With a reliable sneer and a chin that looks strong enough to withstand the apocalypse, Kurt Russell was one of the most recognisable faces of ‘80s action cinema. Often cast as the anti-hero, he made a name for himself in a number of cult films. His greatest success came via his work with John Carpenter. Most notably on The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China. However, his most famous character, a role he reprised 15 years later, is Snake Plissken. We’re first introduced to him in Escape from New York.
With the United States in the grips of an unstoppable crimewave, the government has turned Manhattan into a walled high security prison. At the same time, NATO is on the brink of nuclear war with the USSR. On the eve of a make of break world summit, Air Force One is hijacked by domestic terrorists. The president (Donald Pleasence) escapes but is captured by The Duke (Isaac Hayes), who runs things in the penitentiary. Snake Plissken is recruited to bring him out.
Escape from New York is a classic ‘80s action movie which channels the politics of the post-Watergate era into a rollicking action film. Carpenter, as usual, amasses an impressive cast which includes Harry Dean Stanton, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Van Cleef amongst other familiar faces. The nightmarish Manhattan is a stark backdrop a dystopian future which feels increasingly possible. When you need something done well and done quickly, Snake Plissken’s your man.
Purgatory: Entering John Carpenter’s ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK: A brand new retrospective documentary produced by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures and featuring interviews with writer Nick Castle, cinematographer Dean Cundey, composer Alan Howarth, production designer Joe Alves, special visual effects artist/model maker Gene Rizzardi, production assistant David De Coteau, photographer Kim Gottleib-Walker, Carpenter biographer John Muir, visual effects historian Justin Humphreys, and music historian Daniel Schweiger.
Snake Plissen: Man of Honor – featurette from 2005 featuring interviews with John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Deleted Opening Sequence “Snake’s Crime” with Optional Audio Commentary
Photo gallery incl. Behind the Scenes
Audio Commentary with actor Kurt Russell & director John Carpenter
Audio Commentary with Producer Debra Hill and production designer Joe Alves
Big Challenges in Little Manhatten: Visual effects featurette – from 2015, features interviews with both Dennis Skotak, Director of Photography of Special VFX, and Robert Skotak, Unit Supervisor and Matte Artist
I am Taylor – Interview with actor Joe Unger – from 2015
Audio Commentary with actress Adrienne Barbeau & DOP Dean Cundey
Escape from New York is released on EST, DVD, Blu-Ray and 4k Ultra HD by Studiocanal on 26 November.