Stealing Cars and the best banged-up prison movies
When thinking of movies that take place in the slammer, certain titles come to mind; The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and so on. Some of the biggest movies in history have centred around prisons and penitentiaries, making it one of the oldest Hollywood genres. To celebrate the release of hard-hitting new movie Stealing Cars, starring Emory Cohen, John Leguizamo, and William H. Macy, we pay homage to this gritty sub-genre with a list of the best movies to show incarceration on the silver screen.
Midnight Express (1978)
Based on and adapted from the non-fiction book of the same name, Midnight Express follows the true story of Billy Hayes, an American college student who is sent to a Turkish prison after trying to smuggle hashish back home. Though it differs from the book in some aspects, the film itself was highly acclaimed by critics and audiences alike, being nominated for five Academy Awards and winning two for best score and adapted screenplay. Directed by British great Alan Parker (Mississippi Burning), and starring Brad Davis (Chariots of Fire), Randy Quaid (Independence Day) and the legendary John Hurt (Alien), who received an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor.
Directed by Alan Clarke (The Firm) and starring Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast), Scum follows a young offender from when he arrives at Borstal prison, to his rise through violence and self-protection to the top of the inmates’ pecking order. This immensely gritty film is known for being highly controversial at the time of its release, due to its graphic depiction of racism, extreme violence, rape, suicide, and very strong language. Nonetheless, it provides a moving story that deals with being in a position of power and prison survival. Also starring Julian Firth (The Queen) and Phil Daniels (EastEnders).
Animal Factory (2000)
21-year-old Rob Decker has just been dealt heavy prison time for trafficking drugs. Scared he won’t last through his sentence, he turns to hardened criminal and ex-gang leader Earl Copen for guidance. Earl sees a part of himself in Decker, and decides to take him under his wing and help him survive prison. This emotional incarceration epic is the second feature film directed by award winning actor Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs), and is widely praised by critics for its realism. Starring Edward Furlong (Terminator 2: Judgement Day), Willem Dafoe (Platoon), Tom Arnold (True Lies), and Danny Trejo (Machete).
The first ever feature length movie by Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), which won the prestigious Caméra d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival and stars Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones). The drama follows the real story of Bobby Sands (Fassbender), an IRA volunteer who led his fellow inmates through the famous hunger strike, where the Irish Republican prisoners tried to regain political status after it had been revoked by the British government in 1976. An extremely visceral and thought provoking piece, with McQueen doing a fantastic job of not portraying Sands as a martyr; a danger which many directors may have neglected.
Lion’s Den (2008)
This Argentine drama directed, co-written, co-produced, and co-edited by Pablo Trapero was shot inside real maximum-security facilities in Buenos Aires, and follows Julia; a woman who has been arrested for the murder of her boyfriend and has to give birth to her son in prison, raising him in a maternity cellblock. To start, the film explores Julia’s growth as an individual under such extreme conditions, but the film really hits hard when Julia’s son approaches the age at which he is allowed to stay with a relative outside prison. An enthralling and incredibly emotional story with intense lead performances from Martina Gusman (White Elephant) and Rodrigo Santoro (300).
Starred Up (2013)
Eric, an arrogant and ultra-violent 19-year-old (Jack O’Connell, Unbroken), is prematurely transferred to the adult prison facility where his estranged father (Ben Mendelsohn, Killing Them Softly) current resides. As his explosive temper quickly finds him enemies in both prison authorities and fellow inmates, Eric is approached by a volunteer psychotherapist (Rupert Friend, Homeland) who runs an anger management group for prisoners. Eric becomes torn between the different issues he faces and finds himself in a fight for his own life, unsure if his own father is there to protect him or join in punishing him. The film is an instant British classic and currently holds a whopping 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Stealing Cars (2015)
From executive producer Mark Wahlberg comes the gritty story of a rebellious teenager (Emory Cohen; A Place Beyond the Pines, Brooklyn) who gets caught by the police for stealing cars, landing him in a ruthless young offender’s prison. As he fights against the corrupt institution of the juvenile prison, he inspires his fellow inmates to make a stand and take back their lives. Produced by the award-winning Rachel Winter (Dallas Buyers Club) and featuring a plethora of talented actors including William H. Macy (Fargo, Room), Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), John Leguizamo (John Wick) and Mike Epps (The Hangover), Stealing Cars is a gripping drama with excellent performances.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment releases Stealing Cars on DVD and Digital HD June 20th.
To celebrate the release of gritty new prison drama Stealing Cars, we’ve teamed up with Lionsgate UK to give away an action-packed DVD bundle featuring a whole lot of great, tough movies to get you in the mood, featuring Vendetta, The Gift, Sicario, Only God Forgives, and The Iceman.
For your chance to win, simply follow us on Twitter, and retweet the Stealing Cars competition post before July 3rd 2016.
— TVGuide UK (@tvguideshows) June 19, 2016
Terms & Conditions
Competitions are open to all UK residents aged 18 years old and over except our employees, the companies or organisations with whom the competition or offer is being run, their agents, or anyone directly connected with the promotion.
We reserve in all cases the right to replace the stated prizes with other prizes that we consider to be of broadly equivalent value. We offer no cash alternative for non-cash prizes, and prize winners must accept prizes in the form offered. Prizes are not refundable or transferrable.
The closing date for receipt of entries is July 3rd 2016. The winner will be drawn at random from all valid entries, and will be notified by email.
All entrants to competitions and offers are deemed to have accepted these rules and agree to be bound by them, and agree to co-operate in any publicity that may arise which may include their name being used on Facebook, websites, magazines or mobile services at any time as a result of the competition.