The Naked Cage (1940's & 1950's Prison Noir Films)

by osloj | created - 30 Mar 2017 | updated - 30 Mar 2017 | Public
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1. Brute Force (1947)

Passed | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard.

Director: Jules Dassein | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford, Yvonne De Carlo

Votes: 8,022

2. Classe Tous Risques (1960)

Not Rated | 103 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

Abel Davos is a criminal, hunted in Italy. The police are closing in, so he and his pal Raymond arrange to flee back to France with Abel's wife, Thérèse, and their two young sons. Abel and ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Sautet | Stars: Lino Ventura, Sandra Milo, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Marcel Dalio

Votes: 2,777 | Gross: $0.09M

3. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)

Not Rated | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A novelist aided by his future father-in-law conspires to frame himself for the murder of a burlesque dancer as part of an effort to ban capital punishment.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Dana Andrews, Joan Fontaine, Sidney Blackmer, Arthur Franz

Votes: 4,160

4. Women's Prison (1955)

Approved | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Life at a 1950s women's maximum security prison where the warden and the guards are as brutal as the inmates.

Director: Lewis Seiler | Stars: Ida Lupino, Jan Sterling, Cleo Moore, Audrey Totter

Votes: 603

5. White Heat (1949)

Not Rated | 114 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist. Shortly after the plan takes place, events take a crazy turn.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien, Margaret Wycherly

Votes: 25,300

6. The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

Passed | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore

Votes: 22,130

7. The Kneeling Goddess (1947)

PG | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A artist model who leads the ever hapless Arturo de Córdova away from the arms of his innocent, blue-eyed wife and down, down, down into the ecstatic depths of degradation which include a stop at seedy Panamanian nightclub.

Director: Roberto Gavaldón | Stars: María Félix, Arturo de Córdova, Rosario Granados, Fortunio Bonanova

Votes: 176

8. Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954)

Not Rated | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Fed up with the inhumane prison living conditions, a general prison riot breaks out, leading to hostage-taking, a stand-off with the guards and eventual negotiations with the prison administration officials.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Neville Brand, Emile Meyer, Frank Faylen, Leo Gordon

Votes: 1,468

9. Caged (1950)

Not Rated | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A naive nineteen year old widow becomes coarsened and cynical when she is sent to a woman's prison and is exposed to hardened criminals and sadistic guards.

Director: John Cromwell | Stars: Eleanor Parker, Agnes Moorehead, Ellen Corby, Hope Emerson

Votes: 3,202

10. The Defiant Ones (1958)

Approved | 96 min | Crime, Drama

69 Metascore

Two escaped convicts chained together, white and black, must learn to get along in order to elude capture.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Charles McGraw

Votes: 12,182

11. The Naked City (1948)

Not Rated | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Two New York City detectives investigate the death of an attractive young woman. The apparent suicide turns out to be murder.

Director: Jules Dassein | Stars: Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Dorothy Hart, Don Taylor

Votes: 10,967

12. Turn the Key Softly (1953)

81 min | Crime, Drama

After three women are released from prison, we follow them for their first day of freedom.

Director: Jack Lee | Stars: Yvonne Mitchell, Terence Morgan, Joan Collins, Kathleen Harrison

Votes: 293

13. A Man Escaped (1956)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama

A captured French Resistance fighter during WWII engineers a daunting escape from a Nazi prison in France.

Director: Robert Bresson | Stars: François Leterrier, Charles Le Clainche, Maurice Beerblock, Roland Monod

Votes: 16,432

14. Big House, U.S.A. (1955)

Approved | 83 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Jerry Barker finds a lost boy whose rich father is extorted into paying a ransom for his return but the boy accidentally dies and Jerry goes to prison.

Director: Howard W. Koch | Stars: Broderick Crawford, Ralph Meeker, Reed Hadley, William Talman

Votes: 633

15. Raw Deal (1948)

Approved | 79 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Joe Sullivan has taken the rap for Rick who double-crosses him with a flawed escape plan and other means intended to get rid of him.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt, John Ireland

Votes: 3,696

16. House of Strangers (1949)

Approved | 101 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

After years in prison, Max promises revenge on his brothers for their betrayal. His lover Irene and memories of his past yield him a broader perspective.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Susan Hayward, Richard Conte, Luther Adler

Votes: 2,585

17. Le Trou (1960)

Not Rated | 131 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

In prison four long-sentence inmates planning an elaborate escape cautiously induct a new inmate to join in their scheme which leads to distrust and uncertainty.

Director: Jacques Becker | Stars: André Bervil, Jean Keraudy, Michel Constantin, Philippe Leroy

Votes: 13,196 | Gross: $0.03M

18. The Long Memory (1953)

Approved | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Released from prison after twelve years, a wrongfully convicted British man seeks revenge on the witnesses who lied at his trial.

