FOR every cinematic prison that remains shut, usually caging scantily-clad women, there’s a jail with an open-door policy. Here’s how they rank:
Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, all Batman films
The ball pit at soft play is harder to get out of than Arkham. Inmates spend 20 minutes incarcerated, in full costume, with all equipment kept in a lock-up down the corridor behind a slumbering guard. Then they leave and sign up on the roster of who’s fighting Batman next.
Istanbul Prison, Midnight Express, 1978
Brad Davis spent years suffering in prison after being banged up for drug smuggling. He finally escapes by unlocking a prison door and walking out. Much like the way you broke out of your house this morning by unlocking the door and walking out.
HMP Slade, Porridge, 1979
If you ever get locked up, pray it’s in HMP Slade, with no anal sex in the showers or shanking with a sharpened toothbrush handle. In the movie Ronnie Barker escapes against his will which didn’t happen to the Guildford Four.
Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 2004
The one where Harry, Hermione and the ginger one use the doobrie to do the thingy with the whatsit to reveal the plot point and Gary Oldman breaks out. Everyone thinks Gary’s a baddie but, spoiler alert, he’s a goodie. Like everyone thought Severus Snape was a baddie but, spoiler alert, he’s a goodie.
Shawshank State Penitentiary, The Shawshank Redemption, 1994
All you need to get out of Shawshank is a teeny, tiny hammer, a series of posters and about 20 years. And spending months showering too often after swimming through raw sewage. Bathers at UK coastal resorts sympathise with Andy Dufresne.
Stalag Luft III, The Great Escape, 1963
Extremely difficult to escape from, requiring pommel horses, trousers filled with soil and hundreds of fake documents and items of civilian clothing. The theme tune is still whistled subconsciously by every office worker who dreams of tunnelling from under their desk to the street outside but knows their prison of wages and rent is inescapable.