Escape From New York


1h 39m 1981
Escape From New York

Brief Synopsis

Set in the future, Manhattan becomes a prison and an ex-bank robber is in charge of rescuing the president.

Film Details

Also Known As
Flykten från New York, New York 1997
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
Adventure
Thriller
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1981

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m

Synopsis

A hardened criminal is offered a pardon if he rescues the president from convicts in the prison city of Manhattan.

Crew

Joe Alves

Production Designer

Roy Arbogast

Special Effects Supervisor

Leo Behar

Grip

Joe Benet

Driver

Joe Benet

On-Set Dresser

Bob Benton

Driver

Robert R. Benton

On-Set Dresser

Rod Berg

Driver

Frankie Bergman

Hair

Barry Bernardi

Location Manager

Barry Bernardi

Associate Producer

Juan Betancourt

Other

Gene Booth

Property Master Assistant

Steve Boyd

Driver

Joseph Brennan

Boom Operator

Katrina Bronson

Costumes

Pegi Brotman

Casting Associate

Pegi Brotman

Assistant

Pegi Brotman

Casting

John Brumby

Other

Clyde E Bryan

Assistant Camera Operator

Jack Buckley

Production Accountant

Scott Buttfield

Electrician

Steve Caldwell

Special Effects

Steve Caldwell

Camera Assistant

James Cameron

Photography

James Cameron

Matte Painter

Tom Campbell

Other

Frank Capra

Location Assistant

John Carpenter

Screenplay

John Carpenter

Music

Nick Castle Jr.

