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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


A bus stops at a women's prison, and the new arrivals get out, as a voice growls, "Pile out, you tramps, it's the end of the line."


Women in Prison films have always represented a curiosity for movie-goers as far back as vintage cinema. These include some early, less exploitive representations like the Pre-Code's Paid with Joan Crawford and Ladies They Talk About with Barbara Stanwyck, later Edgar Ulmer's 1943 film Girls in Chains, 1950's Caged starring Eleanor Parker, Agnes Moorehead, Ellen Corby, Jan Sterling, Sheila MacRae and the imposing 6' 2", 230 pounds Hope Emerson plus 1955's Women's Prison with Ida Lupino, Jan Sterling, Cleo Moore, Audrey Totter and Phyllis Thaxter.


'Women in Prison' films evolved through the 60's they morphed into another sub-genre that crosses over from broader classifications of Grindhouse, Exploitation, and Sexploitation frequently directed by Jess Franco or Bruno Mattei. Roger Corman in the US saw the appeal releasing alluring titles like The Big Doll House, Women in Cages, and Caged Heat with actresses Pam Grier, Anitra Ford and Judith Brown often directed by Jack Hill.


There are direct links to Nunsploitation and its fetishistic deviations using majority all-female characters seduced to lesbianism or various perversities in isolated, self-sequestered, convent locations. They were frequently a part of Nazispoitation (Camp 7 The Ilsa series - Ilsa: The Wicked Warden, Ilsa: Harem Keeper for the Oil Shieks, Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS, Ilsa the Tigress of Siberia) - utilizing similar confinement formulas, set in concentration and/or death camps, often emphasizing sadism, bondage and slavery (see 1943's unique Women  in Bondage). Even, Blaxspoitation (Black Mama, White Mama) or Hicksploitation (Jackson Country Jail) can have 'Women in Prison' films reside in or near these relatable niche-genres.


Japanese studios Toho and Nikkatsu saw the appeal producing a number of 'Pinky Violence' / Female Prisoner Scorpion films from the late 60's to mid 70's with prison settings and revenge-based rival girl-gangs conflicting. These shouldn't be confused with the extreme and more graphic Roman Porno (or Pinku Eiga) films, like Fairy in a Cage or Story of a Woman in Jail, that have obvious crossovers. There are also prison-revenge themes in Seijun Suzuki's 1960 Smashing the 0-Line.


Television capitalized on the genre's strong appeal including Australia's long-running Prisoner Cell Block H (with almost 700 episodes!), the hard-hitting 8-Season British TV series Bad Girls and the highly acclaimed comedy-crime-drama Orange Is The New Black.


There are modern film examples, like 1993's Prison Heat, 1999's Brokedown Palace, 2008's Affinity , 2003's Monster or even 2002's musical Chicago but our list sticks with more organically derived Women in Prison cinema. We've added Boxsets, a few books and a Poster Section and will update this page as we discover more.


NOTE: These are select 'Women in Prison' films available on Blu-ray or DVD in chronological order.

-Gary Tooze




Ladies They Talk About


Girls in Chains (1943)



Lady Gangster


Women's Prison


I Want To Live (1958)

House of Women (1960)

The Smashing Bird I Used to Know aka Girls of Shame (1969)

99 Women


Love Camp 7 (1969)

 The Big Doll House (1971)

Women in Cages


 The Big Bird Cage (1972)

Prison Girls (1972)

Sweet Sugar (1972)

Black Mama, White Mama (1973)

Girls in Chains (1973)

Caged Heat


Riot in a Women's Prison


Escape From Women's Prison


Fugitive Girls


Barbed Wire Dolls


Jackson County Jail


Ilsa The Butcher aka Wanda, the Wicked Warden


Sexy Sisters aka The Devilish Sisters aka Satanic Sisters (1977)

Women in Cellblock 9 (1978)

Human Experiments (1979)

Bare Behind Bars


Caged Women aka Gefangene Frauen


Sadomania aka Hellhole Women


Ten Violent Women


Violence in a Women's Prison (1982)

The Concrete Jungle (1982)

Women's Prison Massacre




The Naked Cage


Reform School Girls


Caged Fury 


Chained Heat 2


The Jail: The Women's Hell (2006)

  Asian including "Pinky Violence" Women in Prison films:

 Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion


Jailhouse 41 (1972)

 Beast Stable (1973)

 #701's Grudge Song


The Bamboo House of Dolls


Fairy in a Cage (1977)

Female Convict Scorpion (2008)

Television :

 Prisoner Cell Block H, Set 1 (1979)

Prisoner Cell Block H, Set 2 (1980)

 Prisoner Cell Block H, Set 3 (1986)

Prisoner Cell Block H, Set 4 (1986)

Prisoner Cell Block H, Set 5 (1986)

Prisoner Cell Block H, Set 6 (1986)

Prisoner Cell Block H, Set 7 (1985)

Prisoner: Cell Block H - Complete Collection - 174-DVD Box Set


Bad Girls: The Complete Collection (18 DVDs)

 Orange Is The New Black - Season 1

Orange Is The New Black - Season 2

 Orange Is The New Black - Season 3

Orange Is The New Black - Season 4

Orange Is The New Black - Season 5


Chained Heat
(1983) Red Heat (1985) Jungle Warriors (1984)

The Women In Cages Collection:
Women in Cages
(1971) The Big Bird Cage (1972) The Big Doll House (1971)

"The Tortured Angels," "Escape From Women's Prison," and "Women's Camp"

Female Prisoner Scorpion:
Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion
(1972) Jailhouse 41 (1972) Beast Stable (1973) #701's Grudge Song (1973)


Babes Behind Bars by Allan and Lake, Lester Mora (1962)

Fecund Horror: Slashers, Rape/Revenge, Women in Prison, Zombies and Other Exploitation Dreck

by Noah Berlatsky

Jess Franco: The World's Most Dangerous Filmmaker by Kristofer Todd Upjohn

"The hard-bitten story of a young girl thrown into the most vicious web of carnality ever imagined... a woman's prison." "...the intersection of horror tropes with same-sex attraction and "gay utopia", and the freeingly subversive gender fuckery of certain exploitation films..." Kristofer Upjohn celebrates Jess Franco in a collection of essays that examines his individual movies for the first time not just an artistic perspective...

Posters / VHS Covers Section

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Gary Tooze

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