8 Prison Movies You Must Watch on Netflix

Introduction Netflix

Netflix’s library has plenty of great movies, and sometimes maybe too many. I mean, who has time to watch all the good stuff? Well, I’ve got your back with this list of prison-themed films that are available on Netflix right now! From dramas through action flicks to comedies (sorta), these are the best prison movies you can stream right now:

The Stanford Prison Experiment Netflix

The Stanford Prison Experiment, based on the real life Stanford Prison Experiment conducted in 1971, is an intense film for a number of reasons. It’s a controversial look into the mind of human behavior when put into different roles, and it was shut down after only six days.

The film follows college student Peter Zimbardo who designs an experiment to study the psychological effects of imprisonment. He enlists 22 male students as volunteers for his experiment by paying them $15 per day (which was twice as much as minimum wage at the time).

He then splits these young men into two groups: prisoners and guards. The prisoners are placed in a mock prison with cells, bars on windows and confined spaces while the guards were given batons to carry around with them just in case they needed to use any sort of force against their prisoners if they got out of line (the idea being that they were doing this because they wanted more money).

Brubaker Netflix

Brubaker (1980)

This Robert Redford-directed film is based on a true story, and it’s a must watch. It’s about prison riots! The warden decides to run the prison differently than what everyone else is doing, and his methods are controversial. A riot ensues as a result of this new approach—but that’s not where the movie ends. No, this one goes even further into detail about how people reacted after the riot ended (and why). You’ll learn so much about prison culture and what life was like back then if you watch this movie!

Blood In Blood Out

Blood In Blood Out is a 1993 drama about the Mexican Mafia and its rise to power. It was written, directed, and produced by Taylor Hackford who has also worked on such films as An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) and Ray (2004). The film stars Edward James Olmos as Miguel “Chivo” Villalobos, an ex-con who returns home after serving 12 years in prison.

When he sees how his old neighborhood has changed for the worse, he becomes angry at those responsible for ruining it: the young gang members that have taken over where his family once ruled. Chivo’s mission is simple: clean up the streets of La Eme (the Mexican Mafia) and restore order to his community by any means necessary—even if it means sacrificing himself in the process.

Schindler’s List

  • Oskar Schindler is a German businessman who saved the lives of more than 1,000 Jews from the Holocaust.
  • Liam Neeson plays Schindler in this 1993 film directed by Steven Spielberg.
  • The movie won seven Oscars and was nominated for eleven more, including Best Picture and Best Director.


Goodfellas is a 1990 crime film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci. The film narrates the rise and fall of mob associate Henry Hill (Liotta).

The movie is based on the non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi. It was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also won four Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama; Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama (De Niro); Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture (Pesci) and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture.

Midnight Express

Midnight Express is a 1978 prison-drama film based on Billy Hayes’ 1977 book Midnight Express: A Memoir of My Life in Turkey. It was directed by Alan Parker and stars Brad Davis, John Hurt, Randy Quaid and Paolo Bonacelli.

The film tells the story of Billy Hayes who is sent to prison in Turkey for smuggling drugs out of Istanbul airport. In the beginning he is subjected to torture including solitary confinement which leads him to attempt suicide. He then becomes a heroin addict himself in prison where he befriends another prisoner who helps him escape from jail so that he can return home before his mother dies from cancer.

The Shawshank Redemption

Based on the Stephen King novella “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” this 1994 movie starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins has become a classic. It received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, but was ultimately snubbed in that category. Nonetheless, it has since been named one of the best films ever made by many critics.

The film follows Andy Dufresne (Freeman), a banker who is wrongly convicted of murder and sent to prison where he meets Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding (Robbins). The two form an unlikely friendship as they attempt to escape their situation through sheer will power and determination—and eventually do just that!


Capote is about the writing of In Cold Blood. The movie explores Truman Capote’s friendship with Perry Smith and how it affected his writing process. It also shows how Harper Lee was there for him when he needed her most.

The friendship between Capote and Smith changed both men in ways they never could have imagined, but it also gave us a movie that stands out among prison films.

American History X

American History X is a powerful film about racism. It’s based on the true story of Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton), who, after serving three years in prison for killing two black men, decides to reform himself and keep his younger brother away from gangs. However, despite his best efforts, Derek can’t stop his brother Danny (Edward Furlong) from joining a Neo-Nazi gang.

When he discovers that Danny has brutally murdered an African-American family in their home, Derek uses his influence within the prison system to help bring justice to all involved parties. The film received two Oscar nominations: one for Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton) and one for Best Editing.

Also read : Top 5 type Prisons for White-Collar Criminals

Great movies are hard to find on Netflix. Here’s a list of some that are great and on Netflix.

Netflix is a great way to find movies, but with so many titles available and so little time, how do you know which ones are worth your time? This list is a collection of some of the best prison movies on Netflix right now. You’ll find everything from drama to horror to comedy in this selection.

We’ve also included some other titles that may not be considered “prison” movies strictly speaking. But they do explore themes of captivity or confinement and feature characters who are confined by their circumstances in one way or another—which makes them perfect for this list!


We hope that you liked this list of movies to watch on Netflix. If you didn’t see your favorite prison movie on here, let us know in the comments below!