Escape from New York
Escape from New York is a 1981 film set in the near future in a crime-ridden United States that has converted Manhattan Island in New York City into a maximum security prison. Ex-soldier Snake Plissken is given 24 hours to find the President of the United States, who has been captured after the crash of Air Force One.
- In 1988, the crime rate in the United States rises four hundred percent. The once great city of New York becomes the one maximum security prison for the entire country. A fifty-foot containment wall is erected along the New Jersey shoreline, across the Harlem River, and down along the Brooklyn shoreline. It completely surrounds Manhattan Island. All bridges and waterways are mined. The United States Police Force, like an army, is encamped around the island. There are no guards inside the prison, only prisoners and the worlds they have made. The rules are simple: once you go in, you don't come out.
Automated announcement to newly arriving prisoners
- Attention: You are now entering the debarkation area. No talking. No smoking. Follow the orange line to the processing area. The next scheduled departure to the prison is in two hours. You now have the option to terminate and be cremated on the premises. If you elect this option, notify the duty sargeant in your processing area.
- They sent in their best man, and when we roll across the 59th Street bridge tomorrow, on our way to freedom, we're going to have their best man leading the way - from the neck up! [cheering erupts] On the hood of my car! [more cheering]
- [as he shoots the Duke of New York] You're A-Number One! You're the Duke! You're the Duke! [chuckles] You're the Duke. You're A-Number One.
- Romero: You touch me... he dies. If you're not in the air in thirty seconds... he dies. You come back in... he dies. [takes a package out of his shirt and unwraps it to reveal the President's middle finger, complete with ring] Twenty seconds.
- Bob Hauk: I'm ready to talk.
- Romero: Nineteen. Eighteen.
- Bob Hauk: What do you want?
- Romero: Seventeen. Sixteen.
- Bob Hauk: [to his soldiers] Let's go. Let's go!
- Bob Hauk: [reading Plissken's file] S.D. Plissken... American, Lieutenant: Special Forces Unit "Black Light". Two Purple Hearts, Leningrad and Siberia. Youngest man to be decorated by the President. Then you robbed the Federal Reserve Depository... life sentence, New York maximum security penitentiary. I'm about to kick your ass out of the world, war hero...
- Snake Plissken: [calmly strikes a match against Hauk's desk to light his cigarette and in a bored tone of voice] Who're you?
- Bob Hauk: Hauk, Police Commissioner.
- Snake Plissken: Bob Hauk...
- Bob Hauk: Special Forces Unit "Texas Thunder"... we heard of you too, Plissken.
- Bob Hauk: There was an accident. About an hour ago, a small jet went down inside New York City. The President was on board.
- Snake Plissken: The president of what?
- Bob Hauk: You go in, find the President, bring him out in 24 hours, and you're a free man.
- Snake Plissken: 24 hours, huh?
- Bob Hauk: I'm making you an offer.
- Snake Plissken: Bullshit!
- Bob Hauk: Straight just like I said.
- Snake Plissken: I'll think about it.
- Bob Hauk: No time. Give me an answer.
- Snake Plissken: Get a new president!
- Bob Hauk: We're still at war, Plissken. We need him alive.
- Snake Plissken: I don't give a fuck about your war... or your president.
- Bob Hauk: Is that your answer?
- Snake Plissken: I'm thinking about it.
- Bob Hauk: Think hard.
- Snake Plissken: [pause] Why me?
- Bob Hauk: You flew the Gullfire over Leningrad. You know how to get in quiet. You're all I got.
- Snake Plissken: [pause] I guess I go in one way or the other... doesn't mean shit to me. All right... I'll do it. Give me the pardon paper.
- Bob Hauk: When you come out.
- Snake Plissken: Before.
- Bob Hauk: I told you I wasn't a fool, Plissken.
- Snake Plissken: Call me Snake.
- Bob Hauk: In 22 hours, the Hartford Summit Meeting will be over. China and the Soviet Union will go back home. Now, the President was on his way to the summit when his plane went down. He has a briefcase attached to his wrist. The tape recording inside has to reach Hartford in 22 hours.
- Snake Plissken: What's on it?
- Bob Hauk: You know anything about nuclear fusion?
- Snake Plissken: No.
- Bob Hauk: The survival of the human race, Plissken. Something you don't give a shit about.
- Cronenberg: [approaches Snake with two injection guns] I'm going to inject you. It will sting for a second.
- [Cronenberg places both guns on the side of Snake's neck and injects him, producing a loud bang]
- Bob Hauk: That's it, Plissken.
- Cronenberg: Tell him.
- Snake Plissken: Tell me what?
- Bob Hauk: That idea you had about turning the Gullfire around 180 degrees and flying off to Canada.
- Snake Plissken: What did you do to me, asshole?
