netflix Prison Movies

15 Best Prison Movies on Netflix in 2024 – Must-Watch Gems

Watching prison movies has always been popular among movie fans. The troubles the characters encounter behind bars have been inspiring to directors, actors, and viewers alike. Despite the fact that these kinds of films often portray brutal and tragic destinies, the audience often sympathizes with the protagonists because they fight for physical and mental survival.

On top of that, a lot of the positive things can be found in the stories told from the inside of the prison cell, such as loyalty, courage, friendship, and strength.

Thanks to the breakthrough of the Netflix platform, enjoying the fictional world of moving pictures has never been easier. Luckily, the fans of prison films have a wide catalog from which they can choose movies with this theme. The majority of the audience likes to binge-watch their favorite movies and TV series from the comfort of their own home.

Many use multi-media players like Fire TV or KODI to connect all their streaming platforms via firestick apps and add-ons. You can find a list of apps and add-ons over at If you belong to this category.

If you belong to this category, take a look at the following list of the 15 best prison movies available on Netflix.

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

IMDb Rating: 9.3
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%

This movie is certainly one of the best in the genre of all time and a cult movie you should watch if you did not have a chance so far. It tells the story of a wrongly accused and convicted inmate, Andy Dufresne, who was sent to Shawshank State Penitentiary.

During his imprisonment, Andy meets and befriends Red, and they help each other survive harsh prison conditions. It is a classic, must-watch movie that stands the test of time and is still considered one of the best on the IMDB, at least as far as the critics and ratings are concerned. So if you are in search of a feel-good movie, this is the one you should not miss.

Director: Frank Darabont

Cast: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton

Runtime: 2h 22m

2. The Green Mile (1999)

IMDb Rating: 8.6
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%

The Green Mile is a cult movie based on a Stephen King story. The story revolves around death row in a Louisiana prison in the 1930s and follows the story of Paul Edgecombe, who is in charge of the execution chamber.

At some point, a new inmate arrives on death row, a huge man called John Coffey, and Paul soon starts figuring out that he has supernatural powers. This is yet another amazing classic movie with its main plot happening inside the prison, and it is certainly worth watching for its emotional and storytelling weight and quality.

Director: Frank Darabont

Cast: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt

Runtime: 3h 9m

3. Shot Caller (2017)

IMDb Rating: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70%

This movie is a fantastic creation by Ric Roman Waugh and, with its talented cast and interesting plot, is certainly a worthy watch for anyone that looks for a thrilling and emotional prison movie.

The story revolves around a white-collar business professional in a happy marriage that accidentally commits a crime. He gets sentenced to prison time and struggles to do what is best for his family outside, as the choices he makes will have repercussions. It is a story with an interesting twist and plot and is certainly a movie you should add to your watchlist.

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Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Omari Hardwick, Lake Bell

Runtime: 2h 1m

4. Blood and Bone (2009)

IMDb Rating: 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 71%

Blood and Bone is a movie written by Michael Andrews and directed by Ben Ramsey, and it tells a story about a former marine who is out of jail and fighting in underground boxing matches to make some quick money.

When he is promised a shot at the heavyweight title if he manages to beat the current champion, he finds himself caught up in something more than just a fight. The main actor Michael Jai White provides a fantastic performance in the movie and carries it all the way through.

Director: Ben Ramsey

Cast: Michael Jai White, Julian Sands, Eamonn Walker

Runtime: 1h 30m

5. A Prayer Before Dawn (2017)

IMDb Rating: 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%

Directed by Jean-Stephane Sauvaire and based on the memoir by Billy Moore, A Prayer Before Dawn is a prison movie based on the true story of an English boxer incarcerated in one of Thailand’s most notorious prisons.

The story revolves around Billy Moore, a boxer addicted to Ya Ba and stuck in Thailand. He ends up getting arrested and sent to Nakhon Pathom Prison outside of Bangkok, where he struggles to survive, and eventually ends up fighting in Muay Tai boxing tournaments inside. It is a thrilling true-life events story with a talented cast of actors, which you should definitely consider adding to your watchlist.

Director: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire

Cast: Joe Cole, Cherry Miko, Vithaya Pansringarm

Runtime: 1h 56m

6. The Platform (2019)

IMDb Rating: 7
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%

The Platform is a Netflix Original movie directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia and written by David Desola and Pedro Rivero. It is a movie set in dystopian prison of the future where prisoners are kept in vertical cells.

This prison is a mysterious place with an unknown number of levels, with two inmates living on each level. Every day a platform with food descends containing food for all of them, which leads to an inhuman fight for survival, but also an opportunity for solidarity with other inmates.

Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia

Cast: Ivan Massagué, Zorion Eguileor, Antonia San Juan

Runtime: 1h 34m

7. The Best of Enemies (2019)

IMDb Rating: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 52%

The Best of Enemies is a movie based on a true story and set in the early 1970s. It follows a strange friendship between Ann Atwater, who is an African American civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis, a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

It is a movie that explores race relations in America and is a must-watch for anyone that is interested in a compelling story about social justice and American history. This is a film with a talented cast of actors, writers, and a director, which would be a worthy addition to your watchlist.

Director: Robin Bissell

Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Sam Rockwell, Babou Ceesay

Runtime: 2h 13m

8. Get the Gringo (2012)

IMDb Rating: 6.9
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81%

Get the Gringo is a movie directed by Adrian Grunberg and written by Mel Gibson and Stacy Perskie. The story revolves around a career criminal who finds himself stranded in Mexico after a heist that went terribly wrong.

