Billy Hayes of the same name.

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6. Escape From Alcatraz (1979)

  • Genre:Action/Thriller
  • IMDb Rating:7.6
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:The story revolves around a convict named Frank Morris (Clint Eastwood) who is sent to the most feared and secured prison in the world, Alcatraz. He decides to escape from imprisonment. Thus, he prepares an escape plan and succeeds in flying away from the prison along with Clarence Anglin (Jack Thibeau) and John Anglin (Fred Ward).

This action movieis directed by Don Siegel. The movie is based on the true story of inmates Frank Morris, Clarence Anglin, and John Anglin. The character portrayed by the artists on the screen appears real. Watch the movie to witness the great escape plan.

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7. A Twelve-Year Night (2018)

  • Genre:Drama/Crime
  • IMDb Rating:7.6
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:The film is set in 1973. Uruguay is ruled by a military dictatorship. Along with other political prisoners, José Mujica (Antonio de la Torre) remains in solitary confinement and survive there for 12 years. Later on, José becomes president of Uruguay.

The crime-drama is directed by Álvaro Brechner. This incredible story that introduces us to the sacrifices made my political prisoners is a must-watch. Watching this touching story would be a whole different experience for cinema lovers.

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8. The Next Three Days (2010)

  • Genre:Thriller/Action
  • IMDb Rating:7.4
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:Lara Brennan’s (Elizabeth Banks) life drastically changes when she is arrested for her boss’s murder. All the evidence goes against her and she has to stay away from her family for years. Finally, her husband John Brennan (Russell Crowe) takes charge of the matter.

The director of the movie is Paul Haggis. The performance of the actors, especially Russell Crowe’s performance was widely appreciated. The film introduces you to the cruel ‘Prison Life’ and a husband’s efforts towards her wife. Watch the movie to feel the thrill.

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9. Four Minutes (2006)

  • Genre:Drama/Music
  • IMDb Rating:7.4
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:An elderly music teacher provides piano lessons to prisoners. She finds a young talent among those prisoners and dedicates herself to nurture that young talent. Film’s star cast includes Monica Bleibtreu, Hannah Herzsprung, Sven Pippig, and Richy Müller.

This wonderful drama film is directed by Chris Kraus. The marvelous performance of the actors and the effective direction make the film worth watching. It has got nominations and won various renowned awards. The story of the film is a bit different from the usual prison movies. It gives the viewer a different perspective on ‘Prison Life’. The film includes a ‘feel-good’ factor and this brings a smile on your face.

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10. On My Skin (2018)

  • Genre:Drama
  • IMDb Rating:7.3
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:The story is woven around a man Stefano Cucchi who is arrested for a minor crime. He is put in a detention cell where he found mysteriously dead. It all happens in seven days. This incident turns his family’s life upside down.

This is one of the best Italian classic movies on Netflixstarring Alessandro Borghi, Andrea Lattanzi, Jasmine Trinca, and Max Tortora is directed by Alessio Cremonini. The film is based on a true story and this fact makes the movie more intriguing. The mystery behind the death of Stefano ignites the audience’s curiosity and make them sit until the climax.

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11. Shot Caller (2017)

  • Genre:Drama/Crime
  • IMDb Rating:7.3
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:A stockbroker residing in California arrested and charged for a DUI car accident. His lawyer advises him to take a plea deal. Thus, he is sentenced to imprisonment for 16 months. While serving imprisonment, he gets involved with a violent supremacist gang.

The director of the movie is Ric Roman Waugh. The film throws light on the prison system and makes us think whether the prison system is rehabilitating the criminals or making them worse.

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12. Survivors Guide To Prison (2018)

  • Genre:Documentary
  • IMDb Rating:7.1
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:In this documentary former inmates, celebrities, and offices analyze the U.S. prison system. The documentary presents a how-to handbook and survivors guide for prisoners. It would be interesting to know the U.S. prison system and how to survive in that system.

It is directed by Matthew Cooke. The documentary provides in-depth insights into the U.S. prison system. If you are looking for some informative content on the prison system then ‘Survivors Guide To Prison’ can turn out to be a great choice. Watch this documentary and get to know about the criminal justice system of the United States and how the prisoners survive there.

