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Escape from New York
Escape from New York
Actors: Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Cult Movies
R     2000     1hr 39min

A thrilling landmark film that jolts along at a breakneck pace, Escape From New York leapt to cult status with high-octane action, edge-of-your-seat suspense and a mind-blowing vision of a lone warrior (Kurt Russell) battl...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Kurt Russell, Futuristic, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 11/21/2000
Original Release Date: 07/10/1981
Theatrical Release Date: 07/10/1981
Release Year: 2000
Run Time: 1hr 39min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish, French
See Also:

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Member Movie Reviews

Keith A. (Keefer522)
Reviewed on 10/14/2013...
In John Carpenter's cyber-punk 1997 America is a police state, and Manhattan Island has been converted into a maximum security prison. When Air Force One crashes in New York, the government sends in bad-ass mercenary Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) to get the President out alive. One of my fave J.C. movies, right behind the original "Halloween."
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Rhonda P. (rhonnie40) from CHARLES CITY, IA
Reviewed on 12/31/2011...
Good retro movie
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Cathleen W. (meionnamei) from OKLAHOMA CITY, OK
Reviewed on 9/29/2011...
Ok so I know that this is really a guy's guy movie, but who the frick cares. I much prefer these types of movies to the chick flick that reqiers a stomach to handle BS romances that never happens in real life. Give me a machine gun, esplosions, spit and a prayer and Kurt Russel anyday.
If you enjoy that type of movie (wither male/female) then snag this while you can before someone else dose. I know I am. From Mad Max, Rambo: First Blood and even The Terminator. This movie is up wtih the greats and is hard core, in your face, balls to the walls as well as tongue in cheeck humor that should be in the hall of fame Guy's Movies! Take my word for it.
If you don't like it after watching it for the first time then this movie is not for you...mainly because you're a sissy who's manhood hasn't dropped yet even though you're 30.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Brian L. (Bridad) from DRAPER, UT
Reviewed on 6/1/2009...
The quintessential guy flick, Escape From New York is one of those re-watchable films that offers up something of value every time you see it. In an alternate future, Manhattan Island has been turned into a maximum security prison in true dystopian fashion. It’s up to Snake Plisken to rescue the President and stop a war – hey, he’s going in either way, right? In my world, Escape From New York was a stand-alone piece. Don’t waste your time on the ill-planned and even more poorly-executed sequel. There is nothing like New York when it’s time to ESCAPE!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

"Get a new president..."
Michael Crane | Orland Park, IL USA | 01/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hailed as a cult classic by many, John Carpenter's "Escape from New York" is finally available in a more-than-appropriate DVD edition that does the film justice. A dark movie filled with danger, action, suspense, and even humor, this is the classic that gave birth to the ultimate outlaw and anti-hero; Snake Plissken. Now, you can relive the movie like never before.In a post-apocalyptic world filled with crime and violence, the entire city of Manhattan has been transformed into a prison--a death sentence to most. Here, the prisoners are sent once they are banned from society and are forced to stay a life sentence to fight on their own. A crisis is before the people who are in charge of the prison, as the President has been kidnapped and is being held hostage by the very people they dedicated their lives to lock up. The only chance they have is a former war hero turned outlaw, Snake Plissken. They make him a deal that if he can bring back the President alive, all of the charges against him will be dropped. However, there's yet another catch; the main man in charge of the prison has injected Plissken with an explosive device that will be the end of him in less than 24 hours should he not be successful, insuring that he won't "flee" the scene. All of this leads to an exciting and thrilling cult classic that is loved by many.John Carpenter has done a terrific job of painting a dark and bleak picture of law enforcement as we know it. At the same time, he does an excellent job of creating a successful and subtle satire of law and authority. The script is always clever and surprising. While the movie might be a little dated, it still does not take away anything from the raw effect the movie has on us. Kurt Russell is fantastic as the mono-toned "Snake Plissken." He makes the role his own and stands out as one of our favorite anti-heroes in film. All of the right ingredients to make a successful and exciting film are there.This new DVD edition is a lot better than the previous one. The picture has been remastered in high-definition, which truly stands out as an accomplishment. The sound is decent, but we must keep in mind that this is an old movie and the sound can only be restored so much. Extras included are commentaries, photo galleries, an exclusive comic book, featurettes, trailers, the deleted scene of the original opening; the bank robbery, and more. I can tell you for sure that I am much more pleased with this edition of the film."Escape from New York" is definitely one of those films that stands out from the rest. It is a cult classic for a reason, and that reason is undeniable. While it may be overlooked by some, the ones who really appreciate it for what it is benefits a great amount of deal from it. If you're looking for an exciting thrill ride with action, suspense, and humor, this is the one to check out. A superb film on every front."
"The name is Plisskin."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 02/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Back in 1981, John Carpenter released a film, set in 1997, that depicted a somewhat bleak future for the United States in that the crime rate had risen to the point where it was necessary to turn New York City into a maximum security prison by enclosing the island in giant, concrete walls, installing landmines on the access bridges, and providing constant surveillance with the threat of death for any that try to escape. Felons convicted and sent to this prison are given the option of execution rather than being forced to try and survive in this hellish, nightmare environment. Truly only the strongest and most ruthless survive behind these walls. The female narration, done by Carpenter favorite Jamie Lee Curtis, at the beginning ends with the ominous line, "Once you go in, you never come out."

