Escape from New York (1981) - full transcript

In the future, crime is out of control and New York City's Manhattan is a maximum security prison. Grabbing a bargaining chip right out of the air, convicts bring down the President's plane in bad old Gotham. Gruff Snake Plissken, a one-eyed lone warrior new to prison life, is coerced into bringing the President, and his cargo, out of this land of undesirables.

The once-great city of New York becomes
the one maximum-security prison

for the entire country.

A 50-foot containment wall is erected
along the New Jersey shoreline,

across the Harlem River
and down along the Brooklyn shoreline.

It completely surrounds Manhattan Island.

All bridges and waterways are mined.

The United States Police Force, like
an army, is encamped around the island.

There are no guards inside the prison,

only prisoners and the worlds
they have made.

The rules are simple.

Once you go in, you don't come out.

This is Gotham 4, north bay, station 17.

I have an escape in progress.
Object in mid-bay moving towards the wall.

You have ten seconds.
Turn around. Start back to the island.

Gotham 4, confirm the kill.

Circle to base, over.

Security, this is Rehme,
we have confirmation from Gotham 4.

We have a kill at mid-harbour, south
of the Battery. Two in the water dead.

Two confirmed.

Very well.

Air traffic, this is Rehme.

you are now entering the debarkation area.

No talking, no smoking. Follow
the orange line to the processing area.

The next scheduled departure
to the prison is in two hours.

You now have the option to terminate
and be cremated on the premises.

If you elect this option, notify the duty
sergeant in your processing area.

Hold it.

We got a small jet in trouble
over restricted airspace.

- Where is it?
- Seven miles out and closing.

Been on the horn for the past 20 minutes.

We haven't been able to reach him.

There was a transmission ten minutes ago.

He identified as David 14,
then all of a sudden he was cut off.

David 14, acknowledge.

David 14, I'm calling air rescue.

Squawk 7700, contact on 121.5.

There's still no reply.

Bayonne, I have a mayday
in restricted space.

New York, I have him.

- Who is he?
- I don't know.

You have the code?

There's no David 14 on the computer.

- Unlisted?
- Unregistered code.

We telexed Washington.
Still waiting for a reply.

I think I got him, sir.

It's too late, assholes.

All your imperialist weapons
and lies can't save him now.

We're going down. We're going to crash!

David 14, acknowledge.

Code's coming in, sir.

Tell this to the workers
when they ask where your leader went.

We, the soldiers of the
National Liberation Front of America,

in the name of the workers

and all the 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 bosses of the racist...

Unlock the pod.

- She's bolted the door.
- Can't you shoot off the lock?

No, sir, she's pressurised the cabin.

How about lifting the door
off at the hinges?

No, sir.

Get me to the pod.

Sir, this is a locating device to trace
you if you become separated from the pod.

I'm activating it now.

God save me and watch over you all.

Computer simulation.
Tracking Air Force One.

He's down!

It's the escape pod.

Forty degrees.

Fifty yards from impact.

I'm going in.


Over the Battery.

We're moving down.

Crash site ahead.

You touch me, he dies.

If you're not in the air
in 30 seconds, he dies.

You come back in, he dies.

Twenty seconds.

I'm ready to talk.

19, 18...

- What do you want?
- 17...


Let's go. Let's go!

Yes. He's right here, Mr Vice President.

This is Bob Hauk.

We can't. If we move in
with choppers, they'll kill him.

We're lucky if he's not dead already.

They don't want anything yet.

By the time they figure out
what they want, it'll be too late.

Tell him we have to go
with your plan, now.

We can't wait till tomorrow.
If we have to move in and take the island,

it's a last resort. It's 8:45.

I want permission to try a rescue.

Thank you.

- All right.
- He's dangerous, sir.

I know. I'll be okay.

I'm not a fool, Plissken.

Call me Snake.

"S.D. Plissken.

American. Lieutenant,
Special Forces unit Black Light.

Two Purple Hearts,
Leningrad and Siberia.

Youngest man to be decorated
by the President.

He robbed the Federal Reserve depository.

Life sentence, New York
Maximum Security Penitentiary."

I'm ready to kick your ass
out of the world, war hero.

- Who are you?
- Hauk.

Police Commissioner.

Bob Hauk.

Special Forces unit Texas Thunder.

We heard of you, too, Plissken.

Why are we talking?

I have a deal for you.

You'll receive full pardon
for every criminal action

you committed in the United States.

There was an accident.

About an hour ago, a small jet
went down inside New York City.

The President was on board.

President of what?

That's not funny, Plissken.

You go in, find the President, bring him
out in 24 hours, and you're a free man.

- 24 hours, huh?
- I'm making you an offer.

- Bullshit.
- Straight, just like I said.

- I'll think about it.
- No time. Give me an answer.

Get a new President.

We're still at war, Plissken.
We need him alive.

I don't give a fuck about
your war or your President.

- Is that your answer?
- I'm thinking about it.

