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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 84,297 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


The world's greatest leader is a hostage in the most dangerous place on Earth. Now only the deadliest man alive can save him. 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?


Director of photography Dean Cundey used a special lens - new at the time - to extract the maximum amount of light from night time shoots. 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 ...
See more »


Followed by Escape from L.A. (1996) 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

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")

12 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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