7.2/10
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303 user 219 critic

Escape from New York (1981)

R | | Action, Sci-Fi | 10 July 1981 (USA)
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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
1,858 ( 341)
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:

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 »

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:

Escape from New York City 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 Secret Service Agent attempting to break into the cockpit of Air Force One, at the beginning of the movie, is Steven Ford, son of President Gerald Ford. See more »

Goofs

The American flag on the right-hand side of Air Force One's tail is not reversed. In reality it would have the stars in the upper right to represent a real flag moving forward. However, the flag could have been changed in the alternate history within the movie. 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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Soundtracks

Arrival at the Library
(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

 
" Hi Snake, . . . I heard you were dead!"
30 June 2007 | by thinker1691See all my reviews

Many fans of Kurt Russell were extremely surprised he emerged from his years as a child actor to evolve into a believable, hard hitting, action hero. True, he was traditionally recognized to many for his whimsical, good-looks and high school persona. Thus when movie-goers saw him in this film, many stood aghast at his mature tenor. This futuristic story begins with the President's plane being high-jacked by rebel extremists and flown into the island city of New York which has been transformed into a maximum prison. The plane with the president (Donald Pleasence) on board crashes into the prison and it falls to the warden/Police Commissioner, one, Bob Hauk, (Lee Van Cleef) to rescue the chief executive. His plan? To send in a new convict, an experienced ex-soldier and special ops veteran, named, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) with the promise of a presidential pardon if he can return him alive. To insure the clever criminal does not take the opportunity to escape, he is given a lethal injection which can only be removed by the commissioner's medical staff. Thus, begins a timely drama which means life or death for the hero, the president and ultimately the world. The success of this film owes much to the film's other characters like the talkative Cabbie (Ernest Borgnine, terrific acting), Harold ' Brain' Helman (Harry Dean Stanton), his 'squeeze' Maggie (Adrienne Barbeau) and Isaac Hayes, who plays the heavy, The Duke of New York. This a groundbreaking film for Russell and as expected, he carries it to it's rave conclusion with action to spare. ****


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