- Bob Hauk: My idea, Plissken. Something we've been fooling around with. Two microscopic capsules lodged in your arteries. They're already starting to dissolve. In 22 hours, the cores will completely dissolve. Inside the cores are a heat-sensing charge. Not a large explosion, about the size of a pinhead, just big enough to open up both of your arteries. I'd say you'd be dead in 10-15 seconds...
- Snake Plissken: [chokes Hauk] Take them out, now!
- Cronenberg: They're protected by the cores. Fifteen minutes before the last hour is up, we can neutralize the charge with X-rays.
- [Pushes Snake away from Hauk]
- Bob Hauk: We'll burn out the charges if you have the President.
- Snake Plissken: What if I'm a little late?
- Bob Hauk: No more Hartford Summit. And no more Snake Plissken.
- Snake Plissken: When I get back, I'm going to kill you.
- Bob Hauk: The Gullfire's waiting.
- Bob Hauk: Remember, once you're inside you're on your own.
- Snake Plissken: Oh, you mean I can't count on you?
- Bob Hauk: No.
- Snake Plissken: Good!
- Snake Plissken: [radioing a pullout request] All right, get your machine ready, I'm coming out.
- Bob Hauk: 18 hours left, Plissken!
- Snake Plissken: Listen to me, Hauk. The President is dead, you got that? Somebody's had him for dinner!
- Bob Hauk: Plissken, if you get back in that glider and fly back here without the tape or the President, I'll shoot you down myself! You try to climb out, I'll burn you off the wall! Do you understand that, Plissken?
- Snake Plissken: [pause] A little human compassion.
- Snake Plissken: Where's the President?
- Cabbie: The Duke got him. Everybody knows the Duke's got him. You don't have to put a gun to my head. I'll tell you.
- Snake Plissken: Who's the Duke?
- Cabbie: The Duke? The Duke of New York, A-Number-1, the Big Man, that's who!
- Snake Plissken: I wanna meet this Duke.
- Cabbie: You can't meet the Duke! Are you crazy? Nobody gets to meet the Duke. You meet him once and then you're dead!
- Bob Hauk: You going to kill me, Snake?
- Snake Plissken: Not now, I'm too tired. [pause] Maybe later.
- Bob Hauk: We'd make one hell of a team, Snake!
- Snake Plissken: The name's Plissken!
About Escape from New York
- St. Louis - unbelievable! We went there because, well, there were certain sequences we just couldn't do in New York; they would have tied up the whole city too much. And St. Louis, due to a major fire they had there in 1977, now has just the right amount of emptiness in the downtown area. Also the right architecture. So much of the city looks vacant and dead; perfect for our needs since we couldn't use anything looking new or fresh. The city officials literally turned over the city to us. They'd shut down 10 blocks at a time to help us. I was told they hadn't hosted a major film for 15 years; they don't even have a real film commission, just a Department of Tourism. They let us trash it up, and do anything we needed. A major coup was finding, in St Louis, an exact replica - deserted, desolate, unused - of New York's Grand Central Station, complete with a train engine. Says Carpenter, "I was told it's the biggest roofed-in area in the world. We walked in and said, 'My Lord! We don't even have to dress it!'"
- The city officials not only gave permission, but were very helpful. We were the first film company in history allowed to shoot on Liberty Island, at the Statue of Liberty, at night. They let us have the whole island to ourselves. We were lucky. It wasn't easy to get that initial permission.
- John Carpenter "Everything You Never Knew About The Making Of Escape From New York" Ryan Plummer, IO9 5/28/14.
- So it's entirely fair to say, and I've said it before, that the way Neuromancer-the-novel "looks" was influenced in large part by some of the artwork I saw in 'Heavy Metal'. I assume that this must also be true of John Carpenter's 'Escape from New York', Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner'", and all other artefacts of the style sometimes dubbed 'cyberpunk'. Those French guys, they got their end in early.
- The world's greatest leader is a hostage in the most dangerous place on Earth. Now only the deadliest man alive can save him.
- 1997. New York City is now a maximum security prison. Breaking out is impossible. Breaking in is insane.
- New York City has become the only maximum security prison for the entire country. Once you go in, you don't come out... until today.
- Kurt Russell - Snake Plissken
- Lee Van Cleef - Bob Hauk
- Ernest Borgnine - Cabbie
- Donald Pleasence - President of the United States
- Isaac Hayes - The Duke of New York City
- Harry Dean Stanton - Harold "Brain" Hellman
- Adrienne Barbeau - Maggie
- Tom Atkins - Rehme
- Charles Cyphers - United States Secretary of State
- Frank Doubleday - Romero
- Ox Baker - Slag
- Jamie Lee Curtis - computer voice and film narrator