MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Up 840 this week

Escape from New York (1981)

 -  Action | Sci-Fi  -  10 July 1981 (USA)
7.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 71,833 users  
Reviews: 262 user | 128 critic

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

Director:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

with Prime Instant Video + 1 more

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 41 titles
created 14 Sep 2011
 
a list of 38 titles
created 30 Mar 2013
 
a list of 28 titles
created 18 Apr 2013
 
a list of 22 titles
created 8 months ago
 
a list of 46 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Escape from New York (1981)

Escape from New York (1981) on IMDb 7.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Escape from New York.

User Polls

4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Warriors (1979)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In 1979 a charismatic leader summons the street gangs of New York City in a bid to take it over. When he is killed, The Warriors are falsely blamed and now must fight their way home while every other gang is hunting them down to kill them.

Director: Walter Hill
Stars: Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright
Outland (1981)
Action | Crime | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In the distant future, a police marshal stationed at a remote mining colony on the Jupiter moon of Io uncovers a drug-smuggling conspiracy, and gets no help from the populace when he later finds himself marked for murder.

Director: Peter Hyams
Stars: Sean Connery, Frances Sternhagen, Peter Boyle
Predator (1987)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A team of commandos, on a mission in a Central American jungle, find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior.

Director: John McTiernan
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall
Predator 2 (1990)
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Amidst a territorial gang war, a sophisticated alien hunter stalks the citizens of Los Angeles and the only man between him and his prey is veteran L.A.P.D. officer, Lieutenant Mike Harrigan.

Director: Stephen Hopkins
Stars: Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Kevin Peter Hall
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits.

Director: George Miller
Stars: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston
Mad Max (1979)
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A vengeful Australian policeman sets out to avenge his partner, his wife and his son whom were murdered by a motorcycle gang in retaliation for the death of their leader.

Director: George Miller
Stars: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

With the assistance of the Enterprise crew, Admiral Kirk must stop an old nemesis, Khan Noonien Singh, from using his son's life-generating device, the Genesis Device, as the ultimate weapon.

Director: Nicholas Meyer
Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley
Darkman (1990)
Action | Crime | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A brilliant scientist left for dead returns to exact revenge on the people who burned him alive.

Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels
Total Recall (1990)
Action | Adventure | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real, or does he?

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Humans in a fascistic, militaristic future do battle with giant alien bugs in a fight for survival.

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer
The Getaway (1972)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A recently released ex-con and his loyal wife go on the run after a heist goes awry.

Director: Sam Peckinpah
Stars: Steve McQueen, Ali MacGraw, Ben Johnson
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Agent 007 and the Japanese secret service ninja force must find and stop the true culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked.

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama
Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Action | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

10 July 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Escape from New York  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$25,244,700 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Avco Embassy approached John Carpenter after the success of Halloween (1978) and The Fog (1980) to make a film based on a novel that they had acquired titled "The Philadelphia Experiment". When Carpenter got stuck on that project, he proposed instead his idea for "Escape from New York". Avco liked the idea and green-lit the project almost immediately. See more »

Goofs

When Snake drives the station wagon through the gauntlet of convicts on Broadway, they pelt the car thoroughly with broken bricks. Immediately afterwards we see the vehicle from several angles, filthy but not actually dented. 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 Land of the Dead (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Engulfed Cathedral
By Claude Debussy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Classic anti-hero
17 December 2003 | by (Xanadu) – See all my reviews

Snake Plissken is the classic anti-hero, ala Clint Eastwood's Man-with-no-name. Plissken is an ex-soldier turned criminal, recruited/blackmailed into rescuing a hostage president from the prison of New York City. Plissken is a walking ball of anger and a survival machine. He fought for his country but had everything taken from him, so he started taking back. Now, he has to rescue a man he doesn't care about, if only to survive long enough to take his revenge on Hauk and the government.

