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Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

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A police sergeant and an unlikely band of criminals defend a closing LA precinct office on New Years Eve against an army of gang members.



1 nomination. See more awards »



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A police sergeant must rally the cops and prisoners together to protect themselves on New Year's Eve, just as corrupt policeman surround the station with the intent of killing all to keep their deception in the ranks.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Darwin Joston ...
Laurie Zimmer ...
Martin West ...
Nancy Kyes ...
Julie (as Nancy Loomis)
Peter Bruni ...
John J. Fox ...
Marc Ross ...
Alan Koss ...
Frank Doubleday ...
Gilbert De la Pena ...
Chicano Warlord (as Gilbert De La Pena)


Police ambush and kill several gang members in Los Angeles. Gang members make a pact of blood to strike back at police, and conduct a siege on the police station which is almost abandoned and due to be closed. Staff of the closing precinct and the criminals being held there while in transit must work together to fight off the attacking gang members. Written by Scott McKenna <smckenna@lcb.state.nv.us>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A White Hot Night of Hate! See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 November 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$150,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Darwin Joston's portrayal of convict Napoleon Wilson is inspired by Charles Bronson's character "Harmonica" in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) ("Once Upon a Time in the West"); when asked to explain themselves and their actions, both respond, "Only at the point of dyin'." As Wilson explains why he has killed so many people, he recalls that when he first saw a preacher, the preacher told him, "Son, there is something strange about you. You got something to do with death." This quote belongs to Jason Robards' character Cheyenne in "Once Upon a Time in the West" and is the title of Christopher Frayling's biography of Sergio Leone. See more »


The number of bullets in Wilson's gun. See more »


Leigh: I'm curious about one thing.
Napoleon Wilson: Just one?
Leigh: No, there are other things. But at the moment this one interests me the most.
Napoleon Wilson: What's that?
Leigh: Why didn't you climb through that vent and take off down the sewer in the other direction?
Napoleon Wilson: Well, there are two things a man should never run from, even if they cost him his life. One is a man who's helpless and can't run with you.
Leigh: What's the other?
[Napoleon stares at her]
See more »


Referenced in Taxi Brooklyn: The Longest Night (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

"Can't argue with a confident man"
15 September 2010 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

The gritty, stylish 'Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)' is my first experience with American director John Carpenter, labelled an "auteur" by the French and a "bum" by his compatriots. At this early stage, I'm siding with the French. This is one of the definitive "siege films," a deft, low-budget blend of the American Western (let's say '3:10 to Yuma (1957)') and a zombie movie ('Night of the Living Dead (1968)' being an obvious influence). In modern-day Los Angeles, the lone inhabitants of a closing-down police station – among them police officers (Austin Stoker), secretaries (Laurie Zimmer), and prisoners (an ice-cool Darwin Joston) – are affronted by dozens of armed gangsters, who are waging a bloody war with the authorities as payback for recent gang-member deaths.

After an extended prologue, in which disparate story lines fatalistically converge on each other (and featuring one particularly nasty moment than nearly landed the film an X-rating) the siege scenario begins… and the tension rarely lets up. One sequence in particular, a tense crawl towards a parked car, had me holding my breath for minutes, its conclusion a veritable kick in the guts. Carpenter, assisted by his own low-key but insistent synchronised score, manipulates the film's urban setting to his advantage: isolation becomes so much more unbearable when civilisation is so near, and yet so unattainable. Chillingly, most of the antagonists themselves remain faceless shadows in the darkness, representing an incomprehensible force of evil, consumed by bloodlust, and unafraid of the consequences.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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W-A-A-A-Y Overrated! raketex
Laurie Zimmer was bad foo_jam2002
title music wabsnazm2007
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