John Carpenter‘s 1981 release, Escape From New York is almost a continuation of the type of sci-fi films that Charlton Heston made in the 1960s and 1970s (Planet Of The Apes, Omega Man, Soylent Green), there’s a wonderful bleakness to Escape From New York. It’s very much the precursor of 1980s action movies, with its muscle-bound hero in the form of Kurt Russell‘s Snake Plissken and smart-ass one-liners. Would we have had something like The Terminator without Carpenter’s movie?
Most of the action takes place at night and nobody can be trusted (not even our hero). The mean streets of New York were actually filmed in East St. Louis, Illinois but you would never know. Escape From New York‘s special effects hold up incredibly well – and this image shows a young James Cameron working on one of the film’s matte paintings. Cameron would make The Terminator just four years later.
Escape From New York grossed just over $25 million at the US box office when it was released in 1981.