- Important to remember: the Geneva Conventions are treaties that set standards for how PoWs are supposed to be treated. They haven't always been honored — both in fiction and in Real Life. Camp guards have figured that it's Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught — but if someone does get caught, it's Serious Business of the "kiss your military career goodbye" variety. Similarly, members of most militaries are taught that the first duty of any prisoner of war is to attempt to escape their captors and return to their unit. The more successful escape artists have figured that it's Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught — but if someone does get caught, it's Serious Business of the "kiss your freedom or even your life goodbye" variety.
Works Featuring the PoW Camp:
open/close all folders
- Several issues of Jonah Hex deal with Jonah's experiences in the Union prison camp of Fort Charlotte during the American Civil War.
- One that the Grey Smurfs set up for the captured Smurfs in The Smurfs story "The Smurf Threat".
- The Transformers (IDW) continuity has one for each faction, Styx for the Decepticons and Garrus-9 for the Autobots. Both are targeted by the opposing sides for prison breaks.
- Jon Sable, Freelance: In "M.I.A", Jon goes back to Vietnam in search of missing P.O.W.s and breaks into a camp still holding American servicemen.
- Another Time, Another Place has an offscreen PoW camp that houses some of the prisoners working in the village.
- The Bridge on the River Kwai: Captured British soldiers are forced to build a railroad bridge by a Japanese officer.
- The Burmese Harp is about a Japanese unit held in a PoW camp in Burma after the end of the war.
- The British war film The Captive Heart (1946), starring Michael Redgrave and his real life wife, Rachel Kempson, is about a Czech soldier who escapes from a German concentration camp and steals the identity of a dead British soldier to mingle in with British PoWs.
- The Colditz Story, from 1955, is about British, Dutch, French and Polish officers in the infamous Colditz Castle Camp. The stroy is not centered around one escape attempt, but several, reflecting the many schemes which were hatched in the real-life Colditz Camp.
- Fate of a Man (aka Destiny of a Man) is a film about a Russian soldier's experiences in various German PoW camps—and it is a very dark story, since Germans were far more brutal to their Russian prisoners in World War II than they were to prisoners of the western Allies.
- The Grand Illusion: A 1937 film set during World War One.
- The Great Escape Dramatized account of a major breakout by mostly British prisoners from a German PoW Camp.
- The Great Raid: A 2005 dramatization of the 1945 liberation of Camp Cabanatuan in the Philippines.
- In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Blondie and Tuco end up in a Union PoW camp after their scavenging of Confederate uniforms backfires on them. Angel Eyes is running the show. It's nasty.
- Escape to Victory (Victory in North America). Most of the movie takes place in a World War II Nazi PoW camp, where a group of Allied prisoners train to play in a soccer game vs. a German team.
- Hart's War: Immediately after the start of the Battle Of The Bulge, Lt. Hart is sent to a camp where there is an escape attempt brewing. One prisoner murders another to keep him silent and Hart must conduct the court martial.
- Interestingly, the adjoining camp filled with Polish PoWs is run more like a concentration camp, complete with prisoners not being fed and being forced to work in a nearby munitions factory.
- Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence: A 1983 film set in a Japanese camp in Java. Stars David Bowie.
- Red Tails: Junior is forced to bail out and ends up being the only black prisoner in a camp full of embittered white officers. He is warmly welcomed by the other prisoners, because there's no way a black prisoner could be a German spy.
- Stalag 17 After a failed escape attempt, American prisoners suspect a traitor tipped off the Germans.
- The Wooden Horse, made in 1950, probably the Ur-Example of the British PoW Movie.
- Two Arabian Knights (1927) is a comedy featuring two American doughboys who escape from a German PoW camp before getting up to other amusing hijinks.
- Very Important Person is a comedy about a scientist vital to British aircraft research who is shot down on a ride-along on a bombing raid. Imprisoned according to his false identity as a Naval officer, he initially riles up his fellow inmates but when his true identity is revealed, they agree to help him escape.
