Greatest prison escape movie

If I’d been asked this last year I might have said The Great Escape or The Shawshank Redemption, wonderful movies both and tough to choose between.

But that was before I saw Le Trou. It’s a 1960 B&W French movie directed by Jacques Becker. It is set in 1947 in La Santé prison in Paris and tells of 4 cellmates who are planning an elaborate escape. Just as they are ready to begin the operation a young man is moved into their cell. Can he be trusted? So this gem of a movie begins and I give nothing away when I say that towards the end there is a camera shot so sudden and unexpected that it takes your breath away.

Astonishing film and IMHO the greatest prison escape movie ever made. (It also works on different levels, class differences being a crucial subtext of the work).

Any other Dopers who love this movie?

Chicken Run, hands down.

I saw the thread title and thought “well, Le Trou is excellent, but no one will have even heard of it.”

The first time I saw it was in French with German subtitles, neither of which I understood. And I missed the beginning. So I didn’t get a lot of the story, but the getting-shit-to-work-ness of the escape is riveting. I wrote down some names from the closing credits so I could look it up on IMDb, and then Netflixed it when I was back in the States.

Lots of 'em
*Escape from Alcatraz

Runaway Train

The Wooden Horse

The Colditz Story


I never heard of le Trou. I’ll have to look it up

i was going to say Toy Story 3.

Escape from Alcatraz has been mentioned.

A Man Escaped

And I’ll add the whole first season of Prison Break as one ‘movie’.

Escape of the Birdmen with Doug McClure.

Shawshank Redemption certainly deserves a mention.

My favorite is the aptly titled The Great Escape.

Papillon is another good one.

edit: Dangit. I should learn to read or something.

I saw A Man Escaped the other day and I thought it was really good considering how minimalist it was.


I’m rather fond of Stalag 17, myself. I’m a big William Holden fan, but I loved every character in the movie.

I’m watching Le Trou right now on You Tube, so far its really good, I’m about 30 minutes into it. Also, it gets 8.4 stars on IMDB.

A pretty good one that hasn’t been mentioned is The McKenzie Break. It’s about a WWII u-boat crew’s attempt to escape from an allied POW camp.

Escape From New York

Rabbit-Proof Fence

Midnight Express

Escape to Victory

Kiss of the Spider Woman

The Count of Monte Cristo.

Von Ryan’s Express
Summer of My German Soldier


La Grande Illusion, one of the pioneers of the genre.