Director: Robert Hamer | Stars: John Mills, John McCallum, Elizabeth Sellars, Eva Bergh

Votes: 876

19. Decoy (1946)

Approved | 76 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A mortally wounded female gangster recounts how she and her gang revived an executed killer from the gas chamber, to try and find out where he buried a fortune in cash.

Director: Jack Bernhard | Stars: Jean Gillie, Edward Norris, Robert Armstrong, Herbert Rudley

Votes: 1,389

20. Hell on Frisco Bay (1955)

Unrated | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

After 5 years in prison, ex-cop Steve Rollins is paroled and searches for the San Francisco mobsters who framed him for manslaughter.

Director: Frank Tuttle | Stars: Alan Ladd, Edward G. Robinson, Joanne Dru, William Demarest

Votes: 392

21. The Naked Street (1955)

Passed | 84 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A mobster (Quinn) springs a condemned murderer (Granger) because he got his sister (Bancroft) pregnant.

Director: Maxwell Shane | Stars: Farley Granger, Anthony Quinn, Anne Bancroft, Peter Graves

Votes: 630

22. The Concrete Jungle (1960)

TV-14 | 86 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

In UK, after pulling a racetrack robbery, repeat offender Johnny Bannion hides the loot in a farmer's field but the police and the local mob come looking for Johnny and for the money.

Director: Joseph Losey | Stars: Stanley Baker, Sam Wanamaker, Grégoire Aslan, Margit Saad

Votes: 1,090

23. Dillinger (1945)

Approved | 70 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

John Dillinger begins his life of crime as a petty thief, meets his future gang in prison and eventually masterminds a series of daring robberies.

Director: Max Nosseck | Stars: Lawrence Tierney, Edmund Lowe, Anne Jeffreys, Eduardo Ciannelli

Votes: 1,567 | Gross: $4.00M

24. City of Fear (1959)

Approved | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A vicious killer escapes from San Quentin with a cannister of what he believes to be heroin but is actually a radioactive substance that threatens all Los Angeles.

Director: Irving Lerner | Stars: Vince Edwards, Lyle Talbot, John Archer, Steven Ritch

Votes: 754

25. The Last Mile (1959)

Not Rated | 81 min | Drama, Thriller

A prison break is attempted the same night an execution occurs on death row.

Director: Howard W. Koch | Stars: Mickey Rooney, Frank Overton, Michael Constantine, John Vari

Votes: 253

26. Red Light (1949)

Passed | 83 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

The former employee of a trucking company, currently in prison for embezzling the company, plans his eventual revenge against his former boss.

Director: Roy Del Ruth | Stars: George Raft, Virginia Mayo, Gene Lockhart, Raymond Burr

Votes: 714

27. Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949)

Not Rated | 76 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

US Treasury agent George Morton persuades convicted criminal Johnny Evans to help him destroy a drug smuggling ring in exchange for early parole.

Director: William Castle | Stars: Howard Duff, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea, Tony Curtis

Votes: 330

28. Outside the Wall (1950)

Passed | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A paroled convict's infatuation with a gold-digger nurse working at a sanitarium leads him to crime.

Director: Crane Wilbur | Stars: Richard Basehart, Marilyn Maxwell, Signe Hasso, Dorothy Hart

Votes: 86

29. Dark Alibi (1946)

Approved | 61 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A public defender enlists Charlie to exonerate one of his clients, an ex-con falsely accused of bank robbery and murder, scheduled for execution in nine days.

Director: Phil Karlson | Stars: Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland, Ben Carter, Benson Fong

Votes: 1,000

30. My Brother's Keeper (1948)

Approved | 86 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

War hero turned villain George Martin escapes from prison, but he is handcuffed to a naive young crook Willie Stannard. After using a clever plan to obtain railway tickets, and with the ... See full summary »

Director: Alfred Roome | Stars: Jack Warner, Jane Hylton, George Cole, Bill Owen

Votes: 207

31. 13 East Street (1952)

72 min | Thriller

When police inspector Gerald Blake wants to infiltrate a London stolen-goods gang, he does a thorough job of it. First, he robs a jewelry store, gets caught and is sentenced to prison. Then... See full summary »

Director: Robert S. Baker | Stars: Patrick Holt, Sandra Dorne, Sonia Holm, Robert Ayres

Votes: 95

32. Seven Miles from Alcatraz (1942)

Approved | 62 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

After Pearl Harbor, convicts at Alcatraz prison live in fear of bomb attacks, driving Champ Larkin and his pal Jimbo to a desperate escape attempt which lands them on a tiny lighthouse ... See full summary »

Director: Edward Dmytryk | Stars: James Craig, Bonita Granville, Frank Jenks, Cliff Edwards

Votes: 242

33. Query (1945)

Approved | 87 min | Thriller

Tom Masterick, a dock worker, is wrongfully convicted of a murder charge. His death sentence is commuted to a long prison term. When released as an old man, he vows to find the real killer.

