Box art for Escape From New York

Escape From New York

  • Rated R
  • HD and SD formats available

action & adventure, sci-fi & fantasy

Kurt Russell (Stargate) stars in a high-velocity sci-fi action-thriller from director John Carpenter (co-written by Nick Castle) that sets the screen ablaze with heart-stopping suspense, outrageous stunts and imaginative special effects.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Extremely dark '80s sci-fi classic is too intense for kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that violence in this bleak vision of the future includes gunfire, crossbows, thrown knives, land mines, and gladiatorial death bouts with fists and clubs (though except for a severed head there's little explicit gore). Do-not-do-this-at-home stuff includes whiskey used as a firebomb. Swearing is at the typical R-level. The hero smokes cigarettes. There's a quick glimpse of bare breasts. An atmosphere of cynicism and darkness pervades, including a negative depiction of a US president and a police-state America.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Snake Plissken. Is he a "hero" or, as some have suggested, a character with no redeeming social value? What does his final dialogue with the president mean?
  • Research the real-life pathologies that assailed New York in the 1960s and '70s, like crime, decadence, drugs, blackouts, riots, economic turmoil, and punk rock, extrapolated to create this dire scenario.
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movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: viewing the film today is akin to having one's sense of youthful nostalgia violated. ...the terrible dialogue, patchy pacing and silly costumes, so easily overlooked during one's wild-eyed teen years, now seem so much more obvious and distracting.

- Anton Bitel, Eye for Film, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten: It's a rare film that has so many ideas and yet fails so consistently to make use of them.

- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Tuesday, June 5, 2007

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

- Ian Freer, Empire Magazine, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

2 stars

Thumbs down for this. This movie has not stood the test of time. I was not entertained. Just not good.

- TheGame90, Monday, February 28, 2011

3 stars

This movie does not exactly shine with great dilagogues or deep characters, but is still one of the true action classics of the 80s. Starting out with one of the coolest ideas ever (Manhattan turned into one big prison and Air Force One crashing into it) and carried by Carpenters eerie score, its gloomy atmosphere makes for a very exciting and distopian ride. Kurt Russel is the king of cool in this. Enthralling, dark and with a nice end twist.

- ironclad1609, Monday, July 25, 2011

3 stars

You were right. Given half a chance and all that high fallutin' filth in the cities will show itself for the criminal scum you knew it always was ... and that eerily is the fantasy appealed to here in Carpenter's Reagan era escapist cult classic. Russell essentially spoofs Eastwood's iconic stranger, the anti-lawman, and Plesance is good as the President.

- ApeneckFletcher, Monday, October 10, 2011