Innocence Lost (and Then Found): The Depiction of Wrongful Convictions in Prison Films

  • Kenneth DowlerEmail author


The narratives surrounding wrongful convictions produce compelling drama, which may include elements of mystery, outrage, and human suffering. This drama is even more pronounced when the story is set in a prison environment and the protagonist is an innocent person. In the prison film genre, the innocence of a protagonist is a feature that ensures that audiences can relate and sympathize with his or her predicament. As such, the focus of this chapter will be to examine prison films that feature lead characters that are wrongly incarcerated. Some of the films that will be discussed include: I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932); Each Dawn I Die (1939); Hellgate (1952); Stir Crazy (1980); An Innocent Man (1989); In the Name of the Father (1993); The Shawshank Redemption (1994); Life (1999); The Hurricane (1999); and Conviction (2010). Both character traits, depictions of the prison environment, and common narratives will be explored and discussed in the chapter.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wilfrid Laurier University-BrantfordBrantfordCanada

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