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Escape from New York (1981)

R | | Action, Sci-Fi | 10 July 1981 (USA)
Trailer
2:30 | Trailer

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In 1997, when the U.S. president crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in to rescue him.

Director:

John Carpenter
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Popularity
1,769 ( 447)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Garrett Bergfeld ... Gypsy #2
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Storyline

In the future, crime is out of control and New York City's Manhattan 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:

New York is a disease. Meet the cure. See more »

Genres:

Action | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 July 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Escape from New York See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,162,000, 12 July 1981, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$25,244,700
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Extended Version)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film shot in St. Louis, Missouri, Los Angeles, California, New York City, New York, and Atlanta, Georgia. Barry Bernardi selected St. Louis to double for Manhattan, due to the city's eager co-operation, its aesthetic similarity to a "major east coast city", and its proximity to the Chain of Rocks Bridge, which was conveniently closed and could double as New York City's famed Queensborough (59th Street) Bridge. Carpenter elaborated on the selection of St. Louis as a surrogate locale for New York City: "St. Louis, due to a major fire they had there in 1977, now just has the right amount of emptiness in the downtown area. Also the right architecture. So much of the city looks vacant and dead; perfect for our needs, since we couldn't use anything looking new or fresh." St. Louis' Union Train Station simulated Madison Square Garden, while the city's downtown area, after being littered with "junked cars" and trash, became the decrepit streets of a 1997 Manhattan. Four separate locales in Los Angeles were used to recreate the World Trade Center, and Liberty Island was among the New York City shooting sites. Atlanta's MARTA mass-transit system, which was originally featured in the film as a "futuristic trans-continental train," was cut from the final edit. See more »

Goofs

When Snake triggers the tracer after the fight in Madison Square Garden, Hauk follows the signal to the World Trade Center. But Snake did not take the tracer bracelet with him, he left it on the man at the Garden. It is not on his wrist for the rest of the film. 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 »

Alternate Versions

Columbia Tristar Home Video released a director's special editon on VHS (now out of print). It basically has same the material as the collector's laserdisk. An interview with John Carpenter which contains extra footage not in the theatrical release. Also the orginal theatrical trailer. The movie is Letterbox, digitally remastered, and Dolby Surround Stereo. See more »


Soundtracks

The Crazies Come Out
(uncredited)
Written and Performed by John Carpenter
Produced by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Cult film that does not stand test of time
24 February 2012 | by iummaSee all my reviews

I have to admit, I was expecting a lot more here, and as such I was disappointed. This movie does not measure up even to cult status, with a gruff, almost non-existent acting job by Russell, stupid bad guys, and terrible dialog. This would not even be a solid indie by todays standards. There are other sci-fi cult films from this period that translate well to modern day (ie, Road Warrior, also from 81'), this one does not IMO. Carpenter had a solid premise, but it gets lost with a insufficient budget, and bad acting. I cant understand why Snake became such a iconic character off this movie alone. I have not seen Escape from LA as of yet, but it would have to really be great to make up for the lackluster EFNY.


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