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John Carpenter on Escape From New York


"I first wrote the screenplay in the mid-70's, during the time of Watergate, the whole feeling in the country was one of real cynicism about our president... No studio wanted to make it. They all said: We can't have this kind of dark view."
- John Carpenter, High Adventure In The Future, Starlog Issue 41, Dec, 1980

"I had just made Dark Star, but no one wanted to hire me as a director. So I thought: Well, then, I'm going to write screenplays and work my way in. I scripted Escape, only to discover no studio was interested because they felt a: it was to strange b: it was too violent or c: we're not thrilled with the idea of NYC as a prison."
- John Carpenter, On The Set For Escape From New York, Starlog, Issue 45, Apr, 1981


"Actually, I wrote Escape From New York way back in 1974. I believe I was inspired by the movie Death Wish (about a vigilante killer), that was very popular at the time, I didn't agree with the philosophy of it, taking the law into one's own hands, but the film came across with the sense of New York as a jungle, and I wanted to make a sci-fi film along those lines."
- John Carpenter, On The Set For Escape From New York, Starlog, Issue 45, Apr, 1981


"I had been in New York, which had a reputation for being a great city, but I saw the other side of it. It was a little dark and grim. I'd heard all the show biz clich├ęs about the place: the white lights of Broadway, the "city of cities." In actuality, parts of the city were pretty bad. I decided to sort of do a slightly humorous, slightly violent film about New York as a prison in the future. So, I started there."
- John Carpenter, John Carpenter And His Escape From New York, Cinema Odyssey, Vol 1, Issue 1, 1981


"It's both our fears and what we would like to happen."
- John Carpenter, Director's Special Edition VHS & Collector's Edition
Laserdisc interview, 1994


Kurt Russell on Escape From New York


"I think people are reacting to the movie differently in different parts of the country. City audiences seem to get the laughs. Midwestern audiences and southern audiences see it more as a science-fiction drama. I think they all get caught up in it, though. It looks Real."
- Kurt Russell, Escape From New York, Future Life, Issue 30, Nov, 1981


Debra Hill on Escape From New York


"I don't know what specific genre it belongs in. It's a musical. It's a comic book. It has tenderness, adventure, action, suspense. I find  myself compelled to watch it. At the end, I just feel good. It's a very special film because it's about something that's in short supply - loyalty. John pointed that out - Kurt is loyal to the people he cares about: Season, Adrienne, Harry Dean, Ernest. There's even loyalty to the President; Kurt actually begins to like Donald Pleasence. Even Lee Van Cleef, in his way, is loyal to Kurt."
- Debra Hill,
Escape From New York, Prevue 45, Vol 2, Issue 5, May, 1981

"The film is a statement
about how I feel that we must protect peoples libertarian rights. People themselves need to find the goodness in them, and I think it makes a political statement."
- Debra Hill, Return To Escape From New York featurette, 2003


Adrienne Barbeau on Maggie


"I don't think my character is nasty, she just keeps blowing people away! I guess you can say I'm sort of a 1997 gun-moll."
- Adrienne Barbeau, On The Set For Escape From New York, Starlog, Issue 45, Apr, 1981


Isaac Hayes on The Duke


"I know I had to be cool; still, I wanted audience empathy for the convicts., who were thrown  into  barbaric situation - we wanted our freedom! We wanted OUT!"
-  Isaac Hayes, Escape From New York, Prevue 45, Vol 2, Issue 5, May, 1981



Escape From New York Quotes


Stewardess (Before crashing Air Force One): Tell this to the workers when they ask where their leader went. We, the soldiers of the National Liberation Front of America, in the name of the workers and all oppressed of this imperialist country, have struck a fatal blow to the racist police state. What better revolutionary example than to let their president perish, in the inhuman dungeon of his own imperialist prison.

The President: God save me, and watch over you all.

Romero:
You touch me... he dies. If you're not in the air in thirty seconds... he dies. You come back in... he dies.

Bob Hauk: I'm ready to kick your ass out off the world, war hero...


