Press > Quotes

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 "From the Director's Special Edition VHS & Laserdisc Collector's Edition 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

John Carpenter on Escape From L.A.

"We thought about what L.A. has been through in the 90s: earthquakes, mud slides, fires, riots, drive-by shootings. Basically, it's pretty fruitful material. A lot of people living here are in denial. It's a beautiful place, but we all live on the edge of this incredible earthquake fault and we never leave. From that premise, we worked our way into the story."
- John Carpenter,
Escape Artist, American Cinematographer, Vol 77, Issue 9, Sep, 1996

"The states has become a right wing theocracy and they're deporting all the morally corrupt people - smokers, adulters, meat eaters - to LA island where a huge wall has been built to keep out South America. It's a Fantasy but what's happening now taken to the extreme."
- John Carpenter, Escape Artist, Starburst, Vol 19, Issue 1, Sep, 1996

"We decided early on that it would be too easy to attack the right. Although, since Reagan, there definitely have been shifts towards fascism in America. There's more racism. Unrestrained capitalism has taken over. Now we're going through an industrial death. A lot of this is reflected in what I do. But there's also the tyranny of the left. Which is absolutely outrageous. It's stupid. There's a lot of censorship from the left. Huge amounts. It's a shock, actually. All this political correctness. Those people are nuts. This whole business about not being able to smoke anywhere. I can't even comment. I can't even begin to tell you what I think about that. And it comes from the dear old left. What is it with these people. Do they think their shit doesn't stink?"
- John Carpenter, The Great Escape, Melody Maker, Sep 28, 1996

"Give it a few more years. Escape from L.A. is better than the first movie. Ten times better. It's got more to it. It's more mature. It's got a lot more to it. I think people didn't like it because they felt it was a remake, not a sequel."
- John Carpenter, Creative Screenwriting, Vol 6, Issue 1, Jan-Feb, 1999

Kurt Russell on Escape From L.A.

"It's a pretty wild story, but it could happen. It's not as if what we portray couldn't exist in the future. It's unlikely, yet it could occur. The fun part of the whole exercise has been to mix the credible realities of the present with the credible realities of a possible future. It's a wide happenstance, but fun to inject Snake into that landscape. Rather than hands-on SF, Escape from LA is gentle SF. A big part of the fun of the original movie was to see recognizable landmarks used in a futuristic context. And it will be the same here too."
- Kurt Russell, Escape Artist, Starburst, Vol 19, Issue 1, Sep, 1996

"In my mind the president is a left-of-centre Democrat from the south. He's not a right-wing president. He's a left-of-centre president. Witness his convictions. His political correctness. His Christian coalition connections. He has a vision of LA going up in an earthquake. At that point, not only does he believe he's in touch with God, but also so does everyone else. He suggests a change in the constitution that makes him president for life, and he becomes a dictator. And, like all dictators, he begins to think he has a divine right to impose all these laws and regulations, force them through, ram 'em home. It's basically an exaggeration of what's happening in America today. Out of a desire to protect people, all kinds of individual civil liberties are being undermined. Politically correct laws are infringing on all kinds of individual freedoms. My view of it is that if you create enough laws, sooner or later everyone will end up in jail."
- Kurt Russell, The Great Escape, Melody Maker, Sep 28, 1996

"Actually when the studio read the script, they said, 'God, there's not a lot of humanity here. This guy is basically socially unfit.' I said, 'Well, have you seen the first movie?' They said, Yeah, but you're in a different time now.' "So we talked about trying to give Snake a cause. Finally, after many months, John just looked at me and said, 'You know what Snake would say about this?' Finally, that's what inspired us to go with the ending that we went with. I wrote it and and said to John and Debra, 'I think this is true to the character, but I don't know how audience is going to react.' I just feel it was true to what Snake would do in this movie. John said, 'It's exactly what Snake would do."
- Kurt Russell, Snake Eye,
Starlog, Issue 232, Nov, 1996