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13. Get The Gringo (2012)

  • Genre:Action/Thriller
  • IMDb Rating:7
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:A driver who is serving imprisonment in a notorious Mexican prison for stealing money meets a young inmate there. Soon the both of them become a friend and to survive in the prison this duo work together. He befriends a boy who has fallen foul of a violent inmate. The two work together to survive in prison.

The film is directed by Adrian Grunberg and lead roles were played by Mel Gibson and Kevin Hernandez. The gripping plot-line, action, and intense characters make the movie a must-watch. The film was appreciated widely and earned many positive reviews. The plot of the story is close to reality and thus it throws light on the realities of prisons. Witnessing a film like this will bring you close to the harsh truths of the prison system.

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14. The Platform (2019)

  • Genre:Thriller/Horror
  • IMDb Rating:7
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:The movie is set in a dystopian future where prison cells are designed in a vertical format with one cell per level. Where two prisoners stay in a single cell. Prisoners are given only one food platform and just two minutes per day to feed. This goes from up to down thus the inmates who are in the upper cells are fed well while the below ones suffer from starvation.

This intriguing fiction is directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia and the lead roles were played by Alexandra Masangkay, Iván Massagué, Antonia San Juan, Zorian Eguileor, and Emilio Buale Coka. It is an intense dystopian fiction that divulges a satirical message on the class system and capitalism. The interesting plot of the movie keeps you engaged and you enjoy every single frame of the movie.

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15. The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)

  • Genre:Drama/Thriller
  • IMDb Rating:6.9
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:The film is set in 1971 and is inspired by some true events. Philip Zimbardo (Billy Crudup) is Stanford’s professor who conducts a controversial psychological experiment based on incarceration where he assigns the role of guards and prisoners to 24 male students. These students have to pretend to be either a guard or a prisoner. The students are kept in a mock jail located in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.

The film is directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez. This psychology experiment had caused a stir and this makes the film more interesting. The movie brings out the cruelty of ‘prison Life’.

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16. A Prayer Before Dawn (2017)

  • Genre:Drama/Action
  • IMDb Rating:6.9
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:The film is based on the true story of an English boxer Billy Moore. Billy Moore (Joe Cole) is imprisoned in the most feared prison in Thailand. Fate throws him into a world of violence, crime, and drugs. He makes the best possible efforts to escape from this notorious prison. Thus, he fights in Muay Thai tournaments and tries to get his freedom back.

The Director of the film is Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire. The plot of the story is appealing as well as intense and realistic. This action-drama will take you to the realities of prisons as it is based on a true story.

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17. Blessed Benefit (2016)

  • Genre:Drama/Comedy
  • IMDb Rating:6.7
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:Ahmad (Ahmad Thaher) a construction worker gets involved in an infelicitous business deal. This unfortunate deal leads him to prison. There he meets Ibrahim (Mahmoud Al Massad) a fraudster. Ahmad feels devasted after Ibrahim ruin his last hope of proving himself innocent. There, he meets fraudster Ibrahim, who ruins his last hope to prove his innocence.

It is directed by Mahmoud Al Massad. The movie’s plot is quite engaging and keeps the viewers engrossed. Probably it is one of the best prison movies.

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18. Son Of A Gun (2014)

  • Genre:Thriller/Crime
  • IMDb Rating:6.4
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:JR (Brenton Thwaites) a delinquent gets into the prison after committing a minor crime. Here he is forced to adapt to the realities of the cruel ‘prison Life’. Fellow prison inmate Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor) who is Australia’s most notorious criminal offers protection to JR. But nothing comes for free. In return, Brendan asks JR upon his release to ensure his liberty by staging a daring prison break.

This intense crime-thriller is directed by Julius Avery. It is a good prison film that gives insights into the harsh realities of prison life.

