7.2/10
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Escape from New York (1981)

Trailer
2:26 | Trailer
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
1,353 ( 394)
4 nominations. See more awards »

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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 »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original negative was considered lost, but later found by the current owner of the film: MGM. It was subsequently used to create new elements for the Special Edition DVD. See more »

Goofs

The Air Force One plane exterior was shown to be Sud Aviation SE210 Caravelle. However the interior was actually a Boeing 747. It is clearly noticeable when the secret service agent tries to break down the cockpit door that this is the nose cabin of a Boeing 747. 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 ...
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Alternate Versions

Collector's edition laserdisc (during director commentary) shows cut scenes of high-tech bank robbery which led to Snake's conviction and eventual prison sentencing to New York. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Last Horror Film (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Bandstand Boogie
Music by Charles Albertine
Courtesy of Cherio Corporation
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User Reviews

 
A Snake, a Brain, a Cabbie, a Duke and the President Of The USA,
16 October 2008 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

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)

Gross USA:

$25,244,626

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,244,626
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Extended Version)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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