In human nature, there’s this vulnerable spirit within us which relates to the hopelessness of being trapped, or the desperation to survive. We find escape movies so entertaining and exciting because the desire for freedom resonates in us all. Here are five escape movies where regular joes turn into heroes when they’re cornered and need to escape. Be it an escape from war, prison, or other forms of entrapment, these movies show the strength of the human spirit.

Jack Dwyer in No Escape

Jack & Annie Dwyer attempt to lead their children to safety Photo credit: GV.com.sg

Jack & Annie Dwyer attempt to lead their children to safety
Photo credit: GV.com.sg

The latest of all the escape movies, No Escape is an intense international thriller which centers on an American businessman Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) as he, his wife Annie Dwyer (Lake Bell) and children settle into their new home in Southeast Asia. The family suddenly finds themselves in the middle of a violent political uprising, and they must frantically look for a safe escape as rebels mercilessly attack the city, killing foreigners. The straitlaced jack Dwyer turns into a brave hero, trying to keep his family safe.

Thomas in Maze Runner

The day after Thomas arrives, a girl is sent up into the Glade, the first ever. Photo credit: ew.com

The day after Thomas arrives, a girl is sent up into the Glade, the first ever.
Photo credit: ew.com

One of my favourite escape movies last year, is the sci-fi based Maze Runner. Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) is deposited in a community of about 60 teen boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape. He has hardly any memory of the outside world, but manages to piece together fragments of his past with clues he discovers in the maze to find a way to escape.

Ginger and Rocky in Chicken Run

Ginger and Rocky lead the flock to freedom! Photo credit: telegraph.co.uk

Ginger and Rocky lead the flock to freedom!
Photo credit: telegraph.co.uk

The appeal of escape movies has no age barriers. In the animated film Chicken Run, which is completely adorable and exciting even to very young children, Rocky the rooster and Ginger the chicken plan an escape for all the chickens on the farm. They know that if they stay on the farm, they face certain death at the hands of the evil Mr. and Ms. Tweedy, the farm’s owners. Rocky and Ginger bravely lead their fellow chickens in a great escape from the murderous farmers and their farm of doom.

John Brennan in The Next Three Days

John Brennan (Russel Crowe) and his son on a prison visit. Photo credit: cinemablend.com

John Brennan (Russell Crowe) and his son on a prison visit.
Photo credit: cinemablend.com

Life for John (Russell Crowe) and Lara Brennan (Elizabeth Banks) is miserable after she is convicted of a murder she says she did not commit. Three years later while struggling with the demands of work and raising his son alone, John is crushed to find that his wife’s final appeal is rejected. She becomes suicidal, forcing John to exercise the only option he has left: Break her out of prison.


Janusz in The Way Back

Valka (Colin Farrell) is one of the escapees in The Way Back Photo credit: reelz.com

Valka (Colin Farrell) is one of the escapees in The Way Back
Photo credit: reelz.com

Janusz (Jim Sturgess) is imprisoned in a remote Siberian labor camp. Faced with brutal conditions, Janusz is determined to escape. A blizzard provides him with the perfect opportunity, so he and a small group of fellow prisoners make a break for it. Escape, however, is the easy part. Now Janusz and his companions face a 4,000 mile trek on foot through the frozen Himalayas. They must reach India before they can truly be free.