Plissken: Why are we talking?
Bob Hauk: I have a deal for you. You'll receive full pardon for every criminal action you have committed to the United States. It was an accident. About an hour ago a small jet went inside New York City. The President was onboard.
Plissken: The President of what?
Hauk: That's not funny, Plissken.
Hauk: You go in. Find the President, bring him out in twenty-four hours and you're a free man.
Plissken: Twenty-four hours, huh.
Hauk: I'm making you an offer.
Plissken: Bullshit!
Hauk: Straight, just like I said.
Plissken: I'll think about it.
Hauk: No time. Give me an answer.
Plissken: Get a new president.
Hauk: We're still at war, Plissken. We need him alive.
Plissken: I don't give a fuck about your war... or your president.

Hauk: Is that your answer?
Plissken: I'm thinking about it.
Hauk: Think hard.
Plissken: Why me?
Hauk: You flew the gullfire over Leningrad. You know how to get in quiet. You're all I got. 
Plissken: I guess I go in, one way or the other. Doesn't mean shit to me. Give me the paper.
Hauk: When you come out.
Plissken: Before.
Hauk: I told you I wasn't a fool, Plissken.
Plissken: Call me Snake.

Hauk:
In twenty-two hours, the Hartford Summit Meeting will be over. China and the Soviet Union will go back home. Now, the President was on his way to the summit when his plane went down. He has a briefcase attached to his wrist. The tape recording inside has to reach Hartford in In twenty-two hours.
Plissken: What's on it?
Hauk: You know anything about nuclear fusion?
Plissken: No.
Hauk: It's the survival of the human race, Plissken. Something you don't give a shit about.


Plissken: What if I'm a little late?
Hauk: No more Hartford Summit. And no more Snake Plissken.

Plissken: When I get back, I'm going to kill you.
Hauk:
The Gullfire's waiting.


Hauk: Remember, once you're inside you're on your own.
Plissken (in the glider): Oh, you mean I can't count on you?
Hauk: No.
Plissken: Good.

Hauk: Plissken? Plissken, what are you doing?
Plissken (in the glider): Playing with myself, I'm going in.


Plissken: I don't know who you assholes were looking at, but it's not the President. All right, get your machine ready, I'm coming out.
Hauk: Eighteen hours, Plissken.
Plissken: Listen to me Hauk. The President is dead, you got that? Somebody's had him for dinner.
Hauk: Plissken, if you get back to that glider I shoot you down. You climb out I'll burn you off the wall. You understand that, Plissken?
Plissken: A little human compassion...

Girl in Chock Full O'Nuts: You're a cop?
Plissken: I'm an asshole...

Plissken: I want to meet this Duke?
Cabbie: You can't meet the Duke. Are you crazy? Nobody gets to meet the Duke. You meet him once and then you're dead.

Maggie: Heard you were dead.


Plissken (To Maggie): You wanna see him sprayed all over that map, baby? Now where's the President?

Brain: Working for the man now, huh?


Plissken: You always were smart, Harold.
Brain: Just one thing, right now... don't call me Harold.

Plissken: What's wrong with Broadway?

The Duke: I heard you were dead.

The Duke: What did I teach you?
The President: Y-You are the... Duke of New... New York. You're A-Number One.
The Duke: I can't hear you!
The President: Y-You... You are the Duke of New York! You're A-Number One!


The Duke: They sent in their best man, and when we roam out the 69th Street Bridge tomorrow, on our way to freedom, we're going to have their best man leading the way from the neck up!
On the hood of my car!

Brain:
They're savages, Mr. President.

Brain: Plissken, swear to God, I thought you were dead...
Plissken: Yeah, you and everybody else!


The President: I, I want to thank you. Anything you want, you just name it.
Plissken: Just a moment of your time.
The President: Uh, yes.
Plissken: We did get you out. Lot of people died in the progress. I just want wondered what you felt about it?
The President (Uninterested): Well, I... (Clears his throat) I want to thank them. This nation appreciates their sacrifices. Look, I'm on the air in about two and a half minutes.  

Hauk: You gonna kill me now, Snake?
Plissken: I'm too tired... maybe later.
Hauk: I've got another deal for you. I want you to think it over while you're resting. I want to give you a job. We'd make one hell of a team, Snake.
Plissken: The name's Plissken.

The President: Good evening. Although I shall not be present at this historic summit meeting, I present this in the hope that our great nations may learn to live in peace...