New York Times - 07/10/1981
"...Brutal, very fine-looking....Carpenter's most ambitous, most riveting film to date..."
Total Film - 07/01/2000
"...ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK featured a supporting cast of cult appeal and successfully launched Kurt Russell as a rugged action hero..."
Sight and Sound - 01/01/2006
"The premise, characters and theme all resonate..."
Uncut - 01/01/2006 Ranked #7 in Uncut's Best DVDs Of 2005 -- "John Carpenter's dystopian, kick-ass, junk-punk flick of 1977..."
Premiere - 08/10/2010 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "One of the coolest and most exciting action/sci-fi flicks ever made. John Carpenter was in a zone..."
Another John Carpenter cult classic, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK was one of the best entries in the once popular post-apocalyptic genre which included ROAD WARRIOR and THE TERMINATOR. In 1997, the island of Manhattan has been turned into the world's largest maximum security prison, a place where the worst of humanity is sent to rot. The U.S. Government finds itself in a major crisis when the president's plane crash lands in New York only days before a vital peace summit between major warring nations is to take place. The president survives the crash, but is taken hostage by the denizens of Manhattan and held for ransom. Only war hero turned felon Snake Plissken can save the day, and he is offered a simple deal for his work: save the president and live, fail to save him and die. The one-eyed bandit sets to work, cutting a path of destruction to the president that has to be seen to be believed. Kurt Russell creates the indelible character of Snake Plissken as no other actor could have. Wisecracking and cool under the very worst of pressures, Snake is the ultimate bad good guy. Often copied, but never duplicated, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK is full of the wit, energy and action that marks a John Carpenter picture.
In the year 1997, a decayed New York City has become a maximum security prison that houses thousands of hardened criminals. It is in this urban hellhole that the president's plane has crashed, and he has been taken hostage by some of the prison's most vicious convicts. Snake Plissken, a one-eyed, decorated war hero turned felon, is given the option of rescuing the president in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. However, he has only 24 hours to complete his assignment...
Big City |
Cult Film |
Essential Cinema |
Prison / Prisoners |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical release: May 4, 1981.
Tommy Lee Jones was orginially slated to play Snake Plissken rather than Kurt Russell. Director John Carpenter changed his own, and the studio's, mind at the last minute.
A restored version of the film shows Snake Plissken robbing a super high-security bank, complete with towering guard robots, as the opening sequence. The scene was removed because Carpenter didn't like the way the guard robots moved.