Think hard.

- Why me?
- You flew the Gullfire over Leningrad.

You know how to get in quiet.
You're all I've got.

I guess I go in, one way or the other.

Doesn't mean shit to me.
Give me the paper.

- When you come out.
- Before.

I told you I wasn't a fool, Plissken.

Call me Snake.

Some of them have cars.

They took old junkers that were
left behind, converted them to steam.

We think they may also have
a gasoline source in there.

And power. Greenhouses, rigged-up
generators, some areas have streetlights.

The "crazies", they live in the subways.

Complete control of the underground.
They're night raiders.

Sends a radio signal for 15 minutes.

If you push it, we can track you
on radar. Just like Leningrad.

But they added something. A safety catch.

Where am I landing?

Top of the World Trade Center.
Only place you can land.

They won't see it and you
can take off from a free fall.

On the roof is a service elevator.

It's still operational.
We use it to infiltrate the prison.

There's a power box.
It'll activate the elevator down to 50.

From there on down, you walk.

You can locate the President
by his vital-signs bracelet on his wrist.

Sends off a sync pulse. Use this.

Homing device.
Shows direction and distance.

Strong antitoxin, stops bacteria
and viral growth for 24 hours.

- Take off your jacket.
- I'll be all right.

Let's go, Plissken.

I don't like needles.

22 hours, 59 minutes, 57 seconds.

We talked about 24.

In 22 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 22 hours.

What's on it?

You know anything about nuclear fusion?

All right.

It's the survival
of the human race, Plissken.

Something you don't give a shit about.

I'm going to inject you.
It'll sting for a second or two.

That's it, Plissken.

Tell him.

Tell me what?

That idea you had about turning
the Gullfire around 180 degrees

and flying off to Canada...

What did you do to me, asshole?

My idea, Plissken.
Something we've been fooling around with.

Two microscopic capsules
lodged in your arteries.

They're already starting to dissolve.

In 22 hours,
the cores will completely dissolve.

Inside the cores
are a heat-sensing charge.

Not a large explosive.

About the size of a pinhead.

Just big enough
to open up both your arteries.

I'd say you'd be dead
in ten or 15 seconds...

- Take them out now.
- They're protected by the cores.

15 minutes before the last hour's up,
we can neutralise the charge with X-rays.

We'll burn out the charges
if you have the President.

What if I'm a little late?

No more Hartford Summit
and no more Snake Plissken.

When I get back, I'm gonna kill you.

The Gullfire's waiting.

I'm ready.

21 hours.

Suppose he's dead, Hauk.

If I come back without him,
you'll burn these things out?

Get them both back, Plissken.

And, remember,
once you're inside you're on your own.

Oh, you mean I can't count on you?

- No.
- Good.

Tracer test confirmed
at 20 hours, 17 minutes, 30 seconds.

Are you picking up the target blip?

Right on course.

Been a while.

How's your altitude?



Plissken, what are you doing?

Playing with myself. I'm going in.



I'm inside
the World Trade Center on the 50th floor.

Just like Leningrad, Hauk.

Is the glider intact?

Yeah, but taking off is for shit.
I'll work it out.

You'll have to use the east stairwell.

It's gonna take you a little while
to get to ground level.

Call me when you get outside.

I'm at the plane.

Nobody else made it, Hauk.

Wait a minute.

I've got his pulse.

Right up ahead, moving northwest.

Hey. You're Snake Plissken, ain't you?

What do you want?


I thought you were dead.

Hey, you don't wanna walk
around down there, Snake.

Hi, chief.

Nice night.

Nice boots.

Nice boots.


Easy now, chief.

I'm walking. I'm walking.

Mr President.

I'm the President.

Sure, I'm the President.

I knew when I got this thing,
I'd be President.

- Where'd you get it?
- I woke up and there it was.

It was like a miracle.

Oh, Jesus!

I... It may be just an impact
on the mechanism itself.


I'm right here, Plissken.

I don't know who you assholes are
looking at, but it's not the President.

All right, get your machine ready.
I'm coming out.

18 hours, Plissken.

Listen to me, Hauk.

The President is dead. You got that?
Somebody's had him for dinner.

Plissken, if you get back in that glider,
I'll shoot you down.

You climb out, I'll burn you off the wall.

You understand that, Plissken?

A little human compassion.

You a cop?


You got a gun.

You got a smoke?

Keep your hand over it.

It's all right if we're quiet.
They won't hear us.

Hey, this is a real one.
You just get in?

What's going on out there?


End of the month. They're out of food.

Do you live here?

Skulls? Are you kidding?

I'm with the Turks now.

I just got caught on the street after
dark, now I'm stuck here all night.

A plane crashed seven hours ago
near 8th Avenue. Did you see it?



You're a cop.

I'm an asshole.

Hey, wait a minute.

I know who you are.

- Yeah. But I heard you were dead.
- I am.

Well, Snake Plissken. All right!