- Unbroken: After crashing at sea, US Olympian turned military aviator Louis Zamperini finds himself in a liferaft before being captured by the Japanese Navy.
- Andersonville is a novel by MacKinlay Kantor concerning the Andersonville prison.
- The beta plot of Tom Clancy's Without Remorse is about a group of American prisoners in a secret PoW camp in North Vietnam during The Vietnam War, and an attempt to rescue them. The prisoners are kept in isolation from each other; however, they are not tortured, because the GRU (Russian military intelligence) officer there believes that the best way to get information from them is to get the prisoners to let down their guard by treating the prisoners well and acting friendly.
- Days of Infamy is a two-novel Alternate History of the initial stages of the Pacific War by Harry Turtledove. It features Japanese internment camps in Hawaii, which, as you might guess, are as brutal as their Asian counterparts in China and Burma.
- Red Cap is a Historical Fiction Children's Literature novel by G. Clifton Wisler. The main character is a drummer boy that ends up in the Andersonville prison camp.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe:
- In the X-Wing Series, Ysanne Isard's prison Lusankya is part this, part prison for political dissidents, and part Manchurian Agent factory.
- The Courtship of Princess Leia features a large political camp on the planet Dathomir. It was taken over by the native Force-sensitive Nightsisters, prompting the Emperor to put the world under interdiction - there was only room for one Dark Side-using megalomaniac in his galaxy, thank you very much.
- A chapter in one of the later New Jedi Order books takes place inside a camp administered by the Yuuzhan Vong.
- Several characters in Harry Turtledove's various series spend time in one PoW camp or another. Often, the viewpoint character from a losing side (Japanese in End of The Beginning, Confederate States Army in Timeline-191, and Gyongosian in the Derlavian War) reflects with dismay on what the luxurious prison camp shows about the relative wealth of the two sides.
- Honor Harrington has these in the background. The events of the first book are used as a pre-text for not sending the lead character to one of these when she is captured by the enemy while much latter on having to build one on very short notice after defeating and capturing a numerically superior force mostly intact is something of a minor headache for Michelle Henke.
- 'King Rat' by James Clavell tells the story of a WWII Japanese camp for multi-national PO Ws. The story focuses around the elaborate schemes and followings of one of the American PO Ws.
Live Action TV
- The 1996 TV Movie Andersonville, directed by John Frankenheimer, tells the story of the notorious Confederate prison camp.
- British series Colditz is about the German PoW camp of the same name. It is partly based on the film The Colditz Story which itself was based on a book by that name.
- Hogan's Heroes Comic misadventures of prisoners trying to disrupt the German war effort from right under their noses.
- The Ripping Yarns episode "Escape from Stalag Luft 112B" was set in a PoW camp.
- The season 7 Stargate SG-1 episode "Orpheus" showed a camp run by the System Lord Ba'al.
- "The Great Potty Escape" was Michael Bentine's Potty Time's comedic take on Colditz.
- JAG: In "King of the Fleas", paraplegic Vietnam veteran Roscoe Martin tells Harm about his experiences as a PoW and the Despair Event Horizon it was. It all comes down to that he’s seeking legal representation for a fateful stabbing he had committed the same day on a Vietnamese immigrant, who actually turned out to have been the camp commander.
- In general, it's pretty common in strategy video games to have PoW on some maps that you can rescue to add to your army. Why their weapons were stored close enough to the PoW Camp that they could retrieve them is a question you should not ask.
- A Dummied Out feature in Command & Conquer: Generals allowed the basic infantry for each side to subdue enemy infantry, which was then ready to be picked up by a PoW truck to a faction specific building (the PoW Camp for the USA, the Prison for the GLA, the Propaganda Center for China), which would charge a faction specific power.
- In Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, one of the missions revolves around storming an enemy PoW camp to free your soldiers in the middle of a snowstorm.
- More than one game in the Call of Duty franchise have featured PoW camps.
