Sociological and legal aspects of "prison movies"


  • Rudolf Kasinec Comenius University in Bratislava, Faculty of Law
  • Tomáš Mészáros Comenius University in Bratislava, Faculty of Law



movies, prison, prisoner, legal problems, punishment, law and art, legal theory, French penitentiary, American penitentiary, sociology, Présumé coupable, Shot Caller


The paper focuses on the cinematic depiction of the various problems of the European and the American penitentiary systems.
The paper presents an analysis of two movies – one relating to civil European legal system and the other one from the area of American legal culture – on purpose. Our ambition was to compare two different approaches to prison theme and subsequently to illustrate the diversity of conditions in prisons facilities, the regress of individuals in “hostile” territory and others interesting but also unsettling consequences of life in prison.


BENNETT, J. The Good, the Bad and Ugly: The Media in Prison Films. In: The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 45(2), 2006, p. 97-115. DOI:

BOUGADI, S. G. Fictional Representation of Prison in Films and TV’s Series Genre: Public and Academic Perceptions of Prison, In: Forensic Research & Criminology International Journal, Vol. 2 Issue 1, 2016. DOI:

OLESON, J., DAWN, K. C. Prison life in popular culture: From the Big House to Orange is the New Black, In: Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, Vol 49, Issue 2, 2015, pp. 303 – 305. DOI:

PENFOLD-MOUNCE, R. Celebrity Culture and Crime: The Joy of Transgression. New York: PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, p.86.

RAFTER, N., BROWN, M. Criminology goes to the movies: crime theory and popular culture, New York: New York University Press, 2011.

ROCKELL, B. A. Theoretical and Cultural Dimensions of the Warehouse Philosophy of Punishment, In: Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, vol. 16, issue 1.




How to Cite

Kasinec, R., & Mészáros, . T. (2019). Sociological and legal aspects of "prison movies". Bratislava Law Review, 3(2), 91–98.

Funding data