10. Caged Heat. Jonathan Demme’s masterful, cheese-filled sexploitation classic. The best example of a great subgenre of prison films.

9. Escape from Alcatraz. My second-favorite Clint movie.

8. Stir Crazy. Also known as the only really good Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor movie. I’ll never forgive them for not casting Pryor in Blazing Saddles.

7. Stalag 17. Not just a prison film, but a POW film as well. Much like Rescue Dawn, which, again, all of you should go see!

6. Bad Boys. Sean Penn and Ally Sheedy make a fantastic film about boy’s reformatories, and sadly nobody watches it. Rent it.

5. Escape from New York. Kurt Russel’s greatest film.

4. Moonlight Express. White kids in prison!

3. Short Eyes. Based on a play written by an actual inmate and starring the inmates themselves, this horrifyingly realistic film tells what happens to child molesters behind bars. Brilliant, and still powerful to a modern audience that’s become largely inured to violence.

2. American Me. A complex film that tells the story of three generations of Mexican Americans living in South Central. Only part of it deals with prison life, but I’m including it because this is another excellent movie that few people seem to know about.

1. The Shawshank Redemption. The obvious choice.

A few good jail tunes:

Jail Talk-Saigon

What Jail is Like-The Afghan Whigs (live 2/26/99)

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