Von Ryan's Express
The Prisoners: A US army pilot, Colonel Joseph Ryan, is shot down over Italy and taken to a prisoner-of-war camp.
The Righteous Breakout: On a prisoner train bound for Innsbruck, Ryan and his allies switch their train onto a different track destined for Switzerland, confusing the Germans momentarily giving them the advantage to break free.
Punch The Sky When: The Germans chase the prisoners through the train just as it passes into Switzerland, ensuring their safety and final freedom.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
The Prisoners: A getaway driver (later known as The Gringo) is caught on the Mexican border with a vast sum of cash.
He’s incarcerated under false charges and the dirty Mexican officials keep the loot.
The Righteous Breakout: Doing over prison king Javi, who aims to steal the liver of a young boy, The Gringo rescues the little tyke before escaping in an ambulance with the kid and his mum.
Punch The Sky When: The Gringo’s ex-partner receives his comeuppance while he is brought a beer in his beach hammock by the kid’s mum. Ah, bliss.
The Prisoners: U.S. Navy pilot Dieter Dengler is shot down over Laos in 1966 and captured by the Pathet Lao, then thrown in prison after he refuses to sign a statement condemning the actions of the U.S.
The Righteous Breakout: Seizing a nail to unlock their shackles, Dengler and his fellow inmates tunnel out through a hole in the barracks.
They steal guns, attack the unknowing guards and create a raft to sail on towards Thailand.
Punch The Sky When: The only one to survive, Dieter, on the verge of collapse flags down a U.S. military helicopter and is finally rescued.
He still manages to fit in eating a live snake moments before that.
Tango And Cash
The Prisoners: Two LAPD detectives, Gabriel Cash and Ray Tango, are framed for murdering an FBI agent by a criminal they’ve tangled with on many an occasion; crime lord Yves Perret.
The Righteous Breakout: Cash decides to escape after discovering his old friend and Assistant Warden has been killed by the inmates, who then come after him.
Once Tango comes to his aid, the two climb a huge tower, use their wallets for a makeshift zipline on a tension wire and crash to freedom outside the prison walls.
Punch The Sky When: They kill the evil Perret and walk off after being fully vindicated of all charges.
With a big hairdo-wearin’ Teri Hatcher.
The Prisoners: A herd of chickens imprisoned in a Yorkshire hen house face a gloomy future that involves being baked beneath a buttery crust at Gas Mark 5.
The Righteous Breakout: With several failed escape attempts beneath their wings, the chickens group together to build a plane.
Roping in the two wheeler-dealer mice and tying up farmer Tweedy, they fly out of the coop to a grassy paradise.
Punch The Sky When: Rocky Rhodes soars over the fence on his tricycle to save leader of the pack, Ginger from Mrs. Tweedy’s cleaver.
I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang
The Prisoners: Struggling to hold down a job, First World War veteran, Sgt. James Allen is caught inadvertently in the middle of a robbery with another drifter and is sentenced to ten years in a labour camp.
The Righteous Breakout: A fellow prisoner weakens his shackles, allowing him to slip them off when he goes to take a break in the bushes.
He escapes, grabbing clothes from a nearby clothesline, trudges through swamps and evades the prison guards by hiding underwater.
Punch The Sky When: Allen goes for a haircut and shave at a barber shop, and a policeman enters describing the escaped convict. Who no longer resembles the description. Talk about a close shave.
The Prisoners: Factory worker, THX-1138, from a future wherein all emotions are prohibited and regulated drug taking is necessary for compliance, ceases taking medications and is subsequently imprisoned.
The charges specifically: drug evasion and malicious sexual perversions.
The Righteous Breakout: Trapped in a ‘limbo’ prison which is essentially an endless white space, he just walks out after finding a doorway. He then battles the police, steals a car, crashes the car then climbs a ladder to escape the underground city he has been imprisoned in.
Punch The Sky When: THX-1138 leaves the subterranean hell, makes his way above ground and reaches a beautiful blazing sun.
Snow White and the Huntsman
The Prisoners: Daughter of the long dead King, Snow White is incarcerated in a tower by her wicked stepmother Ravenna for being too beautiful.