- The aptly named cult classic 6th generation game Prisoner Of War was set in a PoW camp, and cast the player as an American airman with the objective of escaping.
- A level in Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader involves a raid on an Imperial PoW camp near Kessel.
- Commandos has one that you need to rescue all of the prisoners from, as well as two of your squad. This is a Shout-Out to The Great Escape, complete with a prisoner named McQueen as well as a mole.
- In the Fallout series' backstory, an increasingly-fascist United States of America erected a great many of these during its final war with China, to contain Chinese-Americans suspected of being foreign agents. You can visit a few of them in the games: Turtledove Detainment Camp in Fallout 3's Point Lookout expansion is located in a miserable swamp that was simultaneously used as a prison and toxic dumping site, while in Fallout: New Vegas: Old World Blues, the Bit Empty's "Little Yangtze" internment camp supplied human subjects for the research center's twisted experiments. These camps are still populated, 200 years later, by prisoners ghoulified by the nuclear war.
- The classic arcade game Rush'n Attack has you trying to "Rescue the prisoners of war"note
- The aptly named POW: Prisoner of War from SNK starts in one.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- In the "Puppet Master" episode, Hama tells the gang how she, and the other water benders from the Southern Water Tribe, were rounded up and taken prisoner by the Fire Nation. There, they were kept in cages, with their hands shackled, so they couldn't bend. The warden even pumped in dry air as an added measure. And while they were given food and water, it was only enough to keep them alive, but just barely.
- An earlier episode had a similar camp for earth benders. They were kept on an island build with steel on the sea specifically to prevent an escape through bending powers, which prompted the Gang to get creative.
- In the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, Kuvira puts all non-Earthbenders, as well as bandits and those that disagree with her, into "reeducation camps".
- Chicken Run, being a spoof of WWII prison escape movies, depicts Tweedy's chicken farm as this.
Works featuring the Concentration / Internment Camp:
- Empire of the Sun tells the story of Jamie "Jim" Graham, a young boy who goes from living in a wealthy British family in Shanghai, to becoming a prisoner in the Lunghua Civilian Assembly Center, a Japanese run internment camp in occupied China, during World War II.
- Escape from Sobibor is a 1987 prison escape/war/Holocaust movie set in 1943, in the Sobibor extermination camp, where inmates who have been selectively spared for their skills in manufacturing material goods plot their escape from the camp, in part utilizing the skills they possess.
- The end of The Hiding Place was set in a concentration camp.
- Schindler's List shows glimpses of the horrors of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
- Life Is Beautiful. A man and his son are sent to a concentration camp, the father acting like it's all a game to hide the truth from his son.
- Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay They aren't inmates, though.
- Hunger is about Bobby Sands' hunger strike in protest of human rights violations against Irish internees by the British government during The Troubles.
- The end of The Hiding Place was set in a concentration camp.
- Journey To Topaz follows one Japanese American family following the attack on Pearl Harbor as they're sent to Tanforan and then to Topaz.
- The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a heavily fictionalised (and probably inaccurate) child's eye view of Auschwitz with a terrible twist ending.
- In Parable of the Talents, which takes place 20 Minutes into the Future, the protagonist Lauren Olamina and her followers are placed in a "reeducation camp" by the Christian America religious sect because of their belief in Lauren's new religion/cult Earthseed.
Live Action TV
- The human ranches in Tales of Symphonia are basically concentration camps by another name.
- You are running one in KZ Manager.
- Nimdok's scenario in I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is set in a concentration camp (specifically Auschwitz), although any explicit references to the Nazis and the Jews are obfuscated by AM until the very end of the scenario.
- It is probably no surprise that the SNK game P.O.W: Prisoners of War features an escape from a POW camp as its first mission. Interestingly, this is actually a ploy; your character is actually an agent who was ordered to let himself be captured in order to infiltrate the enemy's base in order to assassinate their officers and destroy their armor and aircraft assets.