Escape from New York is a 1981 American science fiction action film co-written, co-scored and directed by John Carpenter. It stars Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Donald Pleasence, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, Adrienne Barbeau, and Harry Dean Stanton.
The film’s storyline, set in the near-future world of 1997, concerns a crime-ridden United States, which has converted Manhattan Island into the country’s maximum-security prison. Air Force One is hijacked by insurgents and is deliberately crashed in New York City. Ex-soldier and current federal prisoner Snake Plissken is given just 24 hours to go in and rescue the President of the United States, after which, if successful, Snake will be pardoned.
Carpenter wrote the film in the mid-1970s in reaction to the Watergate scandal. After the success of Halloween (1978), he had enough influence to begin production and filmed it mainly in St. Louis, Missouri, on an estimated budget of $6 million.
Released in the United States on July 10, 1981, the film received positive reviews from critics and was a commercial success, grossing more than $25 million at the box office.The film was nominated for four Saturn Awards, including Best Science Fiction Film and Best Direction. The film became a cult classic and was followed by a sequel, Escape from L.A. (1996).