IMDb > Escape from New York (1981)
Escape from New York
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Escape from New York (1981) More at IMDbPro »

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Escape from New York -- Kurt Russell (Stargate) stars in a high-velocity sci-fi action-thriller from director John Carpenter (co-written by Nick Castle) that sets the screen ablaze with heart-stopping suspense, outrageous stunts and imaginative special effects.
Escape from New York -- In 1998, when the US President crashes into Manhattan, now a giant max. security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in for a rescue.
Escape from New York -- In 1998, when the US President crashes into Manhattan, now a giant max. security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in for a rescue.


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7.2/10   86,372 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 16% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
John Carpenter (written by) and
Nick Castle (written by)
View company contact information for Escape from New York on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 July 1981 (USA) See more »
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 »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A Snake, a Brain, a Cabbie, a Duke and the President Of The USA, See more (275 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Kurt Russell ... Snake Plissken

Lee Van Cleef ... Hauk

Ernest Borgnine ... Cabbie

Donald Pleasence ... President

Isaac Hayes ... The Duke

Season Hubley ... Girl in Chock Full O'Nuts

Harry Dean Stanton ... Brain

Adrienne Barbeau ... Maggie

Tom Atkins ... Rehme

Charles Cyphers ... Secretary of State

Joe Unger ... Taylor (scenes deleted)
Frank Doubleday ... Romero
John Strobel ... Cronenberg

John Cothran ... Gypsy #1 (as John Cothran Jr.)
Garrett Bergfeld ... Gypsy #2
Richard Cosentino ... Gypsy Guard
Robert John Metcalf ... Gypsy #3

Joel Bennett ... Gypsy #4
Vic Bullock ... First Indian
Clem Fox ... Second Indian
Tobar Mayo ... Third Indian
Nancy Stephens ... Stewardess

Steven M. Gagnon ... Secret Service #1 (as Steven Gagon)

Steven Ford ... Secret Service #2
Michael Taylor ... Secret Service #3
Lonnie Wun ... Red Bandana Gypsy
Dale E. House ... Helicopter Pilot #1 (as Dale House)
David R. Patrick ... Helicopter Pilot #2

Bob Minor ... Duty Sergeant
Wally Taylor ... Controller
James O'Hagen ... Computer Operator

James Emery ... Trooper
Tom Lillard ... Police Sergeant
Borah Silver ... Theater Manager
Tony Papenfuss ... Theater Assistant

John Diehl ... Punk
Carmen Filpi ... Bum

George 'Buck' Flower ... Drunk (as Buck Flower)
Clay Wright ... Helicopter Pilot #3

Al Cerullo ... Helicopter Pilot #4
Ox Baker ... Slag
Lowmoan Spectacular ... Dancer
Ronald E. House ... Dancer

Alan Shearman ... Dancer
Joseph A. Perrotti ... Dancer

Rodger Bumpass ... Dancer
Ron Vernan ... Dancer
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Debra Hill ... Computer (voice)
Carla Barnett ... Gypsy (uncredited)
Kathleen Blanchard ... Narrator - Opening scenes (uncredited) (unconfirmed)

John Carpenter ... Secret Service #2 / Helicopter Pilot / Violin Player (voice) (uncredited)

Nick Castle ... Pianist (uncredited)
John Contini ... Eye-Patch Prisoner (uncredited)

Jamie Lee Curtis ... Narrator / Computer (uncredited) (voice)
Linda Daniels ... Sewer Orphan (uncredited)
David E. Harshbarger ... Soldier / Bum in Theater (uncredited)
Mark Stern ... Guy in Chock Full O'Nuts (uncredited)

Ken Tipton ... (uncredited)
Barron Winchester ... Sewer Dweller (uncredited)

Directed by
John Carpenter 
Writing credits
John Carpenter (written by) and
Nick Castle (written by)

