It's the year 1997 and the United States is in trouble. World War III is raging and the United States is locked in an never-ending battle with the Soviet Union and China. Crime is on the rise and the nation's penal system is overwhelmed. In a desperate attempt to win the war on crime, the island of Manhattan is walled off and converted into a maximum security prison where the inmates run wild and no one can escape. The system seems to work well enough, until the unthinkable happens. On it's way to a three-way summit to negotiate the end of the war, Air Force One crash lands onto the island, trapping the President inside the lawless city. And there's only one man up to the job of getting the President back and escaping from New York:
Kurt fucking Russell.
"Escape from New York" is easily one of Carpenter's best films and one of my all-time favorites overall. Russell's Snake Plissken is a timeless anti-hero and one of Russell's best characters. The film's villain, The Duke of New York, is played by the legendary Isaac Hayes and drives probably the sweetest Cadillac I've ever seen. Dude threw some chandeliers on that bitch. So much swagger. The cast also features Donald Pleasance, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Van Cleef, and Adrienne Barbeau, so it's kind of a who's who of awesome 80's cult-figures.
Rumor has it a remake is in the works. Catch the original now so you can join all us cool kids shitting on the remake when (hopefully, if) it happens.
Fun Fact: 1997 is also the year of Judgment Day in both "Terminator" and "Terminator 2"!