Screenplay

Thomas Causey

Sound Mixer

Ken Chase

Makeup Supervisor

Jeffrey Chernov

Assistant Director

Brian Chin

Miniatures

Louis Chirco

Craft Service

Jim Coe

Photography

Mike Connelly

Driver

Maurice Costello

Other

Dean Cundey

Director Of Photography

Dean Cundey

Dp/Cinematographer

George D Dodge

Photography

Ben Douglas

Makeup

Lee Drygas

Swing Gang

Steven Elliott

Rotoscope Animator

Steven Elliott

Camera Operator

Joe Fama

Props

Carl Fischer

Boom Operator

Mary Ann Fisher

Special Effects

Chip Fowler

Production Coordinator

Randy Frakes

Camera Assistant

Randy Frakes

Special Effects

Matt Franco

Production Assistant

Barbara Gandolfo

Apprentice

Jack Gary

Assistant Camera Operator

Arthur Gelb

Graphics

Julia Gibson

Camera Operator

Kim Gottlieb

Photography

Warren Hamilton

Sound Editor

Warren Hamilton

Special Effects

Chuck Hauer

Driver

Debra Hill

Producer

Jena Holman

Matte Painter

Chris Horner

Assistant Art Director

Alan Howarth

Sound

Alan Howarth

Music

Louise Jaffe

Other Writer

Louise Jaffe

Script Supervisor

Bert Jetter

Other

Bert Jetter

Driver

Dr. Ken Jones

Camera Operator

Gregg Landaker

Sound

Dick Lee

Driver

Alan Levine

Production Manager

Aaron Lipstadt

Visual Effects

Stephen Loomis

Costume Designer

Jim Lucas

Camera Operator

Drain M Marshall

Rigging Gaffer

Terry Marshall

Electrician

Thomas William Marshall

Electrician

Steve Maslow

Sound

Steve Mathis

Other

Mike May

Property Master

Austin Mckinney

Photography

Art Molen

Props

George Mooradian

Assistant Camera Operator

John Mosley

Sound

Sara Nelson

Production Accountant

Douglas Olivares

Assistant Camera Operator

Andrew Overholtzer

Props

Seymour Owens

Grip

Frank Palmer

Key Grip

Pat Paterson

Special Effects

Sarah Preece

Production Assistant

Todd Ramsay

Editor

Anthony Randel

Editor

Steve Rice

Sound Editor

David Ritscher

Sound Editor

Wayne Roberts

Production

Frank Ruttencutter

Camera Operator

Geoffrey Ryan

Production Assistant

Marv Salesberg

Foreman

Tommy Sands

Dolly Grip

Melvin Sawicki

Costumes

Mario Simon

Grip

Dennis Skotak

Photography

Robert Skotak

Matte Painter

Charles Skouras

Special Effects

Charles Skouras

Production Manager

Dan Smith

Rotoscope Animator

Wayne H Smith

Other

Raymond Stella

Camera Operator

Syd Stembridge

Technical Advisor

Eddie Surkin

Special Effects

Steve Tate

Assistant Camera Operator

Robin Thomas

Other

Tom F Thomas

Transportation Captain

Randy Thornton

Assistant Editor

Bill Varney

Sound

Eddie Lee Voelker

Transportation Coordinator

Gary Wagner

Gaffer

Mark Walthour

Gaffer

Dick Warlock

Stunt Coordinator

Wayne Williams

Driver

Wayne Williams

Construction

Eddie Worth

Driver

Eddie Worth

Construction

David Lewis Yewdall

Special Effects

David Lewis Yewdall

Sound Editor

Ed Zingel

Other

Gary Zink

Special Effects

Film Details

Also Known As
Flykten från New York, New York 1997
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
Adventure
Thriller
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1981

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 39m

Articles

Escape from New York


"I have this script in my trunk" is how John Carpenter pitched Escape from New York (1981) to AVCO Embassy Pictures - at least that's how Carpenter tells the story. Two years earlier, the USC-schooled filmmaker and his producing partner Debra Hill had scored an unexpected hit with the proto-slasher Halloween (1978), prompting A-E president Robert Rehme to offer the team a two picture deal. First out of the gate was the seaside ghost story The Fog (1980), with an adaptation of Charles Berlitz and William F. Moore's controversial 1979 (allegedly non-fiction) book The Philadelphia Story: Project Invisibility set to follow. When Carpenter stalled on the adaptation, he pitched Escape from New York to Rehme, who gave the project the green light and got the production rolling in late summer 1980. (The Philadelphia Experiment was passed to director Stuart Raffill and premiered in 1984.) Carpenter had been shopping Escape for years with no interest from the major studios. Early drafts had reflected a mounting national cynicism in the wake of the Watergate scandal and the resignation of disgraced President Richard Nixon while last minute rewrites (undertaken by Carpenter associate Nick Castle, who had played "The Shape" in Halloween) were banged out in the immediate aftermath of the 1979-1981 Iran Hostage Crisis.

AVCO assigned Carpenter his highest budget -- $6 million. (Five years earlier, George Lucas' unprepossessing space opera Star Wars had been made for half again as much.) Despite the uptake in spending money, Carpenter was faced with a daunting task: to create a dystopian version of New York City (transformed in 1988, so the story goes to a high-walled maximum security prison) in an apocalyptic vision of 1997. With Manhattan proving prohibitively expensive and the backlot lacking the requisite verisimilitude, Carpenter decamped instead to rundown St. Louis, Missouri, a former railway hub that had been devastated by deindustrialization of the Rust Belt and charred by a 1976 firestorm that had reduced several waterfront blocks to blackened shells. Principal photography commenced there in August 1980, with filming of specific setpieces shifting throughout production to Georgia's Atlanta International Airport, to Los Angeles (Culver City Studios and the San Fernando Valley, where the prison exterior was mocked up at the Sepulveda Dam Flood Control Basin - backdrop as well for the closing credits of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension), to Pasadena's Art Center College of Design and CalArts (California Institute of the Arts), Long Beach, and even New York's Liberty Island, location of the Statue of Liberty, whose head featured prominently in Escape from New York's promotional artwork.

Though AVCO executives preferred to see an established star take the lead - Charles Bronson, Nick Nolte, and Tommy Lee Jones were suggested and rejected by the filmmakers - there was for John Carpenter only one man to play protagonist Snake Plissken, a WWIII veteran turned fugitive from justice cashiered by the United States Police Force into rescuing the abducted President from New York Prison (where terrorists have ditched Air Force One). A former child actor, Kurt Russell had been endeavoring for years to change his squeaky clean image and had even auditioned unsuccessfully for the role of Han Solo in Star Wars. Russell had worked with Carpenter previously in the made-for-TV movie Elvis (1979) and the maverick writer-director insisted on casting him as the one-eyed Plissken, an amalgam of Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name, John Wayne's Ringo Kid, and (it would seem) Hell Tanner, the biker outlaw antihero of Roger Zelzany's 1967 novella Damnation Alley. Kitted out with a black eye patch, a Cobra tattoo (rising suggestively from below the waistband of his camouflage pants), a muscle tee-shirt and various implements of destruction, Russell realized the character would appeal to moviegoers when he was able to face down a quartet of genuine St. Louis toughs onto whose turf he had unwittingly strayed during a long night of location shooting.

