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

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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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Up 5% 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 max. security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in for a rescue. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Classic anti-hero See more (264 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)
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)
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)
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)
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
Kenneth 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
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
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?

Scenes of the movie were filmed in the Swift Printing Company building in downtown St Louis, abandoned since Swift's move out in 1969. The building was renovated in 1991, and is now the home of the St. Louis Brewing Company - the makers of the Schlafly brand of beers.See more »
Continuity: When Snake gets into a car to steal it to take himself, Brain and Maggie to the Duke's place the headlights are on. However when he starts to drive the car away the lights are off. The next shot shows the car font the front with the lights on. After crashing the car through the barrier after the run down Broadway the lights are off again but when the car stops the lights are on again.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's on the tape?
What is Plisskin's reason for destroying the all-important cassette tape at the ending?
Is there going to be a third Snake Plissken-movie?
See more »
76 out of 84 people found the following review useful.
Classic anti-hero, 17 December 2003
Author: grendelkhan from Xanadu

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.

Was the above review useful to you?
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Please would fans explain why they enjoyed this movie samuel-84
Barbeau's boobs jhiott75
A New Snake Plissken? marcus4473
My god, THE CAR! And the boobs! fabelwesentlich-82-899880
Snake Plissken's Enneagram Type? thedarklantern
Re: Cabbie scubadivergeek
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