Escape from New York is set in a future 1997, during a time when, after the crime rate has skyrocketed out of control, the island of Manhattan has been turned into an ultra-maximum security prison where the worst of the worst violent criminals are put to live in a state of walled-in anarchy. A potential global crisis emerges when Air Force One is hijacked, forcing the President’s (Donald Pleasance) escape pod to crash land on the island, where he is immediately taken and held hostage by the criminals there, led by the vicious warlord, The Duke (Isaac Hayes). As they will kill the President if any cop sets foot on the premises, the government recruits eye patch-wearing Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a former military hero turned criminal who has been recently sentenced to the island, in exchange for not only his freedom, but, due to a bomb implanted inside him set to detonate in mere hours, his life. Plissken has less than 24 hours to get the President out alive so that he can get some critical information delivered in time for an important political conference that might save the planet from a dark destiny. Co-written, directed, and scored by John Carpenter.
Real-life married couple Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy star as Frank and Faye Riley, the owners of a small diner in a dilapidated building that also houses their apartment in the slums of Manhattan. The rest of the tenants of the building are being paid off to evacuate ASAP, so that greedy land developers can take over and demolish the building in order to erect some high-rise corporate edifices. Those that refuse are being threatened with injury “or worse” by some local thugs that are also on the corporate payroll to scare the bejesus out of the remaining tenants. Without anyone to turn to, a desperate plea may have saved the day, as a couple of miniature flying saucers arrive, consuming metal materials and then fixing up damaged parts of the building. The saucers befriend the remaining tenants, although the thugs and land developers are determined to put an end to this new development even if it costs lives in the process. Steven Spielberg produced this quaint sci-fi fairy tale.
Producer and activist Harry Belafonte’s commercialized slice-of-life drama stars Guy Davis as Kenny ‘Double K’ Kirkland, a South Bronx hip-hop DJ with big dreams, and Jon Chardiet as Ramon, a Puerto Rican graffiti artist who would rather tag trains than get a real job. Rae Dawn Chong is Tracy, an upper-class music student from a college in Manhattan who sees something in Kenny’s proficiency with turntablism to want him to assist with her presentation on break-dancing.