In true crime, various echelons of the genre exist. There are the stories that make you disgusted by human nature and grateful for the criminal justice system. There are other cases that remain unsolved and make you muse over whodunit. And then, there are the tales of wrongful convictions that keep you up at night because you simply can't believe that a legal investigation could fail so drastically. These 14 movies about wrongful convictions will make you enraged, and wanting to fight for justice more than ever.
Most of the time, wrongful conviction stories leave you with mixed feelings. Often when a wrongful conviction comes to light, you're hearing about it because a person is being exonerated for the crime which put them in jail. As exciting as it is that that person is finally receiving justice, it's infuriating that they were sent away for an act they didn't do. It's a shameful facet of the American justice system, and if you're looking for more information on how that all actually happens, each of these movies are worth a watch. These films explore what goes wrong with the criminal justice system, from racial biases to forced/false confessions, and will leave you angry and ready to take action.
1. 'The Central Park Five'
While you patiently await Ava Duvernay's upcoming Netflix series about this horrendous story, you can check out Ken Burns' documentary. It tells the true story of five innocent black men wrongly convicted of raping and murdering a white woman. The movie is available for streaming on Amazon Prime.
Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell star in this fictional film about a woman who attempts to prove her convicted brother's innocence. You can rent it for $3.99 on iTunes or Amazon.
3. 'After Innocence'
As disheartening it is to know that wrongful convictions happen so often, this documentary about people finally receiving the justice they deserve is at least a little bit heartening. Check it out on Netflix.
4. 'The Green Mile'
Based on a Stephen King novel, this movie follows a death-row officer who meets a prisoner named John (Michael Clarke Duncan) who, under supernatural circumstances, reveals that he has been wrongfully convicted. It's a classic movie, and you can stream it on Hulu.
5. 'The Confession Tapes'
This seven-part Netflix series investigates six different cases of people who confessed to crimes that they did not, in fact, commit.
6. 'The Shawshank Redemption'
While this 1994 film suggests that its protagonist, Andy Dufresne, was actually innocent for the crime that put him in jail, some people believe that Andy was a master-manipulator who actually was guilty. The dubiousness of innocence vs. guilt is part of its greatness, though. You can rent it on Amazon or iTunes for $3.99.
7. 'Paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills'
The story of a group of kids wrongly convicted for a murder unfolds over three parts in these documentaries, available on HBO Go and Amazon Prime.
8. 'The Thin Blue Line'
A 1976 murder of a police officer is the subject of this documentary, which reveals a great deal of corruption within the criminal justice system. It's available on Netflix and Hulu for streaming.
9. 'In The Name Of The Father'
This film is based on an autobiography called Proved Innocent: The Story of Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis and Emma Thompson, and you can rent it on Amazon or iTunes.
10. 'An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story'
After spending 25 in prison, convicted of murdering his wife, Michael Morton was proved innocent. The hard-to-believe story unfolds in a documentary that's available on Amazon Prime.
11. 'Amanda Knox'
One of the most notorious wrongful conviction cases in recent history is that of Amanda Knox, and this Netflix documentary tells the full story. It's as frustrating as you'd expect.
12. 'Double Jeopardy'
In this fictional story, Ashley Judd plays a woman who must track down her husband, who framed her as a murderer. It's an exciting thriller, and you can rent it on Amazon or iTunes.
13. 'A Murder In The Park'
An anti-death penalty activist successfully exonerated a man who had been convicted of murder, and this documentary tells the story behind how that happened. It even questions the legitimacy of the exoneration. You can find it on Netflix.
14. 'The Fugitive'
This Harrison Ford movie tells the story of a man who must prove his innocence of a crime he was wrongly convicted of committing. As you can tell from the film's name, he's on the run from the police, and it's a race-for-your life story that you can't forget. You can watch it with a Cinemax subscription or rent it on Amazon and iTunes.
Your blood might boil while you watch all of these movies, whether they're fact or fiction. It's totally worth it, though, for the thrilling look at how things aren't as black and white as you might have originally thought.