This week, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer announced that they’re planning a reality show called The Great Escape, in which contestants will be challenged to escape from movie-inspired settings—prisons, islands, deserts—and rewarded with a cash prize if they do. Since we love Ron Howard, and we love movies, and we love escapes, here are 15 of the best cinematic getaways.
1. The Shawshank Redemption
Check your friends’ Facebook profiles, and more likely than not they’ll have The Shawshank Redemption listed under their “Favorite Movies.” We’ll let Morgan Freeman do the recap: “In 1966, Andy Dufresne escaped from Shawshank Prison. All they found of him was a muddy set of prison clothes, a bar of soap, and an old rock hammer, damn near worn down to the nub. I remember thinking it would take a man 600 years to tunnel through the wall with it. Old Andy did it in less than 20.”
2. Ocean’s Eleven
Admit it: Even though you’ve probably seen Ocean’s Eleven at least, well, 11 times, that part at the end where the casino robbery goes down and Brad, George and company snatch millions right out from under Andy Garcia’s nose never gets old.
When fighting off a ship full of pirates, you’ve got to think on your feet. This is especially true when you and your friends are a bunch of scruffy pre-teens whose leader is a red-mohawked skate punk in the throes of adolescent acridity. Lost Boy Thud Butt had the right idea when, during a battle with the sea scoundrels, he rolled himself into a ball and toppled his enemies like bowling pins.
4. Escape From New York
In John Carpenter’s dystopian film, Kurt Russell as “Snake” saves the President of the U.S., taken hostage in a futuristic New York City converted into a maximum security prison.
5. The Count of Monte Cristo
When Edmond Dantès escapes from Château d’If after thirteen years in prison, he hides the dead priest’s body and then sows himself into the body bag. Then, as the guards are about to throw him off the cliff, he grabs the keys on the warden’s belt, taking the keys and the warden off the cliff with him.