7 Episodes

With pulse-pounding tension and life-or-death drama baked into its premise, the prison-break movie is the ne plus ultra of cinematic suspense. From the gut-punching grit of Jules Dassin’s BRUTE FORCE to the taut minimalism of Robert Bresson’s A MAN ESCAPED and the dystopian spectacle of John Carpenter’s ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, these joint-busting classics find master filmmakers putting their own thrilling spin on the art of the escape.

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  • Jailbreak! Teaser

    Episode 1

  • Grand Illusion

    Episode 2

    Directed by Jean Renoir • 1937 • France
    Starring Jean Gabin, Pierre Fresnay, Erich von Stroheim

    One of the very first prison escape movies, GRAND ILLUSION is hailed as one of the greatest films ever made. Jean Renoir’s antiwar masterpiece stars Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay as French soldiers he...

  • Brute Force

    Episode 3

    Directed by Jules Dassin • 1947 • United States

    As hard-hitting as its title, BRUTE FORCE was the first of Jules Dassin's forays into the crime genre, a prison melodrama that takes a critical look at American society as well. Burt Lancaster is the timeworn Joe Collins, who, along with his fell...

  • A Man Escaped

    Episode 4

    Directed by Robert Bresson • 1956 • France

    With the simplest of concepts and sparest of techniques, Robert Bresson made one of the most suspenseful jailbreak films of all time in A MAN ESCAPED. Based on the account of an imprisoned French Resistance leader, this unbelievably taut and methodical ...

  • Le trou
    Episode 5

    Le trou

    Episode 5

    Directed by Jacques Becker • 1960 • France
    Starring Michel Constantin, Jean Keraudy, Philippe Leroy

    In a Paris prison cell, five inmates use every ounce of their tenacity and ingenuity in an elaborate attempt to tunnel to freedom. Based on the novel by José Giovanni, Jacques Becker’s LE TROU bal...

  • Escape from New York

    Episode 6

    Directed by John Carpenter • 1981 • United States
    Starring Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Isaac Hayes

    It’s the year 1997 and the dystopian hellscape of Manhattan has been turned into a maximum security prison. When the U.S. president’s plane is hijacked and crash lands on the island, it’s up to ha...

  • Down by Law

    Episode 7

    Directed by Jim Jarmusch • 1986 • United States

    Director Jim Jarmusch followed up his brilliant breakout film Stranger Than Paradise with another, equally beloved portrait of loners and misfits in the American landscape. When fate brings together three hapless men--an unemployed disc jockey (T...