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Escape from New York (1981)

Action | 99 minutes
3,23 1.266 votes

Genre: Scifi / Action

Duration: 99 minuten

Alternative title: John Carpenter's Escape from New York

Country: United States

Directed by: John Carpenter

Stars: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef and Ernest Borgnine

IMDb score: 7,1 (151.968)

Releasedate: 23 May 1981

Escape from New York plot

"1997. New York City Is Now a Maximum Security Prison. Breaking Out is Impossible. Breaking In is Insane."

The future: 1997. With crime rates up 400%, a wall is erected around Manhattan in 1988, turning the island off New York into a maximum-security prison. Nine years later, the president's plane is hijacked in protest against the police state and the pod containing the president lands within the walls of the island. Snake Plissken is just about to go to jail. However, he can regain his freedom by rescuing the president from the gangs holding him hostage.

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Full Cast & Crew

Actors and actresses

Snake Plissken

Police Commissioner Bob Hauk

President of the United States

The Duke of New York

Girl in Chock Full O'Nuts

Harold 'Brain' Helman

Secretary of State

Reviews & comments


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avatar van jordandejong


  • 4358 messages
  • 1251 votes

This remains a classic that never gets old. Carpenter knows how to create a wonderfully dark, ominous atmosphere. Ruins of buildings, junk, and rushing past shadows and shadows of all kinds of dark scum roaming the New York prison. That wonderful 80's vibe is dripping everywhere. Carpenter's soundtrack is still great and Kurt Russell is still super cool as anti-hero Snake Plissken after all these years.

A wonderful atmosphere, great concept, brilliant soundtrack and bad-ass characters. No wonder the Italians created dozens of rip-offs of this Carpenter classic (of course also with major influences from Mad Max). Timeless classic that I must see every year. Seems to get better every time I review it.

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avatar van ricootje76


  • 12 messages
  • 10 votes

Cult movie classic! perfectly nasty atmosphere in a nightmare version of the Big Apple. You'll just get there haha. The movie also has plenty of action to perfectly cast Kurt Russell for the role of the one-liner Snake Plisken. Nice wrong eighties soundtrack in the beginning but it always hangs. All in all, a very good film by Carpenter.

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avatar van filmfan0511


  • 919 messages
  • 952 votes

Very pleasant surprise! The average here on Moviemeter is not too high, but on many lists I often saw Escape from New York among Carpenter's best films. I agree with that sentiment; I really had a lot of fun with it for 100 minutes. The film gets going very quickly, and then invariably keeps the foot on the accelerator. Every now and then an inventive or exciting action scene takes place. So a really nice pace. I especially found the large scale of it all quite impressive; the detailed sets of devastated New York, but also the enormous number of extras that are often present; in terms of scope it's the most impressive Carpenter film I've seen so far. Visually very nice too. Bon, some fight scenes look very outdated of course, but especially in terms of overview images of the city it is all very atmospheric, with all those blue colors.
The undisputed star of the film is, of course, Kurt Russell as the uber-cool anti-hero/anti-villain Snake Plissken. What a really cool role. The rest of the cast is also doing a great job (lots of big names too), but there's only one person to star in this case.

While the film never loses momentum, I didn't like the part when Snake is captured a little less. Fortunately, the film closes with a solid last fifteen minutes, although I found the ending a bit too abrupt. So there will probably be a nuclear apocalypse, or have I misinterpreted that completely? In any case, Escape from New York is an atmospheric, action-packed film with a very original and cool concept. 4*.

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