As the adjective “dystopian” has made it back into our everyday vocabulary we were thinking about some of the great dystopian visions on film. From Richard Fleischer’s subversive Soylent Green (1973) to the Statue of Liberty peeking out of the sand in Planet of the Apes (1968), to the most recent adaptation of Richard Matheson’s brilliant novel I Am Legend, with Will Smith (2007), New York has lent itself to some pretty good ones. One of the best and most fun is John Carpenter’s Escape from New York (1981). Inspired by post-Watergate funk, director/composer and co-writer Carpenter imagined a year 1997 in which due to a 400% crime rate increase, the entire island of Manhattan has been turned into a decrepit maximum security prison. When a pod carrying the American president (Donald Pleasance) crashes in the middle of it, World War III hero gone bad Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is given 24 hours to rescue him. The sharp cast includes Isaac Hayes, Adrienne Barbeau and Ernest Borgnine. Also pay attention to the very cool soundtrack.

Escape from New York can be seen on several platforms. Among them: Amazon Prime, iTunes and Google Play.

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