Starred Up (2013)

In the United Kingdom, juveniles which prove too violent for their young offender’s institution are “starred up”, prison slang for being transferred to an adult facility while still under the age of 21.

This film was written by a therapist with first-hand experience of working at a reknowned English prison which has housed some of the country’s most savage criminals.

Starred Up is a violent and frightening ride. But what a well-crafted and acted film. What tension and exhiliration!

Wonderful Cinema strongly recommends you do not ruin the impact directors meticulously plan for you by watching trailers or reading spoilers. For those who can’t resist:

You can find more information on this British film on WikipediaIMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.

Production Details

Title: Starred Up

Director: David Mackenzie

Year/Country: 2013, England

Stars: Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend, Peter Ferdinando, Dennis Spencer (click here for full cast)

Screenplay: Jonathan Asser

Cinematography: Michael McDonough

Editing: Jake Roberts, Nick Emerson

Score: Tony Doogan, David Mackenzie

Language: English


    1. Hi, Kisha! 18 year olds are treated as adults by UK law but if they are sent to prison, they are sent to institutions that hold 18 to 25 year olds, not a full adult prison.

  1. Good one Shims!!!
    I love prison flicks… from the top of my head some nice ones, Ghosts… of the Civil Dead, Un Prophète, Short Eyes, Dog Pound, Hunger… but if only watching one, the master Un condamné à mort s’est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut =)
    All good

    1. Hello, Oh Bearded One! Thank you very much for the tips – I’ve only seen “Un Prophète” out of those, and you are right – great flick!

      If you love prison dramas, you might not have seen a couple of these, listed in order of excellence:

      Cool Hand Luke (1967)

      Papillon (1973)

      Bronson (2008)

      Le Trou (1960)

      Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman (2005)

      American History X (1998)

      The Great Escape (1963)

      Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

      Das Experiment (2001)

      Celda 211 (2009)

      Pierrepoint is not a prison crime drama but the true story of the last British hangman.

      1. We love fucking lists don’t we, yipa nerdy flicks!!!! Je je je
        From those Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman is the only I haven’t seen and just made the 2000th entry in my watchlist, thank you rabid rabito 😛
        I used to keep score of films by theme like prison or NY… remember I had asian and braziliian flicks (like Carandiru or On the Job); but who knows where it went.
        Just remembered one that (despite not that a great flick; the sound design was cool though) impacted me profoundly, even today as I saw it again recently, Konchalovsky’s Runaway Train. That beast of freedom made of twisted iron… piercing through the snow… wowo wow. That and a very young DeMournay. Pity that Konchalovsky’s films got so dated, he did good things.
        Not so long ago saw Apprentice… which despite its flaws is an absolutelly must see… like Newman eating eggs, that’s a timeless classic that even my father enjoyed. Salu2

    1. Yes, I was gobsmacked by Jack O’Connell’s acting chops in this one, and immediately rushed to see ’71 – also a brilliant movie.

      1. ****Agreed. And I was fascinated by all the actors, like wow. The whole thing was so stirring, I was instantly kicking myself for renting instead of BUYING it!!

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