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Escape from New York (1981)

R | | Action, Sci-Fi | 10 July 1981 (USA)
In 1997, when the U.S. president crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in to rescue him.

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Cast

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

In the future, crime is out of control and New York City's Manhattan 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

Taglines:

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 »

Genres:

Action | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

10 July 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Escape from New York City  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,162,000 (USA) (12 July 1981)

Gross:

$25,244,700 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Extended Version)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Carpenter originally wrote the film in the mid 70s, as a reaction to the Watergate scandal, but no studio wanted to make it, because it was deemed to be too dark, and too violent. That all changed after the success of Halloween (1978). See more »

Goofs

The scene at the train station is clearly not in New York. The city's two rail stations, Pennsylvania Station and Grand Central Terminal both have their tracks located below ground level. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Jiang shi fan sheng (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Bandstand Boogie
Music by Charles Albertine
Courtesy of Cherio Corporation
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Classic Made On A Shoestring
29 May 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Spoilers Ahead:

Watch the documentary that comes with the blu ray. Carpenter had a very tiny budget; slightly more than he had with HALLOWEEN. Look what he did with it? The sets and the script are the stars here along with a great cast. Van Cleef, Borgnine, Harry Dean Stanton and the Carpenter regular Donald Plescence who steals the movie. The scene where he machine guns the Duke, reciting back the slogan Duke made him memorize is why Carpenter used him so much in his movies. The film is dark, depressing and creepy. Russell gives a great performance not even pretending to be partly heroic with nothing but contempt for all of 'the establishment.' The scenes in the city are cleverly shot to conceal the fact that they were in a lousy part of St. Louis.

Snake is not depicted as a kung fu expert like he would be today. He makes plenty of mistakes, like going down Broadway, and barely escapes. He often has to be bailed out by other people like Maggie, Brain's squeeze and Carpenter's real life girlfriend. She is much better here than in THE FOG where she is on screen too much. Her acting was always a bit shaky. The tyrannical, lying government does not seem too far off from where we are today. Ironically, while made in the late 70s this movie has aged very well and seems more prescient today then when it was released.

The film itself is well acted, moves quickly, and is dark, depressing and brooding. Snake is no hero nor does he want to be. Snake was really the template that Riddick was based on. He is not invincible like Riddick yet this is an improvement. Snake is much more realistic less of a cartoon figure. Watch for Ernest Borgnine in a very small role; he was always such a great actor and he captures every scene he is in. If you really want to appreciate what a gem this is watch the big budget overblown awful sequel ESCAPE FROM LA. It shows that money is no guarantor of quality; ironically, Carpenter's smallest movies were the best: HALLOWEEN, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and THEY LIVE. It is a great film; one of his very best.


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