John Carpenter's film is a masterpiece of dark humor, suspense, and great characters. The film channels the anger and distrust of the post-Vietnam/Watergate era, as well as the then-current Iranian Hostage crisis. Plissken represents, in a fashion, the Vietnam vets who did their job, even if they didn't agree with or understand their war, but came back to nothing. The film's novelization explores these themes better than the movie, but it is hinted at in Hauk's briefing. It also depicts a fascist police state, one that some would say is not too far from reality.

Kurt Russell is excellent in what was a breakout performance for him. Up to this point, Russell had been stuck in low budget comedies, following the end of his Disney days. This performance, coupled with another collaboration with Carpenter, Elvis, led to bigger and better roles. Russell channels Clint Eastwood to give Snake a menacing, if laconic quality. Much like a real serpent, Snake watches and strikes when he is ready; with speed and impact. Russell is able to say a lot with little dialogue, through his body language and facial expressions.

The supporting cast is wonderful. Adrienne Barbeau is the beautiful, but deadly Maggie. She is partnered with the intelligent, but slimy Brain. Their's is a symbiotic relationship; each provides something the other needs. Harry Dean Stanton, a great character actor, presents a Brain that is smart, but ruthless, and more than a bit cowardly. Isaac Hayes is The Duke, ruler of the prison. Hayes is a bit uneven, as he wasn't an experienced actor (he had at least one movie before this) but he is a charismatic performer and ultra-cool. Donald Pleasance is the consummate politician, a big man in his controlled environment, but lost in a world outside his; one he had a hand in creating. Ernest Borgnine is tremendous as Cabby, the answer man and link between Snake and the rest of the cast, as well as to the past of New York. Finally, Lee Van Cleef brings some of that Angel Eyes magic as Hauk, the prison Warden. Hauk is an ex-soldier and identifies with Snake. The difference is, Snake rebelled against the system that betrayed him; Hauk joined it. This was Van Cleef's last good role, before he was saddled with mediocrity in his tv series, the Master, and became the butt of jokes on MST3K.

The film moves at a brisk pace and the dark lighting carries the sense of mystery, isolation, and destruction. Carpenter is able to convincingly hide the fact that he shot this film in St. Louis and LA, and make you believe it is New York. Although there are gaps in logic and missing information, the pace doesn't let you dwell on it. There is a constant feeling of the race against time. If there is any complaint, it's that the budget sometimes holds back some of the action, but characterization makes up for it. Also, the dark lighting is sometimes too dark, and details are obscured.

The new special edition dvd brings a treat to long-time fans: the deleted opening bank robbery and capture of Snake Plissken. Since I had read the novelization before seeing the film, I had long wondered what this sequence had looked like. Although it does explain why Plissken is on his way to the prison when Hauk intercepts him, it doesn't really work in context with the rest of the film. The sequence worked well in the book because of Snake's inner monologue and memories of his mission in Leningrad and the loss of his parents to government action. We understand Snake's hatred of the government and his nihilistic nature. In the sequence, as shot, we don't really get a sense of who Plissken is; just that he has apparently committed a crime and is on the run. We don't really get a feel for his relationship with his partner, which affects the emotional impact at the end of the sequence. Ultimately, the film works better without this footage.

A note on the commentary track: Ox Baker was not seven feet tall. He is probably closer to the 6'6" to 6'7" range, although he was over 300 pounds. His bulk makes him appear larger than he really is, especially in a wrestling ring.

One used to wonder what this film would have looked like with a bigger budget. Carpenter sort of answered that with the sequel, Escape from LA. It was essentially the same film, with better effects and a West Coast sensibility; but, it doesn't hold a candle to the original. The lower budget caused the cast and crew to be more creative and they succeeded far better here. It would be good to see Snake again, but in a new environment, with a different plot. Russell's age could be an asset, as Carpenter could examine an older Snake, who must rely more on cunning than physical skills.


75 of 83 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Barbeau's boobs jhiott75
Tarantino needs to direct sfheinig
Snake Would Have Died at the End rjames1973
My god, THE CAR! And the boobs! fabelwesentlich-82-899880
Statue of Liberty? LostMiracle
Please would fans explain why they enjoyed this movie samuel-84
Discuss Escape from New York (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?