Escape From New York


It has been offered by John Carpenter that the film's success was in part aided by America's desire to watch a successful rescue mission in the aftermath of the Iran hostage crisis. Thus, a number of external factors combined to allow Carpenter's film to be made and perhaps to succeed financially.

More Trivia from Escape From New York
By 1988, crime in the US has risen 400

The government has built a 50ft wall around Manhattan Island and converted it into an inescapable huge open prison where the country's toughest criminals are sent on a 'one-way' ticket. The wall is guarded by armed police, the bridges are mined and the bay patrolled by helicopters which blast anything that moves in the water. The island is almost entirely without electricity and the famous skyline has become dark and ominous, like the fledgling society growing in its streets, alleyways and sewers.

1997. The President is travelling by Air Force One to an international summit with a cassette vital for world peace. This tape has to be presented at a summit in twenty four hours, to end years of conflict, but the plane is hijacked en route. The highjacker proceeds to crash the plane into the Manhattan Island prison. The President (Pleasence) escapes death via the planes emergency pod, but is immediately found and held hostage by the prisons most notorious gang, run by feared Duke of New York (Hayes).

Prison chief (Van Cleef) decides to send decorated ex-war veteran/hero turned robber of the state reserve Snake Plissken (Russell), whose unrivaled sense of self-preservation and combat prowess make him the man chosen to enter New York fortress to find and rescue the President.

To insure his cooperation, he is injected with two small charges, set in his arteries and timed to go off in 24 hours. The 24hr time limit presents a convenient marker against which to build the tension as Snake Plissken battles with roving bands of sewer dwelling armed convicts (immensely tense scene) and various other murderous cons.

In the search to locate the President, Plissken meets a number of colourful characters who assist him in his seemingly impossible task.


Escape From New York is an enthralling action movie that combines the prison break out genre with interesting futuristic premise.

Kurt Russell is superb as snarling anti-hero Snake Plissken whose rumours of demise, providing a running joke throughout the movie. The opening shots of the decayed, walled in New York splendidly set the mood and gritty tone of the film.

The story of Escape From New York derives from the exaggeration of everyday urban crime scenarios, see also Assault On Precinct 13, The Road Warrior and The Exterminator.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Classic 'B' movie action. Great atmosphere.

Weaknesses? Some would say that its a bit 'cheesy' and jingo-istic...

Our rating: 9 out of 10

Review Written by Stuart Fitzgerald:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Stuart Fitzgerald
Escape From New York