Your Company

Escape from New York

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

United Kingdom, United States · 1981
Rated R · 1h 39m
Director John Carpenter
Starring Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Donald Pleasence, Adrienne Barbeau
Genre Science Fiction, Action

In 1997, the island of Manhattan has been walled off and turned into a giant maximum security prison within which the country's worst criminals are left to form their own anarchic society. However, when the President of the United States crash lands on the island, the authorities turn to a former soldier and current convict, Snake Plissken, to rescue him.

Stream Escape from New York

What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


Time Out London by

For about half the film, Carpenter's narrative economy and explosive visual style (incorporating some marvellous model work of the new Manhattan skyline) promise wonders. The trouble is that his characters neither develop nor interact dynamically, so the plot gradually winds down into predictable though highly enjoyable histrionics.


Chicago Reader by Dave Kehr

The movie is never less than entertaining, but it fails to satisfy—it gives us too little of too much. Oddly, much of its pleasure is in the acting, which up to this point hadn't been Carpenter's strong suit: Donald Pleasence, Adrienne Barbeau, and Harry Dean Stanton offer excellent turns.


Empire by Ian Freer

Boasting one of the most iconic characters ever in Plissken, and an effective sci-fi set-up, this is entertainment of the highest order.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

Escape from New York isn't really science fiction -- it's an action flick set in a futuristic setting. Epic potential for a masterful, gripping tale is abandoned in favor of cheap thrills.


Time Out by Joshua Rothkopf

The pleasures are right in your face, beginning with the million-dollar idea of turning NYC into a walled-off prison where criminals run free. Even born-and-raised New Yorkers (of which Carpenter was decidedly not) could smile at that histrionic setup; it’s an outsider’s joke made funny by our willingness to be entertained.


The A.V. Club by Keith Phipps

Carpenter's grittily convincing New York-in-decay remains the film's best element. Never particularly suspenseful and hampered by a finale that almost literally steers the plot toward a dead end, Escape only intermittently finds Carpenter flexing his directorial muscles. But it may be his most visionary film: Escape allowed him to build a future out of scraps from the past.

Users who liked this film also liked