23. Abashiri Prison (1965)

Director: Teruo Ishii

Ken Takakura stars in Abashiri Prison as Shinichi Tachibana, an obedient prisoner who has six months left until freedom. Unfortunately, he gets handcuffed to Gunda, a hardboiled yardfather with planning of escaping alongside other inmates. Lest you think we're talking about The Great Escape, though, Abashiri Prison differs from that classic through its snowy weather and multiple inmates on the run.

Although it's not the best work from either director Teruo Ishii or Takakura, Abashiri Prison touches upon many of the genre’s now-staple features (manliness, codes of honor, righteous outlaws), and helped to make both Ishii and Takakura two of the genre's most familiar names.