Escape from New York (1981)

escape from new york poster 1981 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Cooler than cool Snake Plissken

Dated story and

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Escape from New York

Studio:  Goldcrest Films

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  July 10, 1981

MPAA Rating:  R


Mr. President…You make a good target!

New York City has been made a giant prison after World War III…and the President’s plane has crashed in it.  Injected with a device that will kill him, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) has been ordered to retrieve the President (Donald Pleasence) who must make an important speech on world security.  With the help of the Brain (Harry Dean Stanton), Maggie (Adrienne Barbeau), and Cabbie (Ernest Borgnine), Snake must free the President from the Duke of New York City (Isaac Hayes) and prevent a mass breakout to save his own life.

Written and directed by John Carpenter, Escape from New York was released to mostly positive reviews and quickly gained a cult following.  The Snake Plissken character has often been listed as one of the greatest “heroes” of all time and the film was listed as an influence to many other works of sci-fi and fantasy.


You might be “the Bad” Van Cleef…but I’m badder…

Escape from New York is pretty low budget and feels low budget.  Despite that, the movie has a very cool feel.  It reminds me a bit of The Warriors crossed with a Western with a so-bad-he’s-good anti-hero in Snake Plissken.  The set-up is almost an Odyssey-type set-up with Plissken wandering the streets of New York meeting allies and enemies (the sequel Escape from L.A. this is even more-so).

The world of Escape from New York is a post-apocalyptic type movie.  The idea of a prison island where it makes its own law was kind of new and revolutionary, but has been copied multiple times since.  The movie is dark, gritty, and hopeless but somehow still fun.


Can you hold my bat with nails for me?

Snake Plissken is the real reason to watch this film.  The dark and gritty character is fun and like how you always pictured Wolverine (I can’t help to think that Patch is more based on Plissken than Clint Eastwood…Wolverine’s early influence).  The character was monumental in influencing other characters like Solid Snake and even characters like the Punisher who took a no-nonsense approach to dealing with their problems.

Escape from New York is a must for fans of Carpenter and for fans of the post-apocalyptic genre (which over the years has developed into its own type of movie).  The movie is a classic of sci-fi and action so if you’ve never seen it check it out…though some aspects of the film are a bit dated (I mean it is set in the crazy future of 1988).  Escape from New York was followed by Escape from L.A. in 1996.

Related Links:

Escape from L.A. (1996)


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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