The Righteous Breakout: Yanking out a loose nail from her window, White stabs the face of Ravenna’s brother Finn, locks him in the dungeon and flees her room. She then puts all of her trust into a couple of birds to show her the way through a hole in the outer wall, where she slides into a sewer pipe to freedom.
Punch The Sky When: She dives into the ocean, after crawling through the waste tunnel, finally escaping the clutches of the wretched Ravenna.
Escape From New York
The Prisoners: An ex-war hero charged with robbing a federal reserve, Snake Plissken is dropped into the Island of Manhattan Maximum Security Prison to bust out the President, whose helicopter had crash landed.
The Righteous Breakout: After freeing the President from the Duke Of New York, Snake and a couple of dodgy-yet-handy mates drive across one of the minefield bridges before the cab explodes, then hike it on foot to the perimeter wall, where the President is pulled over to safety.
Punch The Sky When: The ungrateful and dismissive President goes to play a damning cassette for the entire world to hear, and instead an old swing song blares out. Snake walks away, ripping up the real tape.
The Way Back
The Prisoners: A group of Prisoners-of-war are held captive in a Siberian Gulag during World War II. The leader Janusz is held by the Soviets for refusing to admit he is a spy after they interrogate and torture his wife into implicating him. He is sentenced to 20 years.
The Righteous Breakout: During a terrible snowstorm, they break out into the nearby forest by eluding the guards on a final watch.
Under the woody canopy, they strip bark from tree trunks to shield their faces from the blizzard - a definite advantage over their pursuers.
Punch The Sky When: Fifty years after escaping and waiting for his home country to be free, Janusz finally arrives home.
La Grande Illusion
The Prisoners: During the First World War, two French aviators, Captain de Boeldieu and Lieutenant Maréchal are shot down and taken to a Prisoner-of-war camp where they meet wealthy French Jew Lieutenant Rosenthal.
The Righteous Breakout: De Boeldieu distracts the guards by making a commotion high up in the prison, so Marechal and Rosenthal can escape unnoticed by lowering themselves out of the fortress down a homemade rope.
Punch The Sky When: The two escapees are fired at by German patrol guards, who are ordered to cease firing and the fugitives walk across into the safety of Switzerland.
The Prisoners: After borrowing the face of his nemesis, Castor Troy, FBI anti-terrorism specialist Sean Archer is throw into prison for Troy’s murderous shenanigans during a jet getaway gone wrong.
The Righteous Breakout: Incites a riot in the prison so he’s taken for electroshock therapy wherein his magnetic boots are removed. This gives him greater mobility in order to break away from the guards. He then overrides their computer system enabling him to escape.
Punch The Sky When: Charging across the prison rooftop, pursued by a helicopter, he dives from the building in slo-mo before landing in the ocean.
The Next Three Days
The Prisoners: The happily married Lara Brennan is convicted for murdering her boss after an incident at work and sentenced to life in prison.
The Righteous Breakout: Her husband, an ex-prison escape artist turned college professor busts her out by obtaining passports, handguns, money, before falsifying blood tests so his wife is transported to a prison hospital. En route, he clambers aboard and breaks her out.
Punch The Sky When: Moments away from freedom, the two make their way through customs and seconds after clearing it, their mugshots appear on the border patrol computers.
Skin of the teeth, close shave, a hair's breadth....nah, none of 'em cut the mustard.
The Prisoners: Sweet lil’ clownfish Nemo is scooped from the ocean by divers and sentenced to life inside a dentist’s fish tank who happens to have a niece with grabby hands.
The Righteous Breakout: Nemo fakes his death after the dentist scoops him into a bag as a gift for his niece.
With help from the leader of the Tank Gang, Gill, who leaps out of the tank onto Nemo, the bag splits and he catapults into the sink where he swims away into the ocean.
Punch The Sky When: Nemo reunites with his father, Marlin, and the rest of the tank fish all escape into Sydney Harbour.
The Dark Knight Rises
The Prisoners: Defender of Gotham City, Bruce Wayne, is locked up by Bane in a supposedly inescapable ancient prison called The Pit so he can fulfil his mission to destroy the city.
The Righteous Breakout: Hearing the inspirational story of Ra Al Ghul’s child who after great strength of spirit, managed to escape, Batman trains for five months in order to finally claw his way out of the dungeon.
