7 Strange Ways To Survive The Slammer

Bonkers Brit-flick Bronson is out today.
It's ace .

To survive his time inside, Charles Bronson (Tom Hardy) goes batshit crazy, growing a fancy 'tache and generally being mental. Here are some other ways to get through pokey that don't involve facial hair.

Get A Hobby!

The Film: The Birdman Of Alcatraz (1962)

The Con: Richard Stroud (Burt Lancaster), a surly, sweary type who killed a guard and got sentenced to death – commuted to life in solitary.

To avoid going bonkers (well, more than he already seemed to be), Stroud cultivated a passion for bird care. His feathered friends kept him happy, but didn’t exactly please the authorities.

The Suggestion: Use your meagre prison slop rations to attract passing seagulls. Capture one, and raise it like you would a child in your cell.

Just don’t let you cellmate, Buster “Mad Dog” McKean get a hold of little Squawky. Or he’ll be replacing his own meagre prison slop rations with fresh roasted bird in toilet wine sauce. [page-break]

Sing A Song!

The Film: Chicago (2002)

The Con: Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones), facing death row, is making a grab at the fame that could keep her from the noose.

In the music-tinged fantasy brain of fellow prisoner Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger), Velma and some cellmates explain the reasons why their victims- usually cheating hubbies – had it coming.

The Suggestion: Petition the warden for a karaoke machine in the activities room. It’ll take your mind off the years of bird ahead.

Just be warned that if you start belting out selections from Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues, you’re likely to meet the business end of a music-hating screws’ baton.[page-break]

Start A Game!

The Film: The Longest Yard (1974)

The Con: Paul Crewe (Burt Reynolds), a former pro quarterback, is cajoled by the governor into forming a prison team to play American Football.

The cackling boss man’s plan is to have the prisoners pummelled by the guards, and offers Crewe an early release if he’ll throw the game. Crew refuses.

The Suggestion: Rugby seems an unlikely sport given the danger waiver and legal issues wrapped around every aspect of society these days, but teams do indeed exist.

So go ahead and join a team – just watch out for other prisoners looking to settle scores with a bone-crushing knee to the forehead. Oh, and you might get remade with Adam Sandler in the lead. Which is an even worse fate than brain-wrong injuries.[page-break]

Become A Legend!

The Film: Cool Hand Luke (1967)

The Con: Luke (Paul Newman) an inveterate escapee and smart mouth jailbird.

Luke’s quick wit and smart alec side take quite a beating during the film, but he still manages to inspire the rest of the prison even after his will is eventually broken.

The Suggestion: These days, getting a reputation as a troublemaker is probably more likely to end with a series of lectures in someone’s office at all but the most violent prisons. But you could still try a stunt – like hacker Terry Childs , who locked San Francisco city officials out of their own computer system and still refused to give up the passwords when inside.

Just don’t try something like the movie’s infamous egg-eating contest. Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass loons attempted it and it led to vomit flying by the stomach load. [page-break]

Get A Snog!

The Film: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

The Con: Captain James Tiberius Kirk (William Shatner) who is banged up on the prison planet of Rura Penthe after he’s framed for the assassination of the Klingon chancellor.

But Kirk being Kirk, he naturally manages to find a girl, Martia (Iman) among the mixed population and makes with the tongue tussling. Trouble is, it turns out that as an alien shape shifter, “she” is really a “he” (“it”?) and Kirk ends up doing the other thing he does best – fighting.

The Suggestion: This one is a little tougher, given the limited likelihood of you meeting a sexy shape shifter. Or indeed being in a mixed population prison.

Chances are you’ll end up more like Dr Glenn Richie (Ken Marino) in comedy The Ten, and your prison love affair will end up being with someone who looks more like Rob Corddry. [page-break]

Start A Fight!

The Film: Watchmen (2009)

The Con: Walter Kovacs, AKA Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), stripped of his mask and forced to mingle with lots of angry men he helped put away.

When threatened by a fellow inmate in the food queue, Rorschach reacts in predictable style – bashes the guy with his tray, then pours boiling chip oil all over him. Frying tonight!

The Suggestion: Based on Rorschach’s experiences, if you absolutely, positively must start a fight, make sure you have a chip pan handy. Or a toilet and an exposed electrical wire. Or a torn shirt.

To be honest, it helps if you’re a bitter, twisted psycho, too.[page-break]

Make A Break!

The Film: The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Con: Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), the “one innocent man in all of Shawshank”. He’s put away after being found guilty of murdering his wife and her lover.

Andy bides his time, takes the abuse dished out by fellow cons and guards, all the while slowly plotting a complicated escape plan that utilises book-keeping, a poster, a rock hammer and five hundred yards of s**t smelling foulness.

The Suggestion: You will need a poster of Angelina Jolie and about 19 years. Oh, and Morgan Freeman to narrate your toil.

But feel charitable and try to take at least one trusted friend with you. Or a horde of frustrated prisoners will hunt you down on your secluded beach paradise and beat you to death with shards of your own boat.

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The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.