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Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

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.

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

L.A.'s deadliest street gang just declared war on the cops. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

5 November 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
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Technical Specs

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Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kim Richards (Kathy) is the older sister of Kyle Richards, who plays Lindsey Wallace in John Carpenter's 'Halloween'. See more »

Goofs

Kathy is casually shot by a gang member when she wants to get the ice cream cone she ordered. She is shot holding the ice cream cone. When her father goes up to her when she's dead on the ground, the ice cream cone is nowhere near her. See more »

Quotes

Napoleon Wilson: In my situation, days are like women - each one's so damn precious, but they all end up leaving you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Death Valley: Assault on Precinct UTF (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Neat thriller from John `Claustrophobia' Carpenter
5 July 2002 | by (Dublin, Ireland) – See all my reviews

`Assault on Precinct 13' shows Carpenter in the fine creative form of his earlier days, when he produced such thriller and horror gems like `Halloween', `The Thing' and this little movie. As usual he eschews a complex plot in favour of a great little central concept - in this case a group of civilians, prisoners and police trapped in a deserted police station under siege from a mysterious gang who want to get at one man inside.

The acting in these movies is generally bland, but Carpenter at least breathes some dimension into his characters. The lead role goes to Lt. Ethan Bishop (Austin Stoker), the cop in charge of minding the building for the night. Naturally he's honourable but there's also a good sense of pragmatism to his character. Similarly the prisoner Napoleon (Darwin Joston) isn't just a criminal - there's something quite human to him. The same goes for the civilians caught up - despite their disparities the characters become a relatively cohesive unit that's quite believable, enjoyable without veering into grating sentimentality ever. Naturally a lot of them are cannon fodder but the loss of individuals in such movies is one of the anticipations you expect in the genre.

Carpenter did a great service by making the protagonists of the piece silent. They never utter a word. They have nothing in common, hailing from all races. We have no motivation for their actions and thankfully we're spared weak, and frankly pointless, excuses. Instead their blank faced determinism, and the manner in which they mete out death, lends them a horrific cold bloodedness that is far more memorable than typical thriller character building. There's not so much a sense of palpable evil but a much more terrifying sense of complete inhumanity. Carpenter also uses his great skills with claustrophobia - even the outdoor scenes are deserted, lonely, isolated. The actual station under siege is well designed - we're made aware of the layout quickly, before the action starts, so that the action sequences make sense without confusing us on issues of location. The darkness of the proceedings - pale lighting and so forth - add to the edgy mood of the characters. And Carpenter once again has a nice musical score accompanying his movie - it may sound dated, but it suits the ambience and atmosphere to a tee.

`Assault on Precinct 13' is hardly clever. It's not claiming to be. It's a low budget work with a central `siege' idea. It works because of the claustrophobic element, the feeling of desperation in the characters, some neat villains and fairly well fleshed characters. It may not be the pinnacle of its type, but it sure is enjoyable while it lasts. 6.8/10.


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