"It opened up August 9th after the Olympics. It's gone down interestingly, it's doing ok. It's doing better than the original (Escape from New York) did in it's initial release. I think it's going to go down exactly as the original did. It's a picture we made because over 15 years the audience for the other one grew. We meant to make a picture that would feel the same, that is to say that it would not be totally accepted at the time it comes out, because it's not a picture that is made that way, but I do think that the sensibility of the picture and the way the picture's made and the character in the piece are fairly unique and as time goes by I think that once again it will gain an audience. We were talking earlier about political correctness and stuff as in the movie, through the main character does not concern itself with but the background is sort of all about that. So the movie came out at an interesting period of time, it couldn't have picked a more politically incorrect time, it came out like immediately following the Olympics which was nicely enough, you know, in Atlanta in an American city and for all the reasons concerned it became kind of patriotic in a certain way, a good feeling of America winning gold medals and overcoming adversity, whatever, and our picture is I think seen by many as somewhat subversive. You either have a sense of humor or you don't - sometimes you need a little time to sit back and have a laugh."
- Kurt Russell, Seeing With Snake Eyes, Talking Pictures, Issue 18, Spring, 1997

Debra Hill on Escape From L.A.

"What's real funny is that the Republican primary we're having is quite similar to the political climate in our movie, so it's a very timely thing. In the film, the US has become a police state, and is basically run by a president who is so right-wing and Christian fundamentalist that he has been voted president for life. Anybody who still has free speech, free thought, free religion, free anything is ousted out of the country and departed into the city of Los Angeles, which has become the last free zone in the U.S. In some ways, it's like a third world country in that you have these really smart people stuck in a place where they have to fend for themselves."
- Debra Hill,
"Escape From L.A.", Fangoria, Issue 153, June, 1996

"There are really two villains in the film. Both want to be king. One is the President of the United States, who already has great power and leads the 'haves,' and the other is Cuervo Jones, who is this sort of shining path guy from Peru who leads the 'have-nots' trapped in LA. Basically Cuervo is going to attack the U.S. and level the playing field. What Snake does is set up so that the President and Cuervo end up on equal plane."
- Debra Hill, To Live and Die in Escape from L.A., Fangoria, Issue 155, Aug, 1996

John Carpenter on Snake Plissken

"He's a hero of World War III, decorated for bravery. He was somewhat like a Green Beret, a very experienced, expert soldier. But he has soured on the world and the government, becoming his own man - a thief. He's called upon to do a job because he's good. He doesn't care for anybody, unless he respects him. His respect is very personal and emotional. He judges people very harshly."
- John Carpenter, Film Fear: Three Directors Darkly, Prevue 43, Vol 2, Issue 3, Nov-Dec, 1980

"Snake is a cool character, and it's difficult to not really love him no matter what he does," Carpenter says. "His moral code is incorruptible. He only cares about the next 60 seconds. He doesn't care about killing you, he doesn't care about saving you. He just wants to move on. He doesn't care about a cause because it all bores him. He's been there and seen that. The first thing he says when he arrives and is confronted with his mission is, 'What do you want? I know you want something; you wouldn't bring me here if you didn't.' In a way, he's a world-weary character, but he's also extremely funny because he's so irreverent. He doesn't give a shit. That's my own alter ego, to which I will be forever true if I can."
- John Carpenter, To Live and Die in Escape from L.A., Fangoria, Issue 155, Aug, 1996

"If you step on him? Don't do it. But if you leave him alone, you'll be all right. The character is a combination of my hatred of authority and a guy I knew in high school who went to Vietnam and came back completely changed. He became Snake. He had this inner strength, like now he knows what life is about. In a way, Snake is an innocent. He's forced into a mission that doesn't really cause anything bad to happen. Except at the end when he strikes a little blow for his own beliefs."
- John Carpenter, In 'ESCAPE,' Carpenter Sets His Rebellious Nature Free, USA Today, Aug 12, 1996

