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Escape from New York (1981)

R  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi  |  10 July 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 82,899 users  
Reviews: 272 user | 164 critic

In 1997, when the US President crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in for a rescue.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Taylor (scenes deleted)
Frank Doubleday ...
John Strobel ...
Gypsy #1 (as John Cothran Jr.)
Garrett Bergfeld ...
Gypsy #2


In the future, crime is out of control and New York City is a maximum security prison. Grabbing a bargaining chip right out of the air, convicts bring down the President's plane in bad old Gotham. Gruff Snake Plissken, a one-eyed lone warrior new to prison life, is coerced into bringing the President, and his cargo, out of this land of undesirables. Written by Anthony Pereyra {}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


1997. New York City is now a maximum security prison. Breaking out is impossible. Breaking in is insane. See more »


Action | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

10 July 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Escape from New York  »

Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)


$25,244,700 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Extended Version)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Co-writer Nick Castle came up with the idea for the Cabbie character and also the film's ending. See more »


During the sequence where Snake is being chased by the Crazies (and is about to shoot an oval pattern in a wall so he can break through), his eye patch shifts enough to reveal a perfectly good eye. This is commonly regarded as a mistake, but it is not, Snake still has his left eye, but he wears the patch due to a paralyzed iris, making it extremely sensitive to light. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: In 1988, the crime rate in the United States rises four hundred percent. The once great city of New York becomes the one maximum security prison for the entire country. A fifty-foot containment wall is erected along the New Jersey shoreline, across the Harlem River, and down along the Brooklyn shoreline. It completely surrounds Manhattan Island. All bridges and waterways are mined. The United States Police Force, like an army, is encamped around the island. There are no guards ...
See more »


Referenced in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (2010) See more »


Everyone's Going to New York
Music and Lyrics by Nick Castle
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Timeless Cult Adventure of the Badass Anti-Hero Snake Plissken
17 July 2013 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In 1997, Manhattan has been transformed in the New York Maximum Security Penitentiary, where criminals are sent in life sentence. When the Air Force One crashes in Manhattan with the president of the USA (Donald Pleasence) that is traveling to a summit with other leaders, the prison dean Hauk (Lee Van Cleef) proposes a deal to the convicted one-eyed bank robber Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell). If he rescues the president and his tape in less than 23 hours, he would be granted pardon. In order to guarantee full commitment of Snake Plissken, Hauk lures him and injects a lethal capsule in his blood that will dissolve in the scheduled time.

Snake Plissken uses a small plane to land one the roof of the World Trade Center. Soon he finds that the tracking device was removed from the president. When he meets the taxi driver Cabbie (Ernest Borgnine), he learns that the warlord The Duke (Isaac Hayes) has captured the president. Now Snake Plissken has to team-up with his former partner Brain (Harry Dean Stanton), who has double-crossed him in the past, and his squeeze Maggie (Adrienne Barbeau) to rescue the president and save his own life.

"Escape from New York" is the timeless cult adventure of the badass one- eyed anti-hero Snake Plissken by John Carpenter. It is amazing how this movie has not aged and even after watching it so many times, I do not get tired of it. Kurt Russell has a fantastic shape and is perfect in the role of the tough Snake Plissken. The president dressed with blonde wig and with cosmetics and his rage in the end against The Duke seems to indicate that something else had happened to him besides losing his thumb. The movie has a dream cast and also a wonderful music score. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazi): "Fuga de Nova York" ("Escape from New York")

11 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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