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.
Rosanna Arquette stars as Roberta Glass, a dreamer New Jersey housewife who contents herself to reading about the mysterious lives of others through perusing the personals in the local paper. One in particular has caught her eye, involving “Jim and Susan” (Susan is played by Madonna) who use the ads in order to meet in public places. Curious Roberta heads out to catch a glimpse of the two when they meet in New York City, and. through a mishap, ends up with amnesia, not to mention a case of mistaken identity that sees her playing the role of being Susan herself. Trouble is, the artsy hipster Susan is being followed by a crazed thug (Will Patton) intent on recovering some heisted priceless Egyptian artifacts that end up given to Jim, earrings that have been seen in the real Susan’s possession. With the help of Jim’s friend Dez (Aidan Quinn), who also mistakenly thinks Roberta is Susan, she must traverse this dangerous territory and find meaning to her own life, even if she has to live the life of another to do it. Susan Seidelman directs this whimsical, artsy farce.
Style Wars is a documentary look at the street art among the youth of New York in the early 1980s, especially in the South Bronx, particularly in graffiti art and break-dancing. The film takes a balanced look at the youth culture, showing the artistry and thought involved in young people trying to make a name and impact by creating art for people all over the city to see on the side (or the interior) of a subway train, but also shows the frustration on the part of then-mayor Ed Koch, as well as law enforcement, in trying to keep the city from the blight of illegal art that often looks like gibberish to most people.