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Escape from New York (1981)

Kurt Russell , Lee Van Cleef , John Carpenter  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (476 customer reviews)

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Escape from New York + Escape from L.A. + Mad Max (Special Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes
  • Directors: John Carpenter
  • Writers: John Carpenter, Nick Castle
  • Producers: Barry Bernardi, Debra Hill, Larry J. Franco
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • 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: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: November 21, 2000
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (476 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004Y87O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,452 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Escape from New York" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Collectible Booklet

Editorial Reviews

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) battling his way out of a post-apocalyptic Manhattan! Hailed as "stylish and scary" (Los Angeles Times), "dark and dangerous" (Newsweek) and "gloriously...fun" (Tyler Morning Telegraph), this fast-paced and furiously entertaining thriller grabs you by the throat and won't let go! In a world ravaged by crime, the entire island of Manhattan has been converted to a walled prison where brutal prisoners roam. But when the U.S. President (Donald Pleasence) crash-lands inside, only one man can bring him back: notorious outlaw and former Special Forces war hero Snake Plissken (Russell). But time is short: in 24 hours, an explosive device implanted in his neck will end Snake's missionand his lifeunless he succeeds!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
97 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Get a new president..." January 1, 2004
Format:DVD
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.
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116 of 135 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray
The film itself is three and a half stars (out of five): yet another entertaining "B" thriller from cult film director John Carpenter, this sci-fi/action romp is lots of fun in every sense of the word: great characters populated by a great cast, led by Russel's iconic take on "Snake Plissken", the love child of Clint Eastwood and Jim Morrison; a delicious, cheese-tastic premise that maintains a sense of humor while playing it serious (unlike its lesser, overly-campy sequel); production values that sporadically waver between solid and chintzy, somehow only adding to the film's gritty, dark (and fun) comic book-like tone; and a classic (albeit corny) John Carpenter synth score.

As a point of acknowledgment, I'm a big John Carpenter fan... but if truth be told, while Carpenter is terrific with atmosphere and suspense, he is somewhat challenged when it comes to shooting action sequences. That point is underscored once again with this film, as the action sequences are fairly unmemorable; fortunately, the film's creepily weird atmosphere and colorful characters more than make up for it.

While the film ultimately does not live up to its potential, it has more than enough attributes to cement its place as a minor genre classic. This is not Carpenter's best work by a long shot (for my money, "Halloween" and "The Thing" are tied for that honor); nevertheless, this is still a must-see for those who dig the 1970's-early 1980's era of "B" movie sci-fi/action flicks.

Now, on to the Blu-Ray review: the 1080P widescreen picture quality of this Blu-Ray is a decent step-up from the special edition DVD released a few years back. Released in the correct aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (Amazon incorrectly listed this release at 1.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The name is Plisskin." February 5, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars I expected better
The last line tested my gag reflex. I did watch the entire movie. It was a slow night. I thought the actors did their best with the script they had
Published 1 day ago by David A Collier
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad acting and bad plot
This was a terrible movie and surprised that my husband was able to sit through it all. I gave up! Would not recommend this to anyone.
Published 1 day ago by Rebecca
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible!
So slow that we could not stay awake. Gave it at least 30 minutes to get going and finally stopped the suffering and chose another movie. Definite disappointment.
Published 1 day ago by M. Cavazos
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad
Saw it when I was younger and liked it. Now, on 2nd look, cheaply made and has very poor acting.
Published 2 days ago by Gerald Messick
4.0 out of 5 stars Great 70s movie that leaves you hanging.
Very good old movie its a classic. its a 70s movie that very good. This movie leaves you hanging you want to know whats next. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Sean
5.0 out of 5 stars Start of Snake Pliskin!
All star cast and the start of Snake Pliskin...
Better than the sequel. It is surprising there weren't more made.
Published 2 days ago by Mred511
2.0 out of 5 stars So dated
Sort of an interesting concept video. But it was just so dated it was difficult to immerse. Interesting to see Kurt Russell in that early role. Read more
Published 2 days ago by 2-Stage
3.0 out of 5 stars Cheese.
Cheese is the word that best describes this 80's flick. It's not the best, but it's entertaining. I liked I then, and I like it now.
Published 2 days ago by Krash670
5.0 out of 5 stars classic
they dont make em like this anymore...good from start to finish! watching on prime was good...try it you'll like it
Published 3 days ago by satman
1.0 out of 5 stars Escape from New York
The story was jumbled after the president's pod goes down in New York.. Acting was sub par at best. Waste of time watching.
Published 3 days ago by JohnB from NJ
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