John Carpenter’s Escape From New York (1981)

Starring: Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau, Season Hubley, and Tom Atkins.

Directed by: John Carpenter.

Watching “Escape From New York” makes you yearn for more dark science fiction movies like this to be made. This John Carpenter directed monument of a film paints a crime-overrun and dystopian United States of America in the year 1997, a world where the island of Manhattan in New York City has been converted into a walled-up maximum security prison (where all inmates all sentenced to life), thanks to a 400% increase in nationwide crime activity.

As World War III comes to a close, the United States and the Soviet Union are desperately seeking a peaceful resolve to the conflict from which they have both suffered. The US President (Donald Pleasence) is on his way to a peace summit where he will join China and the Soviet Union. However, his Air Force One plane gets hijacked and crashes into Manhattan. Luckily enough, the President survives via his escape pod but becomes abducted by a big-time crime-lord called the Duke of New York (Isaac Hayes). What do these guys want you ask? They simply want to leave Manhattan.

Meanwhile, a new inmate arrives – Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a legendary ex-soldier turned criminal. Thanks to his background, he is given the task of entering Manhattan and retrieving the President within 24 hours. In return, he gets to leave the prison with a clean slate, all charges dropped.