Director: Montgomery Tully | Stars: William Hartnell, Jimmy Hanley, Chili Bouchier, Brefni O'Rorke

Votes: 25

34. Meeting in the Night (1946)

87 min | Thriller, Crime

A journalist is writing a critical article about the prison service in Sweden. The magazine's editor in chief does not agree with him and removes the article. The journalist then plans to ... See full summary »

Director: Hasse Ekman | Stars: Hasse Ekman, Eva Dahlbeck, Ulf Palme, Tord Bernheim

Votes: 22

35. I Want to Live! (1958)

Approved | 120 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

A prostitute, sentenced to death for murder, pleads her innocence.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Susan Hayward, Simon Oakland, Virginia Vincent, Theodore Bikel

Votes: 5,311

36. Pickpocket (1959)

Not Rated | 76 min | Crime, Drama

Michel is released from jail after serving a sentence for thievery. His mother dies and he resorts to pickpocketing as a means of survival.

Director: Robert Bresson | Stars: Martin LaSalle, Marika Green, Jean Pélégri, Dolly Scal

Votes: 17,467

37. Impact (1949)

Approved | 111 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A unfaithful wife plots with her lover to kill her husband, but the lover is accidentally killed instead. The husband stays in hiding, and lets his wife be charged with conspiracy.

Director: Arthur Lubin | Stars: Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, Charles Coburn, Helen Walker

Votes: 2,713

38. I Walk Alone (1947)

Approved | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Frankie Madison leaves prison expecting a share from his ex-partner. But Prohibition bootlegging didn't prepare Frankie for Big Business.

Director: Byron Haskin | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas, Wendell Corey

Votes: 1,913

39. Carbine Williams (1952)

Unrated | 92 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

David Marshall Williams is sent to a prison farm where he works in the tool shop and eventually develops the precursor of the famous M-1 Carbine automatic rifle used in World War II.

Director: Richard Thorpe | Stars: James Stewart, Jean Hagen, Wendell Corey, Carl Benton Reid

Votes: 1,633

40. The Big Shot (1942)

Approved | 82 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Fearing life in prison for a third offense, convict Duke Berne pulls out of an armored car robbery, planned by his crooked lawyer, but he is framed for the robbery anyway.

Director: Lewis Seiler | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Irene Manning, Richard Travis, Susan Peters

Votes: 671

41. Invisible Stripes (1939)

Approved | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

An ex-con who wants to go straight has difficulties trying to reintegrate into society while on parole.

Director: Lloyd Bacon | Stars: George Raft, Jane Bryan, William Holden, Humphrey Bogart

Votes: 1,250 | Gross: $0.11M

42. I Became a Criminal (1947)

Approved | 78 min | Crime, Drama

After WW2, former RAF airman Clem Morgan joins a gang of black-market smugglers-thieves but when a robbery goes wrong, Clem is caught , framed for a policeman's murder, and is sent to prison where he plots his escape and revenge.

Director: Alberto Cavalcanti | Stars: Sally Gray, Trevor Howard, Griffith Jones, Rene Ray

Votes: 1,164

43. Johnny Apollo (1940)

Approved | 94 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

The son of a jailed Wall Street broker turns to crime to pay for his father's release.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: Tyrone Power, Dorothy Lamour, Edward Arnold, Lloyd Nolan

Votes: 1,032

44. The Killer Is Loose (1956)

Approved | 73 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

An unhinged, deceptively mild-mannered bank robber escapes prison, seeking revenge on the cop who accidentally killed his wife during a gun battle.

Director: Budd Boetticher | Stars: Joseph Cotten, Rhonda Fleming, Wendell Corey, Alan Hale Jr.

Votes: 1,423

45. Convicted (1950)

Passed | 91 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A D.A. becomes the prison warden where he tries to help an inmate he prosecuted, because he believes his sentence was excessive.

Director: Henry Levin | Stars: Glenn Ford, Broderick Crawford, Millard Mitchell, Dorothy Malone

Votes: 645

46. Each Dawn I Die (1939)

Approved | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A corrupt D.A. with political ambitions is angered by news stories implicating him in criminal activity and decides to frame the reporter who wrote them for manslaughter in order to silence him.

Director: William Keighley | Stars: James Cagney, George Raft, Jane Bryan, George Bancroft

Votes: 2,571

47. Devil's Canyon (1953)

Approved | 92 min | Action, Crime, Drama

In 1897 Arizona, an ex-marshal is sent to the territorial prison where many of his enemies, among guards and inmates alike, are eager for a chance at payback.

Director: Alfred L. Werker | Stars: Virginia Mayo, Dale Robertson, Stephen McNally, Arthur Hunnicutt

Votes: 294

48. Unchained (1955)

75 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A convict in a medium-security prison is torn between his need to finish his sentence and get back to his wife and family, and his desire to escape the confines of prison.

Director: Hall Bartlett | Stars: Elroy 'Crazylegs' Hirsch, Barbara Hale, Chester Morris, Todd Duncan

Votes: 118