Escape From New York is one of the all-time great sci-fi action movies of the 80s, and if you haven’t seen it by now, boy are you missing out. Directed by 80s legend John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) and starring Kurt Russell as the iconic Snake Plissken, the movie keeps you on the edge of your seat for hours as Snake goes deep into the ruins of New York to rescue the President.
The movie is still great today and has inspired an entire generation of sci-fi action movies, but we’re willing to bet even its biggest fans might not know some of these facts.
Snake’s eyepatch wasn’t in the script.
It was entirely Kurt Russell’s idea, and became by far the most famous aspect of the character. Good job Kurt!
Kurt Russell really, really likes the movie.
To this day he claims that it’s his favorite of his own movies, and Snake Plissken is his favorite role he’s ever played.
The model of the city was used for another super famous 80s sci-fi movie.
After filming was completed, the city model was repainted and reused as the model of 2019-era Los Angeles in Blade Runner. Seriously!
The wire-frame city images weren’t done by computers.
Computers that were actually capable of rendering 3D wire-frames were too expensive for the studio when the film was made. Instead, the effects team painted the city black and put reflective tape around its edges.
These facts not wild enough for you? Keep reading…
A pretty famous director contributed some backdrops.
The buildings in the background of Central Park scene are a matte painting made by James Cameron, who was still pretty unknown at the time.
Jamie Lee Curtis has a pretty big uncredited role.
She’s not only the voice of the narrator in the opening, but she’s also the computer’s voice in the first prison scene.
Donald Pleasance had some real-life experience with being taken hostage.
He had spent time as a prisoner of war, and used that as inspiration for playing the President in the movie.
John Carpenter bought the bridge featured in the movie for $1.
He then sold it back to the city of East St. Louis for the same amount, as he felt it was only fair.
Very little of the set had to be changed to look run down.
The area of East St. Louis had been struck by a ton of fires and other disasters in 1976, and just naturally looked the way it did by the time they started filming.
The movie inspired a famous book.
Canadian author William Gibson used the movie as inspiration for his 1982 novel Neuromancer, which not only started the cyberpunk sci-fi genre, but was actually instrumental in creating the concept of the internet as we know it today.