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Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Henry Brandon , Peter Bruni , John Carpenter  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Henry Brandon, Peter Bruni, Tony Burton, Charles Cyphers, Frank Doubleday
  • Directors: John Carpenter
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Restored, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 3, 2009
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001KEGR8O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,109 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

In this unrelenting action masterpiece from director John Carpenter (Halloween, Escape from New York), a police station under siege from a vicious street gang becomes a cataclysmic battleground where only the strongest survive! Inspired by Howard Hawks' immortal western, Rio Bravo, this explosive gem from one of cinema's great frightmasters has been newly restored with a host of high-powered extras!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense, Nail Biting Action February 22, 2001
Format:DVD
One should not watch this movie expecting the highly choreographed gunfight ballets that John Woo initiated & every other action movie has followed ever sense. This movie preceded all of that. The plot focuses on a small group of police officers and convicts fighting off a relentless street gang in an all but abandoned precinct. There are two central heroes of this movie: Bishop, a Black Police Chief who is new to the job & looking for a little adventure at the beginning of the film (a superior officer asks him "Do you want to be a hero your first time out?" "Yes, Sir," Bishop replies); and there is Napolean Wilson, a White man on his way to death row when the prison bus he is riding is forced to make a detour (check out this plot twist: another prisoner starts coughing & wheezing, nearly passing out, and guess what, rather than pulling a shiv on the cop who examines him, it turns out the guy is really sick! How often does that happen in a movie?). Napolean Wilson is a man with a lot of snappy comebacks. He says everything that we wished we'd said in certain situations after we thought about it because we know it would be so cool. More than one character says "You're pretty fancy, Wilson." The details of Wilson's crime is never revealed, but the fact that it was exceptionally savage is clear by the response of everyone else's response to him. These characters could have been lifted from any John Ford movie, but the fact that the movie takes place mostly at night and has a more contemporary time frame gives the movie a sweaty-palmed urgency that the Westerns lack. Even though the movie was made in 1976, the scene where the street gang cruises around & considers who to kill in a random drive-by shooting feels all too contemporary. Read more ›
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
The film itself is three-and-a-half stars out of five; taut, eerie, violent, suspenseful and (best of all) fun, this is a fine example of a lo-fi 1970's "B" suspense-action thriller. At it's core, "Assault On Precinct 13" is a 1970's "grindhouse" feature with characters and a premise straight out of Howard Hawks and John Ford westerns. This was "B" film master John Carpenter's second feature (after the ultra-low budget amateurish sci-fi spoof "Dark Star"), and his terrific skill with suspense and atmosphere really became evident with this film; his use of lighting, shadows and darkness in the film are textbook examples of how to make a "B" suspense flick on the cheap. The music, another classic (albeit corny) John Carpenter synth score, also contributes considerably to the film's "B" movie goodness.

On the other hand, his handling of action sequences are merely workmanlike and competent, and for all the great (and not so great) films Carpenter would later go on to direct, he would never really improve much in that area. Another weakness that holds this film back from "B" movie perfection are some painfully rank amateurish acting performances (we're talking "1970's porn" bad); for some, this may add to the fun, but for me, it only distracts from an otherwise well-made, slick little thriller that really makes the most of its feeble production budget.

In the final analysis, "Assault" is not Carpenter's best work (for me, "Halloween" and "The Thing" hold those honors), and the film has become dated to be sure. Yet for those who are game, the film's datedness ultimately works in its favor, as time has all but ensured that "Assault" remains a funky, eerie (and fun) time capsule of a bygone film era.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They really don't make 'em like this anymore April 8, 2005
Format:DVD
Before there was Halloween, there was Assault on Precinct 13, John Carpenter's second movie and arguably his first masterpiece. Fans of his later work should be warned though, there's no traditional horror or supernatural elements here, just one of history's all-time great low-budget action movies. By now the plot should be familiar to just about anyone reading this review: a lone cop and a couple of lifers have to defend a virtually abandoned police station against a street gang's onslaught. However, it's what Carpenter does with this concept that makes Assault on Precinct 13 such an exciting and memorable watch. It's a brilliantly executed pressure-cooker of a movie, thrusting a few decidedly disparate people into an unimaginably dire situation and letting us watch them as they try to figure out what to do about it. Although Carpenter has made much of the influence of classic westerns on this movie (Rio Bravo in particular), there are also ample doses of the eerie minimalism and stark brutality that Carpenter brought to Halloween, along with the tense, claustrophobic atmosphere that characterized much of Night of the Living Dead. Released in 1976 against the backdrop of escalating violence and decay in America's cities, the movie plays perfectly into fears of urban crime, as a small band of heroes are literally confronted with an onslaught from a small army of gang members. At bottom, though, Assault on Precinct 13 is a story of courage and heroism under the worst of circumstances, and it accomplishes this difficult task without being the slightest bit preachy, which may be even more impressive. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic John Carpenter.
Maybe not the best movie in the world but Classic John Carpenter. If you're a John Carpenter fan then you need this flick in your collection. Read more
Published 1 day ago by danimal
5.0 out of 5 stars The first of Carpenter's Many Masterpieces.
One of the funniest, darkest and most tense action movies I have seen, it is also one that has sadly fallen below the radar, overshadowed by Carpenter's later work and some of the... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Eric T. Hanson
5.0 out of 5 stars "Anybody got a smoke?"
It's not that the 2005 remake was that sucky; I actually didn't mind it. It's just that John Carpenter's original Assault on Precinct 13, out in 1976, was such a synergy of... Read more
Published 15 days ago by H. Bala
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME MOVIE. FANTASTIC PICTURE QUALITY AND MOVIE
OH YEAH, AWESOME MOVIE. FANTASTIC PICTURE QUALITY AND MOVIE.!!
Published 22 days ago by Michael H.
3.0 out of 5 stars The Beginning of a Promising Career
There are a lot of things that John Carpenter would change about this film if he were to make it now. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Julian Pope
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly efficient B film
A gang of criminals are ambushed and slaughtered by police. Their four multi-racial confederates wordlessly mingle their own blood in what appears to be an oath of revenge, and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by dra
3.0 out of 5 stars An ok exploiation picture with a terrifict music score!
I only gave it 3 stars because of it the soundtrack.
The theme song is really cool. The only other movie that I can think of where the music is better then movie itself... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Luke
4.0 out of 5 stars YOu don't see this anymore.
Great movie I love johns works Such real scenarios and you keep grinding your teeth on how will they make it.Great movie
Published 3 months ago by Derek Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Action movie with edge of the seat drama !
Only on amazon have I found this classic movie. It has edge qf trhe seat drama. It also has a lot of gunfire action! I has a very good story line.
Published 3 months ago by David Franklin Chastang
4.0 out of 5 stars A lost classic being shown some love
Let me start by saying I love this film! I have two version of it on DVD (mistakenly thought there were new special features on one) and was looking forward to the blu-ray... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
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