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19. The Longest Yard (2005)

  • Genre:Comedy/Sport
  • IMDb Rating:6.4
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:This prison film is different from all the other prison films mentioned above as this brings out an altogether different story of ‘Prison Life’. Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) a famous football player lands up in jail. There he persuades a fellow convict and former football coach Nate Scarborough (Burt Reynolds) to prepare a team of inmates for a football match against the prison guards.

This prison sports comedy is directed by Peter Segal. The film shows the prison-life along with the spirit of sports and a bit of comedy. Watch the journey of Paul and coach preparing a football team in prison to make your day great!

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20. The 4th Company (2016)

  • Genre:Action/Drama
  • IMDb Rating:6.2
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:This film tells the story of a young inmate Zambrano (Adrián Ladrón) who is in a prison in Mexico. He wishes to join the prison’s football team. But later on, he gets to know that this football team is also the 4th company that organizes the crime under the protection of authority. This team of inmates controls privileges and services in the prison.

The 4th company is a crime-drama film that is directed by Mitzi Vanessa Arreola and Amir Galván Cervera. This film introduces you to the politics inside the prison and the harsh realities of prison life. So, be ready to know the truths about prison life.

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21. Lockout (2012)

  • Genre:Action/SciFi
  • IMDb Rating:6.1
  • Availability:Netflix

Overview:In an outer space prison, President’s daughter Emilie Warnock (Maggie Grace) and her crew are held, hostages. The government approaches a falsely accused agent Snow (Guy Pearce) to plan out a high-risk rescue mission to save Emily and her crew. In return, the government offers him his ‘freedom’.

This brilliant sci-fi and action film is directed by Stephen St. Leger and James Mather. The film brought a different prison concept to us. It is something different from all the other prison movies. Don’t you think the outer space prison concept is quite intriguing and pretty cool?

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FAQs About The Best Prison Movies On Netflix

1. How To Watch Prison Movies On Netflix?

Netflix is the leading OTT platform with vast content to browse from each genre. To enjoy Prison Movies on Netflix, Follow these steps:

  • Download the Netflix App on your mobile from google play store or apple store or access its desktop version by searching www.netflix.com.
  • Sign in with your details if you already have an account or sign up to create one after downloading the app.
  • Enter the “Prison Movies” in the search bar or if you are looking for some specific movie, search with its name.
  • After getting the movie, you want to watch, tap on its poster. You can either stream it online or can download it within the app using the “Download Now” option to watch offline.

2. Which Are The Best Prison Movies On Netflix?

Netflix has a large number of Prison movies available online, but out of them some of the top Prison movies on Netflix are:

  • A Prayer Before Dwan (2017)
  • Lockout (2012)
  • Son of a Gun (2014)
  • The Platform (2019)
  • Get the Gringo (2012)
  • The Fear Of 13 (2015)

3. How Many Prison Movies Are There On Netflix?

Netflix has plenty of Prison category movies available on its app. It has some 20-40 best prison movies that you can enjoy anytime by sitting at home.

4. How To Find Prison Category On Netflix?

To access Prison Category on Netflix, follow these steps:

  • Log in to your Netflix account and search for the “Prison” category.
  • In this category, you will find the latest Prison Movies to watch on Netflix.

5. Is It Easy To Download Prison Movies On Netflix?

Most of the time it is easy to download prison movies completely. most of the OTT platforms do provide download offline option on their apps/websites.

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Wrapping It Up!

Watching prison movies will let the viewer know about the harsh reality and truths of prison life. People get to know the life prisoners are leading behind the bars. The above list contains some prison movies with a great concept. These movies are available on Netflix to watch. Go and witness some great stories!

Disclaimer (Important)

This article contributes to educational purposes and does not break the privacy nor support piracy content anyway. Rather appreciates artists’ work and suggests you using legal options. Thank you so much for your quality time. We do not provide any sort of Video Downloads and neither encourage you to use the above website as it may harm your computer and is violating Indian laws already. we have only provided all the official links to watch then on their respective OTT platforms. using pirated content is a criminal offense. Therefore we should not take the initiative to watch movies/shows illegally.

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About The Authors

Cecilia Jones

Cecilia Jones- Cecilia Jones loves to write about movies, music, and the most popular and exciting news.

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