A longtime admirer of Howard Hawks, Carpenter was finally able with his fourth feature film as a solo director to indulge in a Hawksian supporting cast rich in seasoned character actors, among them Ernest Borgnine (as Cabbie, a helpful hack), Harry Dean Stanton (as Brain, a prison inmate and go-between), Halloween star Donald Pleasence (as the hostage POTUS, a character pitched to the actor as the love child of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher), and former spaghetti western star Lee Van Cleef (as Hauk, the stone-cold face of post-apocalyptic authority). Carpenter also added to the call sheet Academy Award-winning soul singer (and occasional actor) Isaac Hayes (as the villainous Duke of New York), then-wife Adrienne Barbeau (as an old flame of Snake's), Russell's then-wife Season Hubley (as the ill-fated Girl in Chock Full o'Nuts), and serpentine actor Frank Doubleday as Romero (one of several characters Carpenter would name after fellow filmmakers), a particularly unpleasant inmate with a mouth full of filed-down piranha teeth. Also along for the ride was Halloween ingénue Jamie Lee Curtis, who provided an uncredited voiceover.

Released in July 1981, Escape from New York clicked with summer moviegoers, earning back five times its production budget. While Carpenter and Russell reteamed for The Thing (1982), a more faithful adaptation of John W. Campbell's 1938 story "Who Goes There?" than had been Howard Hawks' The Thing from Another World (1951), continental filmmakers copied Escape from New York with shameless abandon, offering such derivative (but highly enjoyable) clones as Enzo Castellari's 1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982), Sergio Martino's 2019: After the Fall of New York (1983), and Joe D'Amato's Endgame (1983). Escape from New York also paved the way for a decade of jut-jawed American action heroes, among them Sylvester Stallone in First Blood (1982), Rambo (1984), and Rambo III (1988), Chuck Norris in Missing in Action (1984), Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985), and Braddock: Missing in Action III (1988), and Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator (1984) - directed by James Cameron, who painted matte backdrops for Escape from New York -- Commando (1985), Predator (1987), and The Running Man (1987). Carpenter and Russell revived the character of Snake Plissken for a tongue-in-cheek sequel, Escape from L.A. (1996), whose cult has yet to declare itself, and a purported remake is currently languishing in Development Hell.

By Richard Harland Smith

Sources: Return to Escape from New York (2003), dir. Michael Gillis The Escape from New York & L.A. Page http://www.theefnylapage.com/shootinglocations.htm Kurt Russell interview by Geoff Boucher, Entertainment Weekly CapeTown Film Festival, March 2013
Escape From New York