"One of the things that women have said to me over the years about the movie, was that what got them really attracted to this character was the fact that he was inaccessible to them and he didn't try to get them. Snake doesn't care about anything but staying alive for another sixty seconds. He doesn't care about hurting you. He doesn't care about helping you. He doesn't care about taking you to bed. All he cares about is moving on. And that kind of character, who is essentially self sufficient, is extremely attractive to females. So, we've never really given him the girl - although in this movie he gets very close. He actually has a pretty hot scene with Valeria Golino. You think that maybe if Snake had more time he might consider it. But things don't work out that way."
- John Carpenter, Escape from L.A: Snake Plissken is Back in John Carpenter's 'Cowboy Noir', Cinefantastique, Vol 25, Issue 1, Aug, 1996

"What makes a hero is a singleness of purpose... It's a very, very firm focus. That's what's always defined a hero in literature and in movies, and Snake has that. He's focusing on one thing: he's going to save his butt. He's a very bad, innocent man. Nothing can change him. He's incorruptible."
- John Carpenter,
The Last Bad Boy, Sci-Fi Entertainment, Vol 3, Issue 2, Aug, 1996

"Snake is a classic character. He's perfect in many ways. You don't need to mess with him on paper, and you don't mess with him in person! You don't know who he is or where he's come from. But you know he's the baddest guy in the baddest world, and he can take care of himself."
- John Carpenter, 
Escape Artist, Starburst 217, Vol 19, Issue 1, Sep, 1996

Kurt Russell on Snake Plissken

"Snake Plissken is a survivor. He's not overly intelligent, like James Bond. He's not suave, just very self-assured - single-minded about getting from point A to point B in a straight line, even if he has to kill to do it. I had to adopt an animalistic way of thinking to play Snake. There is a very cynical attitude about him - he's very cold and capable. He's a very one-dimensional person, with faint innuendoes of emotion."
- Kurt Russell,
Escape From New York, Prevue 45, Vol 2, Issue 5, May, 1981

"Snake is an individual who is everyone's fantasy of a figure who no longer exists by that time (1997) - a person who says and does absolutely what he wants. He's an interesting character, and over the course of the film you'll come to find he's more than a one-dimensional, one-man destruction machine. My feeling is that he's just a guy who's getting through each day - he's a survivor. I don't know if there's been a character much like Snake before. I think the audience will pull for him because he's trying to accomplish something. I don't think he'll work his way into anybody's heart, though, as perhaps John Wayne did in The Searchers. He's a fairly cold person, but to me he's very sensitive. He's living in a colder society, and it's an imagined society as well. The fantasy of what the situation could be like in New York City in 1997 changes his whole outlook. Snake is the kind of hero we haven't seen yet - he's an ex-World War III war hero. If you take a guy who's a hero of a war that hasn't been fought yet and put him in a situation we've never seen before, he certainly has to be different... he's basically a loner who doesn't have a real relationship with any other character in the picture. He uses the other people because they have information he needs in order to find the President. Other than that he's not interested in anybody else."
- Kurt Russell,
The Stars of 'Escape from New York,' Kurt Russell & Adrienne Barbeau: Survivors of the Future, Starlog, Issue 49, Aug, 1981

"Despite the fact that he's really a cold character, I think audiences like him. I think most people would love to be Snake Plissken if only for a day. They'd like to walk down the street and know that just being who they are, people aren't going to hassle them. They wouldn't go out looking for trouble, but they'd be self-assured enough to know that if trouble came their way, they could handle it. People get off on Snake's 'so what' attitude. He isn't a hero but he's not a villain, either. Something happened to Snake when he was fighting World War III in Siberia. Whatever it was must have been ugly, so ugly that it turned him into a near automaton. At the end of the movie, it's very painful for him to crack the tiniest of smiles at a little joke he plays. I think people will pick up on his sense of honor. Sure, he's mean but, getting back to his 'human compassion' line to Hauk, I think that's really the bottom line with Snake. He asks for but realizes that there isn't any human compassion. Ultra-punk."
- Kurt Russell, Escape from New York, Future Life, Issue 30, Nov, 1981