After this is set up, we learn that, while en route to an extremely important conference, the president's plane has been hijacked, and is crashed inside the prison. The inmates recover the president, and threatening to kill him if any attempt is made to release him. A plan is formulated, one including the recently captured, ex-military, now convicted, criminal Snake Plisskin (Kurt Russell) to send him in, alone, and try to bring the president out alive, offering him a full pardon should he succeed. Only problem is, due to time constraints, of the conference, Snake only has 24 hours to complete this mission, if he accepts it. Another minor glitch...without his knowing it, microscopic implants are inserted into Snake's neck in case he decided to skip out, and are set to go off unless Snake can recover the president and return him safely within the time allotted.

This has always been one of my favorite movies. It brings to life the perfect anti-hero, the outlaw. We've seen and loved this type of character before, like in the Clint Eastwood western movies of the 60's. America loves an outlaw, and John Carpenter has brought the character into the future. Escape From New York is an excellent example of a low budget movie that is really well made, from the realistic sets and scenery, characters, casting, scripting, direction, and music, all of which was composed by John Carpenter himself. Kurt Russell plays Snake so perfectly that you'll never picture anyone else in the role. Other actors that provide wonderful performances, many of which Carpenter uses in his later films, are Harry Dean Stanton, Donald Pleasance, Adrienne Barbeau, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Van Cleef, and Tom Atkins. And let's not forget Isaac Hayes as The Duke of New York, leader of the most powerful gang within the prison, and the one holding the president in hopes of using him to escape. Another thing is that this movie moves. There is no plodding, the plot is clearly defined and drives the movie to its' satisfying conclusion.

The special features included in this special edition DVD are many, and listed thoroughly on the product page. Included is the eleven-minute sequence involving Snake, a bank robbery, and subsequent capture that led him to be sentenced to the prison. This was only available before on the laserdisc version, so I am really glad it made it here. After watching it and listening to the commentary, you'll understand why it was cut from the movie, but the gist is that it humanized the character of Snake too much. Also included from the laserdisc version is a full-length commentary by John Carpenter and Kurt Russell. Many commentaries I watch tend to be dry and boring, but it was wonderful listening to these two talk about scenes and reminisce. They go into great detail, all while keeping it interesting. Some of the other extras are nice, but probably not for everyone, like the mini comic book and the additional commentary by producer Deborah Hill and production designer Joe Alves. It's a bit dry and boring, and probably only would appeal to the more hardcore fans. And last but not least is the quality of the picture. It looks beautiful and crisp, better than I have ever seen it. All in all, this release is truly befitting of the title 'Special Edition'. This movie was followed up in 1996 by a somewhat disappointing sequel called Escape From LA. The elements were pretty much there for that one, but the gritty edginess that made Escape From New York so wonderful just wasn't. Maybe too much time had passed between the movies.

