7.4/10
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259 user 207 critic

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Trailer
2:03 | Trailer
An unlikely partnership between a Highway Patrol Officer, two criminals and a station secretary is formed to defend a defunct Los Angeles precinct office against a siege by a bloodthirsty street gang.

Director:

John Carpenter

Writer:

John Carpenter
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Austin Stoker ... Ethan Bishop
Darwin Joston ... Napoleon Wilson
Laurie Zimmer ... Leigh
Martin West ... Lawson
Tony Burton ... Wells
Charles Cyphers ... Starker
Nancy Kyes ... Julie (as Nancy Loomis)
Peter Bruni Peter Bruni ... Ice Cream Man
John J. Fox John J. Fox ... Warden
Marc Ross Marc Ross ... Patrolman Tramer
Alan Koss Alan Koss ... Patrolman Baxter
Henry Brandon ... Chaney
Kim Richards ... Kathy
Frank Doubleday ... White Warlord
Gilbert De la Pena Gilbert De la Pena ... Chicano Warlord (as Gilbert De La Pena)
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Storyline

Police ambush and kill several gang members in Los Angeles. Gang members make a pact of blood to strike back at police, and conduct a siege on the police station which is almost abandoned and due to be closed. Staff of the closing precinct and the criminals being held there while in transit must work together to fight off the attacking gang members. Written by Scott McKenna <smckenna@lcb.state.nv.us>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

L.A.'s deadliest street gang just declared war on the cops. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Carpenter has acknowledged that Night of the Living Dead (1968) was an influence on the marauding street gang. Like George Romero's zombies, they're completely dehumanized. They hardly talk and almost seem supernatural in their ongoing resilience. See more »

Goofs

The sign above the police station door reads, "Division 14" instead of 13. See more »

Quotes

Napoleon Wilson: I believe in one man.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Joker (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Assault On Precinct 13 (Main Title)
Written by John Carpenter
Performed by John Carpenter and Tommy Lee Wallace
See more »

User Reviews

Neat thriller from John `Claustrophobia' Carpenter
5 July 2002 | by Aidan McGuinnessSee all my reviews

`Assault on Precinct 13' shows Carpenter in the fine creative form of his earlier days, when he produced such thriller and horror gems like `Halloween', `The Thing' and this little movie. As usual he eschews a complex plot in favour of a great little central concept - in this case a group of civilians, prisoners and police trapped in a deserted police station under siege from a mysterious gang who want to get at one man inside.

The acting in these movies is generally bland, but Carpenter at least breathes some dimension into his characters. The lead role goes to Lt. Ethan Bishop (Austin Stoker), the cop in charge of minding the building for the night. Naturally he's honourable but there's also a good sense of pragmatism to his character. Similarly the prisoner Napoleon (Darwin Joston) isn't just a criminal - there's something quite human to him. The same goes for the civilians caught up - despite their disparities the characters become a relatively cohesive unit that's quite believable, enjoyable without veering into grating sentimentality ever. Naturally a lot of them are cannon fodder but the loss of individuals in such movies is one of the anticipations you expect in the genre.

Carpenter did a great service by making the protagonists of the piece silent. They never utter a word. They have nothing in common, hailing from all races. We have no motivation for their actions and thankfully we're spared weak, and frankly pointless, excuses. Instead their blank faced determinism, and the manner in which they mete out death, lends them a horrific cold bloodedness that is far more memorable than typical thriller character building. There's not so much a sense of palpable evil but a much more terrifying sense of complete inhumanity. Carpenter also uses his great skills with claustrophobia - even the outdoor scenes are deserted, lonely, isolated. The actual station under siege is well designed - we're made aware of the layout quickly, before the action starts, so that the action sequences make sense without confusing us on issues of location. The darkness of the proceedings - pale lighting and so forth - add to the edgy mood of the characters. And Carpenter once again has a nice musical score accompanying his movie - it may sound dated, but it suits the ambience and atmosphere to a tee.

`Assault on Precinct 13' is hardly clever. It's not claiming to be. It's a low budget work with a central `siege' idea. It works because of the claustrophobic element, the feeling of desperation in the characters, some neat villains and fairly well fleshed characters. It may not be the pinnacle of its type, but it sure is enjoyable while it lasts. 6.8/10.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 November 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Anderson Alamo See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

CKK See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Dolby Stereo (DVD re-release)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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