"I've been fortunate to be able to play a gamut of characters in different situations. Snake Plissken is the one who has been my favorite, I find him endlessly fascinating. He is a visceral character, one that you feel, not one you figure out. I feel he got to a point very early on his life where he realizes that it's about just making it another 60 seconds. Nobody has ever been as socially - Unredeemable as Snake Plissken."
- Kurt Russell, Escape From L.A. Press Kit, Production Notes, 1996

"On the surface, [Snake] looks completely one-dimensional, but I felt he was the most complex character I've ever played... It's impossible to tell what he's thinking or why. In the dark recesses of my mind, there's a part of me that would like to be like him, with no responsibility, no ties to anyone or anything - a dark, angry SOB."
- Kurt Russell, Urban Renewal, Cinescape, Vol 2, Issue 11, Aug, 1996

"My character in Escape from New York... somehow hit a nerve with audiences," Russell says. "I think people identify with his attitude, and his need for total freedom." Russell is the first to admit that some things haven't changed in 15 years, particularly the character of Snake Plissken. "That's the key to the movie. The rest of the world has changed, but Snake has not. His agenda is not going to change. He's incorruptible. He has no agenda. He doesn't want anything from anybody." That even explains why Snake seldom speaks - and when he does, it's in a hoarse whisper. "Snake doesn't talk to people," Russell says. "Snake speaks to hear himself."
- Kurt Russell,
Russell Doesn't Mind Your Delayed Reaction, Detroit News, Aug 09, 1996

"I began to understand how he was an alter-ego of mine and I now feel very confidently that John and I make him up. We share him. I have fun playing that character because I have somebody to share him with. That's John. It's like going on vacation with your girlfriend or your wife. It's so much more fun because you have somebody to share it with. When we're on the set, sharing Snake's reaction to things with John is really like being on vacation."
- Kurt Russell, The Escape Artist: Kurt Russell Walks Tall in Hollywood, Venice, Aug, 1996

"I think his behavior represents a lot of the things a lot of us would like to be able to comfortably do. But in order to be like that, you have to be someone who's like him. In order to be that politically incorrect, that incorruptible, and that true to yourself, that fair, you have to have zero agenda and you have to not care about anybody or anything. That's what we lack. We care about each other. We care about things. God, I make movies because I care about trying to make a piece of entertainment. Snake could give a rat's ass about any of that. But that's admirable. Because of that, there's no way to corrupt him. I think that comes through. Also, I think that you sense there's a pathos there. He doesn't entirely like the way he is. He wishes that life didn't present itself to him the way it does. It's almost like opening a box and discovering something nobody else sees. He wishes he'd never opened the box, but it's been opened and he can never change that."
- Kurt Russell, The Escape Artist: Kurt Russell Walks Tall in Hollywood, Venice, Aug, 1996

"I knew very early on that Snake was a really unique character. One of the studio people at the time, he said, 'You're talking about a character here who has no socially redeeming values. We don't start off with his wife being raped, his family being killed or his daughter being dragged underneath horses. We've got to explain why he is the way he is.' "So John put in a scene where I rob a bank with a guy with a limb and the government officers guarding the bank shoot him just as I'm going back to save him. We put it together and said, 'We don't need this scene, we don't need to explain anything about this guy.' The first time you see the character, I think you get the point. You don't get a guy who was born evil. You get a guy who became disillusioned, angry and disappointed to the point where he is now evil. He's bad news. Snake's a sociopath. He's beyond redemption. He couldn't care less. He'll shoot the president. He'll shoot a skinhead on the street. He'll shoot Che Guevara. He'll shoot Abe Lincoln. Doesn't make a difference to him. He's down the road."
- Kurt Russell, The Great Escape, Melody Maker, Sep 28, 1996