Carpenter's Classic Returns To Video (But What About DVD?)
Mr. | USA | 08/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is my 2nd favorite John Carpenter movie (Starman is my 1st). One thing you should know is that at the time, Kurt Russell was not a bankable star. In fact he wasn't even an action hero yet, having still come off the cheesy Disney movies he did earlier in his career. Carpenter, who previously had cast Russell in the made for TV movie, Elvis, found Kurt such a delight to work with that he wanted him for this film (and then, right after that, The Thing) but studio executives weren't so sure. Finally, thankfully, they gave in and he got the part. They say that certain actors have their one director that's their own and vice versa. Kurt Russell and John Carpenter have this type of working relationship, collaborating 5 times (Elvis, Escape From New York, The Thing, Big Trouble In Little China, Escape From L.A.) and in my opinion, this film is the best of that collaboration. Set in the distant future (even though actually we've already come to and passed the specific dates (1988-1997) so just think of it as an alternate reality or a "What If?", if you will), 'Escape begins with the crash landing of Air Force One into New York City, which is now a prison ("Once you go in you don't come out.") following the introduction of Snake Plissken, who we would have met earlier in a scene that was later deleted of him and his partner robbing a bank and attempting to escape in a subway car, resulting in Snake's partner being killed and himself being captured. Enter Lee Van Cleef, the man in charge of rescuing the President Of The United States (played by Donald Pleasence). What's nice about Lee and Kurt is that you almost feel like you're watching the classic spaghetti western, For A Few Dollars More, since Kurt is emulating Clint Eastwood in this character, something that even Mr. Carpenter himself has admitted to saying. The basic story is Snake must go into New York and save the President as well as recover a cassette tape that has vital information on it (today it would have been on a small CD which does make this film feel dated, but who cares) because if he doesn't, the poisonous capsules that were injected into his neck will soon desolve and kill him instantly. You can't make Snake do anything he doesn't want to do. You have to force him. The character, Snake Plissken has been said to be a person who doesn't really care about anyone or anything except himself. I would have to disagree with that statement because Snake does, in his own way, admire courage, probably because he sees so very little of it around him. Along the way he meets up with some very bizarre characters, including Cabbie (Ernest Borgnine), the easy going NYC cab driver, The Brain (Harry Dean Stanton), a man from Snake's past who deserted him years before during a job that went sour, Maggie (Adrienne Barbeau), Brain's attractive and loyal companion, and Isaac Hayes as The Duke Of New York ("You're A#1") who is out to use the President as a bargaining chip to win his freedom. I will admit that some viewers might be a little bored if they grew up watching 90's action films and like the pace quicker. This film takes its time but only to set the mood and bring you into it. That's a plus for me. The music (see my review for the newly remastered edition) adds another dimension to the film, with Carpenter composing and conducting it himself (in association with Alan Howarth), setting the mood with lovely synthesizer sounds and compositions. This film works because unlike it's sequel (see my review for Escape From L.A.) this film has depth to it that makes you care about the characters, whereas in the 2nd film, you really could care less what happens to them. Donald Pleasence's machine gun frenzy at the very end should also not be missed. Let's just hope MGM releases the Widescreen (2:35'1) DVD soon and include the extras that were on the New Line Home Video Laserdisc (Featurette, Theatrical Trailer, Audio Commentary with Kurt Russell and John Carpenter) and anything else they can come up with (the complete Deleted Scene of the Atlanta Bank Robbery and Isolated Score would sure be nice). Escape From New York: a film not to be missed. ("Call me Snake.")"