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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 84,338 users  
Reviews: 276 user | 189 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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4 nominations. See more awards »



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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 {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


New York City has Become the Only Maximum Security Prison for the Entire Country. Once You go In, You don't Come Out... Until Today. 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
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Did You Know?


The film's opening title card read: "1988. The crime rate in the United States rises four hundred per cent. 1997. Now.". See more »


When the USPF initially go into New York immediately after Air Force One crashes, helicopter 3 is shown landing, and a large chunk of the sticky back black plastic used to create its USPF livery is peeling off and missing from the tail section, revealing the green US Army livery underneath. (The UH1 Huey used in this scene was on loan from the Missouri National Guard.) When it takes off again a few moments later, the tail is back to perfect black. 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 ...
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Referenced in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001) See more »


Bandstand Boogie
Music by Charles Albertine
Courtesy of Cherio Corporation
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

SF action classic!
8 July 2002 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

'Escape from New York' ties with 'Assault On Precinct 13' as my second favourite John Carpenter movie (#1 being 'The Thing'. Of course.) I find it hard to be objective about this movie. Like 'The Omega Man' you either love it or you don't. Kurt Russell rocks as Snake Plissken, a cross between Roger Zelazny's Hell Tanner and Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name. He is one cool dude. Spaghetti western favourite Lee Van Cleef is well cast as Snake's nemesis, and b-grade fave Tom Atkins ('Maniac Cop') and Carpenter semi-regular Charles Cyphers ('The Fog') are excellent as his sidekicks. The rest of the cast is equally impressive, and includes cult legend Harry Dean Stanton ('Repo Man'), veterans Ernest Borgnine ('The Wild Bunch') and Donald Pleasance ('Halloween'), soul singer Isaac Hayes, and the buxom Adrienne Barbeau ('Two Evil Eyes') to name a few. 'Escape from New York' is an SF action classic from an era when ideas and character were more important than big budget FX. Personally I'd take this over the Star Wars series any day of the week. Beware the sequel though, it's a major disappointment...

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