"He's almost a character you could play silently. I think if you do things without words, it's more fun to watch. And Snake is a guy that the less he says, the better off he is. He has such a crude philosophy of life that whenever he speaks, it's generally with some sort of sardonic, acerbic sense of the ridiculous. But he's not a comedian--he puts nothing into it."
- Kurt Russell,
Once a Snake... Kurt Russell Is Back in Snake's Clothes, Video Eyeball, Vol 2, Issue 6, Nov-Dec, 1996

Debra Hill on Snake Plissken

"I think Snake Plissken represents the other side of America. The unpatriotic patriotic side of America. The kind of character that we all wanna be, but are afraid to be. He's a guy who doesn't want to be told what to do. He's a guy who doesn't want us to legislate laws that take away personal freedoms. And that's why I think he's so cool. He's an anti-hero and I think that what makes America love him so much."
- 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

Cliff Robertson on The President

"One day he gets on TV and says, 'One day the mighty fist will come down and crush the Sodom and Gomorrah of Los Angeles'. Well this earthquake strikes LA, so everyone thinks the messiah has arrives in the form of this guy. Suddenly he's the president for life. Now, like all dictators, he is absolutely convinced that he is right, and he's also convinced that what's right for the country is indeed right for the country - the hallmarks of a typical dictator. When his daughter realizes that Daddy is a despot and joins up with this counter revolutionary, you have a battle between someone already in control and someone who wants to be in control. They're both fighting for the reins, and the people are the horses - a real interesting dynamic which attracted me to the film."
- Cliff Robertson,
Postcards From L.A.,
Starburst Yearbook, Issue 30, Dec, 1996

Stacy Keach on Malloy

"He's the commander of the military, and there's this anticipation going on between him and Snake, but it's antipathy that any superior officer might have with a young hotshot. Malloy really believes in Snake, and my feeling is that he's vicariously living through him and wants him to succeed. I don't think he's interested in any kind of promotion and there's no money involved. There's nothing in it for him except for the satisfaction that he's done a good job."
- Stacy Keach, To Live and Die in Escape from L.A., Fangoria, Issue 155, Aug, 1996

George Corraface on Cuervo Jones

"He's a trained revolutionary. He's after power. He's after control and he is very smart. Not as smart as Snake Plissken, but almost."

- George Corraface, The Making of Escape From L.A. - Snake is Back (1996 HBO TV Special)

Steve Buscemi on Map to the Stars Eddie

"He's on any side that will benefit him. He's a survivor. He's a go-getter. He's a do-gooder and a bed-wetter. He's just a funny guy."
- Steve Buscemi, 
The Making of Escape From L.A. - Snake is Back (1996 HBO TV Special)

Pam Grier on Hershe Las Palmas

"This character was really complex because I'm a woman playing a guy who has become a woman. At one time, Snake and this guy had stolen cars together, wrestled together and hung out together, so now the character has to intimidate Snake, slap him around if necessary and, in the flip of a second, catch him off guard, seduce him and stick her tongue in his ear. I had a blue-print of preparation, so I watched all the Bruce Willis, Wesley Snipes and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, observed all the guys walking, slagging, talking, spitting, belching, screaming and participating in boxing matches, wrestling matches, and generally threatening echo other in pool halls. On set, I would walk into a corner and mentally experience all these male mannerisms, hold my crotch, slap other male crew members on the back and get slapped on the back. And even though I was only in five or six scenes, I had major bruises because it was obviously pretty arduous work."
- Pam Grier,
Postcards From L.A., Starburst Yearbook, Issue 30, Dec, 1996

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.

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.

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.
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!

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...

Escape From L.A. Quotes

Plissken (From the trailer): Your rules are really beginning to annoy me.

The President: Like the mighty fist of God. Armageddon will descend upon the city of Los Angeles. The city of sin, the city of Gomorrah, the city of Sodom. And waters will arise and separate this sinful, sinful city... from our country.   

Duty Sergeant: Hello Plissken. Welcome to L.A.

Brazen: That Snake Plissken?
Malloy: What'd you expect? 
Brazen: I don't know. He just looks so retro. Kind of twentieth century.