Punch The Sky When: After many failed attempts, Wayne finally crawls up and out of the hole, propelled by a colony of helpful bats, ready to take down his jailor.
The Prisoners: Framed for his wife’s murder, Dr. Richard Kimble is found guilty of first degree murder and sent to Death Row.
The Righteous Breakout: While being escorted to prison, another prisoner fakes a medical complaint then stabs a guard with a shiv, distracting the driver. The bus careens down an embankment, and Kimble escapes moments before the bus is hit by a train. Talk about a close call.
Punch The Sky When: Kimble leaps into the spillway after he is backed onto the ledge of a dam by U.S. Marshal Gerard, who smugly believes he’s got his man.
The Count Of Monte Cristo
The Prisoners: Second mate for a French trading outfit, Edmond Dantes is charged with treason, as he is believed to be a spy for Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Righteous Breakout: When the tunnel he and imprisoned priest Faria try to escape through collapses, killing Faria, the guards throw his dead comrade into a body bag. Edmond jumps into the body bag and is tossed into the ocean, where he drifts ashore.
Punch The Sky When: Edmond gets his revenge on the traitorous friend who landed him in the slammer by bankrupting him once he’s free.
The Prisoners: During World War II, two American airmen Sefton and Dunbar are held in a German luftwaffe prisoner-of-war camp.
The Righteous Breakout: Dunbar manages to sneak into a water tower masked under a cloud of smoke.
That night, Sefton escapes through tunnels underneath the barracks to rescue him. While the remaining prisoners throw out duplicitous arse Price, who is shot by his own side, Sefton and Dunbar cut through the fence and make their way to freedom.
Punch The Sky When: Sefton delivers his parting words after being exonerated by his fellow prisoners for being the snitch: “If I ever bump into any of you bums on a street corner...let’s just pretend we never met before.”
The Prisoners: An American college student, Billy Hayes tries to leave Istanbul with 2 kilos of hash strapped to his chest. He is found guilty and sentenced to 30 years for smuggling.
The Righteous Breakout: After a visit from his girlfriend motivates him, Billy fights with a guard after trying to bribe him. He ends up killing the guard on a coat hook, stealing his uniform and walking out the door.
Punch The Sky When: It is revealed he successfully made it home three weeks later.
The Prisoners: Safecracker Henri ‘Papillon’ Charriere is unjustly convicted and sentenced to life for killing a pimp. His ally at the French penal colony, counterfeiter Louis Dega is serving time for embezzlement and forgery.
The Righteous Breakout: During a concert at the colony, they make their escape by punching out guards, trading uniforms and hightailing it over a wall, before getting into a boat laid on by a bribed guard.
Punch The Sky When: Papillon dives into the ocean, and sails away to freedom on his coconut raft defiantly shouting “Hey you bastards, I’m still here!”
The Defiant Ones
The Prisoners: A downtrodden farmer, Noah Cullen does time for assaulting the man who came to repossess his land. His chain mate and self-confessed stealer, John “Joker” Jackson gets caught during a robbery.
The Righteous Breakout: When the prison van they are being transported in gets sideswiped off the road, and crashes down an embankment they make a run for it.
Punch The Sky When: Joker leaves a sweet ride to go and help Cullen, after which Cullen hops down from a speeding train to stay with the dying Joker. They each give up their own chance at freedom to stay together.
The Prisoners: Out to clear his name, CIA Agent Marion Snow is tasked with infiltrating a maximum security penitentiary to retrieve the President’s daughter Emilie, who unluckily decided to visit the day the prisoners decided to break free.
The Righteous Breakout: Donning cunning disguises and using oil to mask Emilie’s hair colour, Snow busts her out from the raging prisoners and the two hurtle back to earth in fetching space suits.
Punch The Sky When: Snow sets up his supposed friend, Shaw, revealing that it was he who framed Snow to begin with.
Reach For The Sky
The Prisoners: A Royal Air Force Wing Commander, Douglas Bader fights in the Battle of Britain before being taken down over France becoming a prisoner-of-war.
The Righteous Breakout: Convalescing in the prison hospital, he ties a bunch of bed sheets together and shimmies down out of the window before taking refuge in a nearby outhouse.
