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Escape from New York




John Carpenter




Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine


Colour 99 mins

The directory John Carpenter also wrote the story and the music. The music is great, minimal but mood-setting for the dark relentless storyline. The music is a star of the film.

The plot has a criminal (Kurt Russell) sent into the future max security prison of Manhattan Island to rescue the President. The President's plane was hijacked, and crashed into the Manhattan skyline in an uncanny foreshadowing of real history. On a tiny budget Carpenter creates a dark Manhattan for his dark story.

What could have been a minor low-budget quest film is lifted by the strong cast (Donald Pleasance plays the President), by the story-line and setting, and by the ending. At the climax the President shows the Duke who's boss in no uncertain terms, and Snake Plissken asks the President how he feels about all those who died to get him out.

I can still hear the music running through my head.