Duty Sergeant: So what happened to you, war hero. You were the best we had. Now you're just like one of them. You had it all and you turned away from your country. Why? The whole nation is watching. Every good and decent person who work hard and follows the rules. Be my guest. What do you have to say, Plissken?
Plissken: Call me Snake.

Malloy: How's it going hotshot? You know, I've got to admit. I though we had you in Cleveland. C'mon, tell me. How did you do it?
Plissken: Get to the deal.
Malloy: What?
Plissken: You need me for something. What is it?

Malloy: We sent in a five man rescue team, but within a few hours after landing all but one of them was killed.
Plissken: Hell of a team.

Utopia: To the American people. Now is the time to rise up and demand the surrender of the President and his corrupt theocracy of lies and terror!

Utopia: Today is day one of a brand new world. The days of Empire are finished; to the President... my father... you know what's in here... unless you open your borders, allow all the wrongfully accused, to return to their country... I will use this, on you and on the United States...

Brazen: Somehow, Cuervo Jones managed to tap into the VR master data bank. Utopia was lonely looking for something to believe in, and so he used her to steal the black box.
Plissken: Sad story. You got a smoke?
Malloy: This is serious, Plissken. The black box is a matter of national security.
Plissken: Looks like it belongs to Utopias loverboy now.
Malloy: We want it back.
Plissken: I'll bet. What's it do?
Malloy: Top secret. Only on a need-to-know.
Plissken: Evitable I don't need to know, so fuck you I'm going to Hollywood.
The President: If you go in L.A., bring back the black box, and you'll receive a full pardon for every immoral act you have ever committed in the United States.
Plissken: Sounds familiar.
The President: An immediate answer. Yes or no?
Plissken: Who are you?
The President: I'm your president.  
Plissken: I understand you got some domestic problems.
The President: Put that black box in my hand and you're a free man.
Plissken: I can see you're real concerned about your daughter.
The President: Utopia is lost to me. My daughter is gone.
Malloy: Last chance, hotshot.
Plissken: For what?
The President: Freedom, sir.
Plissken: In America? That died a long time ago.
The President: All right, I've heard enough of this. Now explain to this foot soldier why he is going to do what we tell him to do.

Plissken: One question. Which one of you assholes gets to die trying to stick me?
Malloy: You don't understand. It's already in you.
Barzen: Catches on quick, doesn't he?

President: Man is too dumb to survive L.A.
Malloy: We're holograms, Plissken.
Give us a little credit. We're not that stupid.

Plissken: You better hope I don't make it back! All of you.

Plissken: By the way, who gives me the antidote?
Malloy: A medical team will be standing by.
Plissken: Neither one of you?
Malloy: No.
Plissken: Good. (firing)
Malloy (chuckles): Thought you'd might try that, hotshot. That's why the first clip was loaded with blanks. Bye, bye, Snake. Good luck. 

Malloy: Slow it down, Plissken. You're overloading the power plant!
Plissken (in the sub): You slow down, dickhead! I'm the one who's dying!

Pipeline: I kind of thought you'd be taller.

Plissken: Where can I find Cuervo Jones?
Skinhead: What do I look like, a fucking tourist guide?

Cuervo: That looks like Snake Plissken.
Utopia: Who?
Cuervo: Used to be a gun fighter. Kind of faded out of the scene a few years ago. I hear he slowed down some.
Utopia (Watching Snake on a motorcycle): He don't look that slow, Cuervo.
Cuervo: Nobody rolls into town and disrespects me. Not Snake Plissken. Not nobody. Bollas!  

Plissken (surrounded by Mescalitos): I'm gonna give you assholes a chance. What do you say we play a little... Bangkok Rules?

Surgeon General of Beverly Hills (groping Taslima's breasts): My God, they're real!

Taslima: You are Snake Plissken, aren't you?
Plissken: I used to be.
Taslima: I thought you'd be taller. So what are you doing in LA?
Plissken: Dying.

