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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 (463 customer reviews)

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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 (463 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004Y87O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,685 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 Call me snape, snake, slate?
Terrible special effects, horrible storyline, and the movie twerked or skipped every two to two and a half seconds making it almost impossible to follow.
Published 5 hours ago by Gabriel Solnica
2.0 out of 5 stars Kurt Russel version of escape from new york
Cheesy movie, had low budget look. Watch as a way to kill time. Much better movies are available to watch.
Published 12 hours ago by Glen
4.0 out of 5 stars Corny but good
Yeah it has all the clichés but it is still fun to watch! I just like Russell in pretty much anything he does.
Published 13 hours ago by jparsnips
3.0 out of 5 stars Are we headed to NY?
Older movie but well worth watching again. A bit dark in most every scene. Love the action thoug. RIP Earnest
Published 16 hours ago by Wayne
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the time
Good show and way better quality than the VHS tape I saw it on last, but not one I'd watch over and over.
Published 18 hours ago by J Goff
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
Kurt Russell comes across as trying hard to sound Clint Eastwood tough. In spite of this, I recommend the movie for its entertainment and creative strengths. Read more
Published 1 day ago by CA from C2
3.0 out of 5 stars kept me awake
I watched this in hopes that it would put me to sleep, but it had the opposite effect. The plot was just interesting enough.
Published 2 days ago by tom
1.0 out of 5 stars thank goodness I didn't pay to watch this
Unable to watch more than 20 minutes of this movie. Thank goodness I didn't pay for this. It is free with prime.
Published 2 days ago by mritchie14
2.0 out of 5 stars Escape From New York - QUICK
Very disapointed in the movie in general. Bad acting, bad special effects and not a very good plot. Maybe I have been jaded by the newer hgh tech movies, but this one just didn't... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Kathy Bement
3.0 out of 5 stars ESCAPE NEW YORK
I GUESS IT WAS JUST O.k. I WOULD NOT WATCH IT AGAIN . IS NOT ONEYOU KNOW THERE R SOME MOVIES U CAN WATCH OVER AGAIN THIS IS NOT ONE
Published 4 days ago by Eivens Wilborn
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