He is unable to cross the border and ends up in a notorious Mexican prison where he befriends a young boy who helps him overcome the struggles of the imprisonment and helps him survive. This is one of the best Gibson’s works in years, with plot twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole movie.

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Director: Adrian Grunberg

Cast: Mel Gibson, Kevin Balmore, Daniel Giménez Cacho

Runtime: 1h 36m

9. A Twelve-Year Night (2018)

IMDb Rating: 7.5
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%

This movie has been positive reviews since it came out. It focuses on incarceration which lasted for 12 years. The director is Alvaro Brechner. The characters are members of the left-wing urban guerilla group Tupamaros.

In case you are interested in seeing the psychological side of the prison, this movie will thrill you, because it shows the mental fights of the inmates to stay sane. On top of that, it realistically portrays the troubles within the walls of the prison, and you will probably be able to comprehend and picture this kind of lifestyle better.

Director: Álvaro Brechner

Cast: Antonio de la Torre, Chino Darín, Alfonso Tort

Runtime: 2h 2m

10. Convict (2014)

IMDb Rating: 5.4
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 26%

The protagonist of the movie is convicted of manslaughter. However, he committed the crime in order to protect his wife. The main motive of the film is related to the sentence “Watch your back”. You will gradually observe the life of the man who must overcome all of the challenges both inside and outside himself.

Hence, the portrayal of mental state and external hardship that goes with life within the four walls of the cell becomes even more emotional to watch. With this move, you will be able to connect with the main character.

Director: John Tedesco

Cast: George Basha, Richard Green, Brian Ellison

Runtime: 1h 50m

11. Freedom at Midnight (2018)

IMDb Rating: 7.7
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: /

What happens when a common man ends up behind bars? The protagonist of this movie finds himself in a unique situation – he has to escape the brutal prison in order to save the woman he loves. Hence, you will be provided with a thrilling and emotional film, which will leave you surprised and speechless.

One of the best things about Freedom at Midnight is the fact that it realistically portrays the setting since it was shot in a real prison.

Director: R.J. Shaan

Cast: Anupama Parameswaran, Hakkim Shah

Runtime: 30m

12. On My Skin (2018)

IMDb Rating: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 67%

In the quest for the truth, the family of Stefano Cucchi, the inmate who dies under the unexplained circumstances, tries to find out what happened to him. This Italian drama portrays the life of a young convict who ended up in prison for the minor drug charges.

Nevertheless, he started to look as if someone beat him up; he lost weight and eventually, died. By trying to figure out what happened to their family member, Stefano’s family will have to push the boundaries in order to find out the truth.

Director: Alessio Cremonini

Cast: Alessandro Borghi, Massimiliano Tortora, Milvia Marigliano

Runtime: 1h 40m

13. The 4th Company (2016)

IMDb Rating: 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

Survival is the main theme of this movie. Not only is the survival the most important goal in life, but it becomes even more significant behind bars, where unique rules have to be respected. The decision to join the prison’s American football team leads Zambrabo, the protagonist of this film, to the unique realization.

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He finds out that the football team is a lot more than just a sports hobby. This thrilling and tense film has been hugely popular among the audience, primarily due to the fact that it is realistic and brutal at the same time. On top of that, the plot is very interesting.

Director: Mitzi Vanessa Arreola, Amir Galván Cervera

Cast: Adrian Ladron, Andoni Gracia, Hernán Mendoza

Runtime: 1h 49m

14. The Fear of 13 (2015)

IMDb Rating: 7.6
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%

If you are interested in a documentary, instead of fiction, this is the movie for you. The Fear of 13 is a documentary about Nick Yarris, who spent 21 years in prison. The most tragic and emotional event in the same time is his release. The DNA evidence, after 21 years, proved his innocence.

This man is in front of the camera the whole time and he shares his story down to every detail of his prison experience. If you decide to watch this movie, prepare yourself for emotional experience and the most realistic feeling ever, since it does not get more real than this.

Director: David Sington

Cast: Herbert A. Fuchs, Sammy Silverwatch, Nick Yarris

Runtime: 1h 36m

15. Son of Gun (2014)

IMDb Rating: 6.4
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 62%

This film is about old and young inmates who make a deal. The young inmate will be protected within the walls of the dangerous prison, while he will help the old inmate to escape and do him favors once he is free. This crime thriller is everything you expect from this genre.

On top of that, the cast includes Ewan McGregor, who has been praised for the outstanding performance. Not only will you enjoy the thrilling story, but you will also fall in love with the Australian cast, who offered an astonishing performance in this film.

Director: Julius Avery

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Brenton Thwaites, Alicia Vikander

Runtime: 1h 48m

Show Your Love for Prison Movies

Focusing on cinema lover, movie fan? No matter what kind of movie fan you are, you deserve a unique mark to celebrate your favorite pastime. If you are planning a prison movie night with friends, or maybe you’re managing a movie club, your friends, and members will love the unique and fun gifts inspired by your favorite movies.

Why not customize your unique movie flair: challenge coins, enamel pins, magnets, stickers, buttons, and the like for decoration, and collection? Vivipins can help you to customize challenge coins, enamel pins and stuff.

These custom-made items can be personalized with your most-loved quotes, characters, club name, party theme, etc. Such as, fans commission custom entertainment challenge coins to show support of their favorite movies. (visit for more info). Create them to show your love, match the theme, and set the scene to make you feel like you’re in it.


Prison movies provide viewers with real and brutal stories. But they also show the importance of courage, loyalty and strength in the fight for survival. Almost every character from these movies must fight to survive. Even if the conditions in the jail are perfect (which is, truth be told, extremely rare) they must fight their mental obstacles and defeat themselves!