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Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

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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
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3,654 ( 497)
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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 April 1978 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Dolby Stereo (DVD re-release)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The station house is referred to as "Precinct 9, Division 13", yet the sign above the door reads "Division 14". See more »

Goofs

Several characters talk about going to death row in Sonoma. San Quentin State Prison, the only mens death row prison in California, is in Marin County. Marin merely borders Sonoma County. See more »

Quotes

Leigh: I go through all that, and his gun isn't even loaded.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Far Beyond the Stars (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Basic but very effective and fun
31 May 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

When a man and his daughter drive down the wrong street they get into the middle of a gang shooting. The little girl is killed and the father left distraught, but armed with another victim's gun. He catches up with the gang and kills the leader before seeking refuge in a local police station. However the station is only manned by a few staff as it is in the process of being shut down. A prison wagon also arrives at the station with sick prisoners for temporary holding – however it is then that the street gang launch their attack with stolen and silenced automatic weapons.

I had half watched this film several years ago and didn't review it then because I knew I had been distracted and not able to give it enough attention to be able to form a fair opinion of it – however I didn't really enjoy it then. Giving it another chance produced a much more enjoyable film, even if it seems very basic on the face of it. The plot seems very simple and, in fairness, it is – gang outside, people inside, people try to keep gang out and stay alive. This is doing it a disservice of course because it creates an enjoyable tension from this simple set-up and delivers some enjoyable (if basic) action and thrills. The direction is good; my personal favourite shot being the shot near the end where the smoke clears! This effective delivery is also aided by Carpenter's own score that is nicely pulsating and still sounds great even if it is dated – the important thing is that it still fits the film and therefore works.

The dialogue is trashy but this fits the slight b-movie feel the film has. The characters are also quite simple (very basic backgrounds and personalities for each) but again this seems to work really well. The strength of having a mostly unknown cast is that you can't be sure who will live or die by the end of the film. Despite being mostly unknowns (to me anyway) the performances are generally very enjoyable even if no Oscars are being given out. Stoker and Joston lead the film really well and give good, natural performances with an overflow of charisma. I don't know the other's outside of these two but the rest were good as well, even if the film belongs to Bishop and Wilson. I was a bit let down by the lack of a central bad guy but in one regard the film also uses this well by making the gang an unseen threat that could be an isolated group or an army.

Overall this is a very basic film in several regards, but it is also a very effective and enjoyable one. If you are looking for film references then there are some to be had but for most of us the film's charismatic leads, action and effective tension will be what we stay for – and luckily it has all those with some to spare.


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