Produced by
Barry Bernardi .... associate producer
Larry J. Franco .... producer (as Larry Franco)
Debra Hill .... producer
Original Music by
John Carpenter 
Alan Howarth 
Cinematography by
Dean Cundey 
Film Editing by
Todd C. Ramsay  (as Todd Ramsay)
Production Design by
Joe Alves 
Set Decoration by
Cloudia Rebar  (as C L O U D I A)
Costume Design by
Stephen Loomis  (as Steven Loomis)
Makeup Department
Frankie Bergman .... hair stylist
Ken Chase .... makeup artist supervisor
Benjamin Douglas .... makeup artist (as Ben Douglas)
Production Management
Alan Levine .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jeffrey Chernov .... second assistant director
Larry J. Franco .... first assistant director (as Larry Franco)
Drew Hall .... second second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Eugene Booth .... assistant property master (as Gene Booth)
Lee B. Drygas .... swing gang (as Lee Drygas)
Joseph C. Fama .... propmaker (as Joe Fama)
Arthur Gelb .... graphic designer
Serge Genitempo .... stand-by painter
Chris Horner .... assistant art director
Mike May .... property master
Art Molen .... propmaker foreman
Andrew 'Sandy' Overholtzer .... propmaker foreman (as Andrew Earl Overholtzer)
Marvin Salsberg .... construction foreman (as Marv Salsberg)
Wayne Smith .... paint foreman
Don Sutton .... leadman
Ward Welton .... paint supervisor
Frank White .... laborer
Ed Zingel .... painter
Sol Aquino .... carpenter (uncredited)
Michael W. Moore .... prop maker (uncredited)
Sound Department
Joseph F. Brennan .... boom operator (as Joe Brennan)
Thomas Causey .... sound mixer (as Tommy Causey)
Carl Fischer .... boom operator
Warren Hamilton Jr. .... sound editor (as Warren Hamilton)
Alan Howarth .... special synthesizer sound
Gregg Landaker .... sound re-recording mixer
Mark A. Mangini .... dialogue editor
Steve Maslow .... sound re-recording mixer
John Mosley .... stereo recordist
David Ritcher .... assistant sound editor
Bill Varney .... sound re-recording mixer
David Lewis Yewdall .... sound editor (as David Yewdall)
Nicholas James .... foley editor (uncredited)
Ray Quintana .... commentary re-recordist (uncredited)
Steve Rice .... dialogue editor (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Roy Arbogast .... special effects supervisor
Pat Patterson .... special effects
Eddie Surkin .... special effects
Gary Zink .... special effects
Kevin Pike .... special effects (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Steve Caldwell .... camera assistant: special visual effects
James Cameron .... director of photography: special visual effects (as Jim Cameron)
James Cameron .... matte artwork (as Jim Cameron)
Tom Campbell .... engineer: special visual effects
Brian Chin .... miniature construction
George D. Dodge .... director of photography: special visual effects (as George Dodge)
Steven Elliott .... Elicon camera operator (as Steve Elliot)
Steven Elliott .... rotoscope (as Steve Elliot)
Mary Ann Fisher .... producer/liaison: special visual effects
Randall Frakes .... camera assistant: special visual effects (as Randy Frakes)
Julia Gibson .... Elicon camera operator
Jena Holman .... matte artwork
Ken Jones .... Elicon camera operator (as Dr. Ken Jones)
R.J. Kizer .... project supervisor: special visual effects
Aaron Lipstadt .... associate producer: special visual effects
Austin McKinney .... director of photography: special visual effects
Sara Nelson .... production accountant: special visual effects
Tony Randel .... lab liaison: special visual effects (as Anthony Randel)
Dennis Skotak .... director of photography: special visual effects
Robert Skotak .... matte artwork (as Bob Skotak)
Charles Skouras III .... production manager: special visual effects
Dan Smith .... rotoscope
Robin Thomas .... production secretary: special visual effects
Gary Wagner .... gaffer: special visual effects
John C. Wash .... graphic displays (as John Wash)
William L. Arance .... visual effects (uncredited)
Whitney Scott Bain .... visual effects production assistant (uncredited)
Stephen Barncard .... motion control designer (uncredited)
Mark Stetson .... model maker (uncredited)
Hoyt Yeatman .... motion control photographer (uncredited)
Buff Brady .... stunts
Tony Brubaker .... stunts
Roydon Clark .... stunts
Glory Fioramonti .... stunts
Sandra Lee Gimpel .... stunts (as Sandy Gimpel)
Bill Hart .... stunts
Kent Hays .... stunts
Eddie Hice .... stunts
Loren Janes .... stunts