Escape from New York

"I have this script in my trunk" is how John Carpenter pitched Escape from New York (1981) to AVCO Embassy Pictures - at least that's how Carpenter tells the story. Two years earlier, the USC-schooled filmmaker and his producing partner Debra Hill had scored an unexpected hit with the proto-slasher Halloween (1978), prompting A-E president Robert Rehme to offer the team a two picture deal. First out of the gate was the seaside ghost story The Fog (1980), with an adaptation of Charles Berlitz and William F. Moore's controversial 1979 (allegedly non-fiction) book The Philadelphia Story: Project Invisibility set to follow. When Carpenter stalled on the adaptation, he pitched Escape from New York to Rehme, who gave the project the green light and got the production rolling in late summer 1980. (The Philadelphia Experiment was passed to director Stuart Raffill and premiered in 1984.) Carpenter had been shopping Escape for years with no interest from the major studios. Early drafts had reflected a mounting national cynicism in the wake of the Watergate scandal and the resignation of disgraced President Richard Nixon while last minute rewrites (undertaken by Carpenter associate Nick Castle, who had played "The Shape" in Halloween) were banged out in the immediate aftermath of the 1979-1981 Iran Hostage Crisis. AVCO assigned Carpenter his highest budget -- $6 million. (Five years earlier, George Lucas' unprepossessing space opera Star Wars had been made for half again as much.) Despite the uptake in spending money, Carpenter was faced with a daunting task: to create a dystopian version of New York City (transformed in 1988, so the story goes to a high-walled maximum security prison) in an apocalyptic vision of 1997. With Manhattan proving prohibitively expensive and the backlot lacking the requisite verisimilitude, Carpenter decamped instead to rundown St. Louis, Missouri, a former railway hub that had been devastated by deindustrialization of the Rust Belt and charred by a 1976 firestorm that had reduced several waterfront blocks to blackened shells. Principal photography commenced there in August 1980, with filming of specific setpieces shifting throughout production to Georgia's Atlanta International Airport, to Los Angeles (Culver City Studios and the San Fernando Valley, where the prison exterior was mocked up at the Sepulveda Dam Flood Control Basin - backdrop as well for the closing credits of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension), to Pasadena's Art Center College of Design and CalArts (California Institute of the Arts), Long Beach, and even New York's Liberty Island, location of the Statue of Liberty, whose head featured prominently in Escape from New York's promotional artwork. Though AVCO executives preferred to see an established star take the lead - Charles Bronson, Nick Nolte, and Tommy Lee Jones were suggested and rejected by the filmmakers - there was for John Carpenter only one man to play protagonist Snake Plissken, a WWIII veteran turned fugitive from justice cashiered by the United States Police Force into rescuing the abducted President from New York Prison (where terrorists have ditched Air Force One). A former child actor, Kurt Russell had been endeavoring for years to change his squeaky clean image and had even auditioned unsuccessfully for the role of Han Solo in Star Wars. Russell had worked with Carpenter previously in the made-for-TV movie Elvis (1979) and the maverick writer-director insisted on casting him as the one-eyed Plissken, an amalgam of Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name, John Wayne's Ringo Kid, and (it would seem) Hell Tanner, the biker outlaw antihero of Roger Zelzany's 1967 novella Damnation Alley. Kitted out with a black eye patch, a Cobra tattoo (rising suggestively from below the waistband of his camouflage pants), a muscle tee-shirt and various implements of destruction, Russell realized the character would appeal to moviegoers when he was able to face down a quartet of genuine St. Louis toughs onto whose turf he had unwittingly strayed during a long night of location shooting. A longtime admirer of Howard Hawks, Carpenter was finally able with his fourth feature film as a solo director to indulge in a Hawksian supporting cast rich in seasoned character actors, among them Ernest Borgnine (as Cabbie, a helpful hack), Harry Dean Stanton (as Brain, a prison inmate and go-between), Halloween star Donald Pleasence (as the hostage POTUS, a character pitched to the actor as the love child of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher), and former spaghetti western star Lee Van Cleef (as Hauk, the stone-cold face of post-apocalyptic authority). Carpenter also added to the call sheet Academy Award-winning soul singer (and occasional actor) Isaac Hayes (as the villainous Duke of New York), then-wife Adrienne Barbeau (as an old flame of Snake's), Russell's then-wife Season Hubley (as the ill-fated Girl in Chock Full o'Nuts), and serpentine actor Frank Doubleday as Romero (one of several characters Carpenter would name after fellow filmmakers), a particularly unpleasant inmate with a mouth full of filed-down piranha teeth. Also along for the ride was Halloween ingénue Jamie Lee Curtis, who provided an uncredited voiceover. Released in July 1981, Escape from New York clicked with summer moviegoers, earning back five times its production budget. While Carpenter and Russell reteamed for The Thing (1982), a more faithful adaptation of John W. Campbell's 1938 story "Who Goes There?" than had been Howard Hawks' The Thing from Another World (1951), continental filmmakers copied Escape from New York with shameless abandon, offering such derivative (but highly enjoyable) clones as Enzo Castellari's 1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982), Sergio Martino's 2019: After the Fall of New York (1983), and Joe D'Amato's Endgame (1983). Escape from New York also paved the way for a decade of jut-jawed American action heroes, among them Sylvester Stallone in First Blood (1982), Rambo (1984), and Rambo III (1988), Chuck Norris in Missing in Action (1984), Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985), and Braddock: Missing in Action III (1988), and Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator (1984) - directed by James Cameron, who painted matte backdrops for Escape from New York -- Commando (1985), Predator (1987), and The Running Man (1987). Carpenter and Russell revived the character of Snake Plissken for a tongue-in-cheek sequel, Escape from L.A. (1996), whose cult has yet to declare itself, and a purported remake is currently languishing in Development Hell. By Richard Harland Smith Sources: Return to Escape from New York (2003), dir. Michael Gillis The Escape from New York & L.A. Page http://www.theefnylapage.com/shootinglocations.htm Kurt Russell interview by Geoff Boucher, Entertainment Weekly CapeTown Film Festival, March 2013

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer July 10, 1981

Re-released in United States on Video May 25, 1994

Released in United States Summer July 10, 1981

Re-released in United States on Video May 25, 1994 (director's special edition)