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Five great British prison films

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starred up

To celebrate the release of Starred Up, join us as we rank the daddies of the British prison movie.

Early reviews for this week’s Starred Up’s have been positive, with the film offering a potentially unique perspective on the prison genre. It’s because of this warm reception that we decided to look back on other British prison films, whereby filmmakers have used the prison setting to explore both the system and the individual. Here are the top five.

 

5. Scum (1979)

scum ray winstone is the daddy now

When first released, Scum was met with such controversy that infamous British campaigner Mary Whitehouse tried to have it banned, and when released on VHS in the 1980s it became known as a video nasty – the film’s tagline, “the film they tried to ban,” was an example of distributors using the controversy to gain notoriety. It’s easy to see why Scum was controversial; from the young Ray Winstone’s introduction, to the sociopathic guards, dubbed ‘the screws’, emotionally and physically beating down young offenders, it’s a dog-eat-dog world inside the corrupted borstal system. Scum’s not easy viewing, but is nonetheless rewarding.

 

Featured image: Fox Searchlight

Inset image: Blue Underground

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