Mike Johnson .... stunts
Mags Kavanaugh .... stunts
William T. Lane .... stunts (as Bill Lane)
Fred Lerner .... stunts
Mike H. McGaughy .... stunts (as Mike McGaughy)
Bob Minor .... stunts
John Moio .... stunts (as John A. Moio)
Harvey Parry .... stunts
George Sawaya .... stunts
Jack Tyree .... stunts
Jack Verbois .... stunts
Dick Warlock .... stunt coordinator
Dick Warlock .... stunts
Jesse Wayne .... stunt double (stunt double: Donald Pleasence)
Jesse Wayne .... stunts
Ted White .... stunts
George P. Wilbur .... stunts (as George Wilbur)
James Winburn .... stunts (as Jim Winburn)
Dick Warlock .... stunt double: Kurt Russell (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Leo Behar .... grip
Clyde E. Bryan .... first assistant camera (as Clyde Bryan)
Scott Buttfield .... electrician
Jim Coe .... still photographer
Jack Lee Gary .... assistant camera: second unit (as Jack Gary)
Kim Gottlieb .... still photographer
Douglas Knapp .... camera operator: second unit (as Doug Knapp)
Jim Lucas .... director of photography: second unit
Drain M. Marshall .... rigging gaffer (as Drain Marshall)
Terry Marshall .... electrician
Thomas Marshall .... best boy electrician (as Tom Marshall)
Steve Mathis .... flicker box technician
George Mooradian .... assistant camera: second unit
Douglas Olivares .... second assistant camera
Seymour Owens .... second grip
Frank Palmer .... key grip
Frank Ruttencutter .... camera operator: second unit
Tommy Sands .... dolly grip
Raymond Stella .... camera operator (as Ray Stella)
Steve Tate .... second assistant camera
Mark Walthour .... gaffer
Curtis Foster .... electrician (uncredited)
Casting Department
Pegi Brotman .... casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Katrina Bronson .... costumer: women
Mel Sawicki .... costumer: men
Editorial Department
Dean Beville .... assistant to assistant film editor
Barbara Gandolfo-Frady .... apprentice editor (as Barbara Ann Gandolfo)
Randy D. Thornton .... assistant film editor
Transportation Department
Joe Benet .... driver
Bobby Benton .... driver
Rodney Berg .... driver (as Rod Berg)
Steve Boyd .... driver
John Brumby .... creative mobile technician
Michael Connolly .... driver (as Mike Connolly)
William Charles Hauer .... driver (as Chuck Hauer)
Dick Lee .... driver
Wayne Roberts .... driver
Mario Simon .... driver
Tom F. Thomas .... transportation captain (as Tom Thomas)
Eddie Lee Voelker .... transportation coordinator
Wayne Williams .... driver
Ed Wirth .... driver (as Eddie Worth)
Tom Briggs .... set driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Barry Bernardi .... location manager
Juan Betancourt .... meals
Donald P. Borchers .... avco nominee (as Don Borchers)
Pegi Brotman .... assistant: producers
Jack Buckley .... accountant
Frank Capra III .... assistant location manager
Louis Chirco .... craft service (as Louie Chirco)
Kelli Cole .... unit publicist (as Kelli Garris)
Maurice Costello .... nurse
Chip Fowler .... production office coordinator
Matt Franco .... assistant: the assistants
Louise Jaffe .... script supervisor
Bert Jetter .... meals
David R. Lawson .... medic
Ron Littrell .... location contact
Terry Murphy .... location contact
Sarah Preece .... office production assistant
Geoffrey Ryan .... production assistant (as Geoff Ryan)
Syd Stembridge .... weapons advisor
David DeCoteau .... production assistant (uncredited)
John L. Hammontree .... militia coordinator (uncredited)
Howard R. Schuster .... financing (uncredited)
Barron Winchester .... stand-in: Mr. Pleasance (uncredited)
Walter Abell .... special thanks
David Cronenberg .... special thanks
Dennis Foley .... special thanks (as Lt. Col. Dennis R. Foley)
George A. Romero .... special thanks
Don Taylor .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"John Carpenter's Escape from New York" - USA (complete title)
"New York 1997" - Japan (English title)
See more »
99 min | 106 min (Extended Version)
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Australia:M | Brazil:14 | Canada:PA (Manitoba) | Canada:R (Manitoba) (director's cut) | Canada:R (Nova Scotia) | Canada:AA (Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Chile:14 | Finland:K-15 (DVD rating) | France:U | Iceland:16 | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:R16 | Norway:15 | Norway:16 (original rating) | Singapore:PG | Sweden:15 | UK:AA (original rating) | UK:15 (video rating) | USA:R (No. 26272) | West Germany:16 (w)