Punch The Sky When: On the anniversary of the Battle of Britain, Group Captain Bader is gifted the honour of leading a flypast of London.
The Running Man
The Prisoners: Honest cop Ben Richards is thrown inside Wilshire Labor Camp after refusing to open fire on unarmed civilians during a food riot.
The Righteous Breakout: He starts a staged fight with inmate Laughlin in order to get the other prisoners riled up, and has another ally, Weiss, steal a computer after peeking over a guard’s shoulder to get the perimeter deactivation code.
Punch The Sky When: Throngs of prisoners who've lived in constant fear of their necks exploding, charge free. All the while Richards smiles, knowing he too is a free man (for now...)
Cool Hand Luke
The Prisoners: A bored, drunken Lucas Jackson one night sabotages a parade of parking meters, and is sentenced to two years in a Florida chain gang prison.
The Righteous Breakout: After two unsuccessful escape attempts, he steals a prison truck while tricking the boss into thinking he’s transformed into a subservient lackey.
Punch The Sky When: Luke brings comrade Dragline along for his third and final escape, proving to his fellow inmates that he’d never once given up hope.
The Prisoners: Skip Donahue and Harry Monroe, out of work actors who take a gig dressing up for a bank, have their costumes stolen by bank robbers. They are thrown in the slammer for 125 years for robbery. Bit steep, if we do say so.
The Righteous Breakout: Using the prison metal shop to acquire the tools for their break, the duo escape during a rodeo wherein they distract the guards and are helped by one of the prisoner’s wives and fly down chutes to freedom.
Punch The Sky When: Their lives fall back into place as their lawyer’s cousin Meredith not only tells them the real crooks have been caught, but that she’ll head to Hollywood with them.
The Truman Show
The Prisoners: An unsuspecting prisoner from birth, Truman Burbank is held captive inside a giant TV studio universe created by producer Christof, who broadcasts his star’s every move across the world.
The Righteous Breakout: Evading the cameras, he escapes through a secret tunnel in his basement making his way to the Santa Maria boat in the hopes of sailing away.
Christof’s staged storm spurring on his determination, he rides it out, until it subsides and he makes his way to the real world through an exit door.
Punch The Sky When: Truman delivers his catchphrase line “In case I don’t see you...good afternoon, good evening and good night,” as he walks to freedom.
Toy Story 3
The Prisoners: A handful of sentient children’s toys, including Woody, Buzz and Jessie are outgrown by their owner, Andy and taken to Sunnyside Daycare. The toy equivalent to Guantanamo.
The Righteous Breakout: A complex and elaborate scheme wherein each member of the gang manipulates their captors culminates in a brush with death at the Sunnyside incinerator before the cute lil Aliens rescue them with a claw. The gang hunt down a garbage truck and head back to Andy’s house.
Punch The Sky When : The toys find a new home with Andy’s cousin, Bonnie, instead of boring themselves to tears in the attic with an old Atari that doesn’t have the right AC adaptor.
The Great Escape
The Prisoners: A band of allied Prisoners-of-war during World War II are recaptured by the Germans and sent to a high security Stalag in Poland.
The Righteous Breakout: After Hilts agrees to escape and be recaptured to secure mapping, they finally escape through a series of intricate tunnels beneath the barracks into the nearby woods.
Punch The Sky When: Danny and Willie find a rowboat and paddle off towards the Baltic, eventually finding refuge via boarding a Swedish merchant ship. Sedgwick makes it to the Spanish border with the help of the French resistance.
The Shawshank Redemption
The Prisoners: A banker wrongly charged with the murder of his wife and her lover, Andy Dufresne is found guilty and locked up in Shawshank Penitentiary.
The Righteous Breakout: Securing a rock hammer, Andy scrapes away for months at his cell wall beneath a Rita Hayworth poster, finally making his break after he sets up the Warden for embezzlement. A well-timed thunderstorm aids him in breaking into a sewage pipe.
Punch The Sky When: Crawling through a tunnel of sewage, after months of degradation at the hands of the Warden, Andy emerges from the pipe, raising his arms to the sky as the rain washes him clean of Shawshank.