Taslima: I used to hear about you all the time, like they could never catch you, no matter what you did. Very cool, Snake.
Plissken: Sooner or later, they get everybody.

Taslima: I read your future.
Plissken: The future is right now.

Plissken: Why are you here?
Taslima: I was a Muslim in South Dakota. All of a sudden they made it a crime.
Plissken: I mean, why did you stay. You can go south - Mexico. 
Taslima: L.A.'s still the place, Snake. If you think about what's happened to the other side of the world. That's the prison. This is the last free zone left, anywhere.
Plissken: Dark paradise.
Taslima (Gets shot afterwards and dies): At least we get something out of the deal. A girl can still wear a fur coat if she wants to, for example. No, no, no, once you figure out this place, it's really not so bad.

Cuervo: Bend over, Mr. President. Time for a spanking.

Utopia (Witnessing people being killed at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum): But this is insane.
Cuervo: It is. That's the point.

Cuervo: I promised you tonight was going to be special. I also promised you one last great spectacle of death here in this historic arena. Now you will see that death. I give you... the death of SNAKE PLISSKEN!

Cuervo: Some people think you're already dead, Snake. Some say you never will be, cause you may have survived Cleveland. You may have escaped from New York. But this is L.A., vato. And you're about to find out that this fucking city can kill anybody!

Cuervo: Game time! Basketball. Two hoops, full court. Ten-second shot clock. Miss a shot, you get shot. Shot clock buzzer goes off before you shoot, you get shot. Two points for a basket. No three-point bullshit. All you gotta do is get ten points. That's it. By the way, nobody's ever walked off that court alive. Nobody.

This town loves a winner.

Pipeline: Whoo! Bitchin'.

Hershe: Oh, yeah, right! And the Plutoxin Seven virus is going to kill you in less in ten hours.
Plissken: What?
Hershe: It's bullshit, baby! Rumour control. Government propaganda. Just one more lie.
Hershe: Oh, Plissken, man, you are such a loser.

Cuervo: Are you ready for the new world!

The President: Get my jet ready. Get it fueled and ready to go.
Malloy: You can't run away now. It's too late. You have to stand and face it down.
Brazen: Mr. President, Commander Malloy, we are receiving reports from Miami. An armada of warships have just departed Cuba. ETA to Florida coast in forty five minutes.
Malloy: They're starting the invasion.
The President: Gotta go to my quarters. Got to pray! (exits)
Malloy (To Brazen): Go with him. Make sure he doesn't do anything crazy.

The President: Relax, war hero. We took you for a little ride and you came through.

The President: For he so loved his country... he gave his only seditious child.

Malloy: She didn't know that she had that remote unit in her pocket, did she? I was wondering what kind of lame switch you'd try to pull this time, Plissken. You know, you're becoming very predictable.
Plissken: Yeah, I guess so. You
got a smoke?
Malloy: The United States is a non-smoking nation! No smoking, no drinking, no drugs, no women - unless you're married. No guns, no foul language, no red meat.
Plissken: Land of the free.

The President: This is the President of the United States. I now demand an immediate retreat of all forces now threatening this great nation. If my demand is not met immediately, I will destroy your ability to function permanently.

The President: Very funny.
Plissken: Yeah.
The President: I hope it was worth it. For now you are going to die.
Plissken: Everybody does.

Brazen: He's not even here! He's a hologram!
Plissken: Catching on quick, doesn't she. 

The President: What's it to be, Plissken? Us or them?
Plissken: Shut down the Third World. They lose, you win. Shut down America. You lose, they win. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The President: So what are you going to do?
Plissken: Disappear.
Brazen: He's entered the world code. No target code. Sir, that will shut down the entire planet. 
Plissken: I told you you'd hope I didn't make it back.
Malloy: You push that button, everything we've accomplished for the past five hundred years will be finished. Our technology, our way of life, our entire history. We'll have to start all over again. For God's sake, don't do it, Snake!
Plissken: The name's Plissken.

He did it! He shut down the Earth!

Plissken: Welcome to the human race.