Prison Break TV Poster Image

Prison Break



Prison drama is too violent for young viewers.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Network: Fox
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2005

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Main character works outside the system to free his brother from jail.


On-screen shootings and stabbings, lots of punching, hitting with blunt objects.


Sexual threats from prisoners.


Some mild profanity.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this show features some graphic violence, both inside and outside of the prison walls. Some episodes are much more violent than others are. It's occasionally bloody, and inmates occasionally terrorize women. Some lewd sexual comments are made. Criminals (both rightly and wrongly convicted) are portrayed in a sympathetic light.

What's the story?

Structural engineer Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) is convinced that his brother, Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), has been wrongfully convicted of murdering the Vice President's brother. With Lincoln's execution date coming up, Michael robs a bank to get into jail alongside his brother so he can help him escape (he has intimate knowledge of the prison having had the blueprints for the jail tattooed on his torso). The brothers enlist the help of assorted crooks and cons in their elaborate plan to break out. On the outside, Lincoln's attorney (and ex-girlfriend) Veronica Donovan (Robin Tunney) tries to uncover the truth about the murder and is targeted by a shadowy cabal bent on using Burrows as their fall guy and intimidating anyone who gets in their way, including Burrows' 15-year-old son, LJ (Marshall Allman).

Is it any good?


Part mystery, part action drama, PRISON BREAK offers intricate plotting and shocking twists. The show is not afraid of killing off characters, portraying criminals as sympathetic, or linking the conspirators directly to a high-ranking government official -- just the sort of "edginess" one would expect from Fox. Its fast pace leaves little room for character development, and the intricacy of the plot may confuse less loyal viewers.

The show's appeal lies in watching someone try to break out of prison by using brains rather than brawn. Along with the intrigue of the corrupt government plot, it promises to be of interest to action drama fans. While kids are drawn to many action movies and shows, parents might want to exercise caution in allowing their kids to watch PRISON BREAK. It's far too violent for younger viewers, and should be reserved for older teens and adults only.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether or not Michael's crime and subsequent attempt to break his brother out of jail are justified. What if Michael and Lincoln were friends instead of brothers? Would Michael still owe the same allegiance to him? Can "bad guys" also be role models? How does the show make us empathize with criminals?

TV details

Premiere date:August 29, 2005
Cast:Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Prison Break was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • 24
    A tense thriller for adults and mature teens.
  • Smart action drama with a strong female lead.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byTom_Gamer_Tom June 24, 2010

Some very violent bits.

Prison break is a great series but has very violent bits in it. You normally have pretty entertaining and moderate bits all the way through. But some scenes are very violent, Like getting poked in the eyes with broken bottles. There are a lot more violent scenes. About 95% is alright but there are really violent and disturbing scenes. It shows brutality of prison. There are some bits of language but not too bad.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008


This show has way to much viloence and sex. I would recomad this show to any one 15 and up. Parents be careful if your child watches this I'ts not godd for young viewers even I can't watch it anymore and I am only 11. So please take my advice, this would be great w/o all the viloence and sex. I think it should have ben rated TV-MA
Parent Written byDiscipline December 24, 2015

Appropriate, child must be able to handle violence.

There are great role models for children to follow and look up to. reading all these reviews has me baffled and are all over exaggerated! and this is coming from a strict parent of two 13 and 14 year old girls and a 6 year old son. Both my 13 and 14 year old girls are obsessed with this tv show as they are into action. But as the parent I am, I watched a few episodes of each section and I am proud to say that this show is quite appropriate regardless of violent scenes throughout the show. In my opinion, sex is very limited - there is near to no sexual scenes at all! this is due to female roles kept to a minimum as Prison Break is not based on sex and romance. Smoking is present in the movie. Language is kept to M rating, In my opinion, determining your childs maturity to handle basic swearing, you have nothing to be fussed about. Strong violence is present in the movie. Overall, my two girls aged 13 and 14 love this show, and due to my investigation of how appropriate it is for them, I have to say that i am quite impressed with the show as it does not include severe sexual scenes, that being a massive weight lifted off my back.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?