Did You Know?

Nick Nolte and Jeff Bridges were both approached to play ""Snake" Plissken", but were uninterested. Kris Kristofferson was considered as a possible candidate for the lead also, but was not approached due to the failure of Heaven's Gate (1980).See more »
Audio/visual unsynchronized: When the Duke is shooting at the handcuffed President, we hear the sound of very loud, echoing gunfire even though he is conspicuously using Snake's submachine gun equipped with a rather large silencer.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...
See more »
Movie Connections:
Engulfed CathedralSee more »


What is Plissken's reason for destroying the all-important cassette tape at the ending?
What is on the tape that the President keeps in his briefcase?
Is there going to be a third Snake Plissken-movie?
See more »
29 out of 34 people found the following review useful.
A Snake, a Brain, a Cabbie, a Duke and the President Of The USA,, 16 October 2008
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom

It's 1997 and Manhattan Island is a walled off prison, during the flight of Air Force One, the president's plane is taken over by a terrorist and the president ejects out in the safety pod. Sadly for him he lands right in the middle of Manhattan Island, when an armed unit lands inside the walls they are told that the president has been taken hostage and they must get out of their prison ASAP. At a loss what to do, the authorities decide to send one man in alone, ex war hero turned criminal, Snake Plissken, not only does he have to contend with surviving the incredibly hostile prison, he also has a time bomb implanted in his body that, should he not get the president out safely within 24 hours, will explode and mean no more Snake Plissken!.

Made in 1981 and set in 1997, it's safe to say John Carpenter is not the best predictor of the future around. However his vision of a future where America has thrown all it's criminals on one island, where they create their own society out of harms way, has to rank as an incredibly adroit piece of work. This place is grim and deadly, the flotsam and jetsam of society thrust together in this bleak and desolate place of class separation. What Carpenter has achieved with his usual minimal budget allowance is a smouldering sci-fi classic that may be as daft as they come, but it pulses with cool and cheekily slaps you round the face with its cheeky satirical edginess. I must give kudos at this point to the great production design from Joe Alves, who along with Carpenter has crafted this brilliantly dirty netherworld of crime.

Our anti-hero of the piece, Snake Plissken, is superbly played by Kurt Russell, the original choice interestingly was Tommy Lee Jones, but Russell fuels Plissken's mantra to make him one of the eighties coolest grumpy bastards!, and his work here is first class in terms of the films apocalyptic structure. Surroundning Russell is a wealth of quality performers each adding their personal bits to this tick-tock stew, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasance, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau and Isaac Hayes all earn their money and flesh out the story to the end.

Calling Escape From New York an action picture would be setting first time viewers up for a real let down, what action there is is minimal but highly effective, the machismo flourishes acting more as a point of reference to the pictures time bomb urgency. I like to think of the film as more a sci-fi adventure yarn laced with darkly comic humour, with of course machismo thrown in as a side salad to accentuate the bleakness of it all, wonderful. 9/10

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Please would fans explain why they enjoyed this movie samuel-84
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EFNY showing in London with Alan Howarth accompaniment Fri 30/10/15 thedarklantern
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