What you doing in here
with a gun, Snake?

Looking for somebody.

- Who?
- The President.

Come on.

He really here?


When you find him,
you gonna take him out?


Take me out with you, Snake.


I can think of lots of reasons why.


Where you going, buddy?

Bad neighbourhood, Snake.

You don't wanna be walking
from the Bowery to 42nd Street at night.

I've been driving a cab here for 30 years,

and I'm telling you, you don't walk
around here at night. Yes, sir!

Here they'll kill you and strip you
in ten seconds flat.

Usually, I'm not down around here myself,
but I wanted to catch that show.

This stuff is like gold
around here, you know.

Hey, Snake, when did you get in?
I didn't even know they caught you.

Oh, Snake Plissken in my cab.

Wait till I tell Eddie!
Hey, hang on, Snake.

Hey, what were you doing
back there, Snake?

Looking for somebody.

Well, why didn't you ask me?
Hell, I know everybody in this town.

Yes, sir, I've been driving this cab
for 30 years. This very same cab!

I'm gonna ask you.

- Now, where's the President?
- The Duke got him.

Everybody knows the Duke's got him.

You don't have to put a gun
to my head. I'll tell you.

- Who's the Duke?
- The Duke?

The Duke of New York. A-number-one.
The big man, that's who!

I wanna meet this Duke.

You can't meet the Duke. Are you crazy?

Nobody gets to meet the Duke.
You meet him once and then you're dead!

I hate to leave her on the street.

Usually, I don't leave her alone at all.

But you're a special case, Snake.

It's okay, Snake.

It's a better neighbourhood.
You can relax.


Boy, they got a great place here.
Like a fortress.

- They?
- Yeah.

- Who is it?
- It's me!

- Who's "me"?
- Cabbie.

What do you want?

Somebody wants to see Brain.
It's important.

- Go away, Cabbie!
- No, it's Snake!

Snake Plissken.

You're Plissken?

He wants to see Brain.


I wanna meet the Duke.

Hey, you remember this place, Snake.
It used to be a public library.

Oh, that Brain, he's the greatest.

Mr Fabulous! The Duke loves him.

- Who's that?
- That's Maggie.

Brain's squeeze.

The Duke gave her to Brain
just to keep him happy.

See what I mean?

Heard you were dead.

Brain? Brain,
I brought somebody to see you.

Harold Helman.



How you been, Harold?

It's been a long time.

You never told me you knew
Snake Plissken, Brain.

Isn't that great? Hey, Brain, I could use
some gas if you could spare some.

I'm glad you remember me.


A man should remember his past.

Kansas City, four years ago,
you ran out on me.

- You left me sitting there.
- You were late.

We were buddies, Harold.

You, me and Fresno Bob.

You know what they did to Bob?


You wanna see him sprayed
all over that map, baby?

- Where's the President?
- I swear to God, Snake, I don't know!

Don't fuck with me!

- Why do you wanna know?
- I want him.

Working for the man now, huh?

- I'll just beat it out of your squeeze.
- Mm-hmm.

Maggie doesn't know
exactly where he is

and unless you know exactly, precisely
where he is, you'll never find him.

Listen, I'll take you out of here. Yeah.

Jet glider just a couple of blocks
down the street.

And all you gotta do is get me to him.

No kidding? On the level?

Hey, will you take me, too?

We got a deal somewhere else.

No glider.

We've got the President and the Duke's
taking everybody out of here.

Never happen, baby.

You see, I know something
you and the Duke don't know.

Only got so long before Mr President
doesn't mean a whole lot.

You're lying.

Maybe he's not.

I know him.
Look at his face, he's lying!

Right, Harold. I'm lying.

So I might as well have some fun
and keep looking by myself.

- Brain.
- Talk to him, baby!

Brain, he'll kill us both
if you don't tell him!

- Brain, you gotta tell him!
- All right, all right!

You always were smart, Harold.

Just one thing right now.

Don't call me Harold.

So you work for this Duke, huh?

Yeah. Making gas for him.
Figure out things for him.

Like what?

Like how to get across
the 69th Street Bridge.

It's mined, but I know
where they're planted.

We got a diagram from a guy
that got all the way across

- before they shot the poor bastard.
- Mm-hmm.

We got a crew up there now
clearing away the first barricade.

Oh, what a sight, Snake!

The whole camp rolling
right across the bridge

and the President right out in front.

Oh, that would have been so fine.

- Yeah, it would've been.
- Yeah, well, we're going with Snake now.

That's the Duke.
I know the sound of his engines.

Don't cross the Duke.
Everybody knows that.

Cabbie, you slime!

No, Brain. Get out of here.

- He's looking for you, Brain.
- What does he want?

He wants my diagram of the bridge.

When he finds out I'm with you,
he's gonna want my life.

Shit, Plissken,
I knew I shouldn't have listened...

We gotta get to the President now
while he's busy.

Forget it. He's on the other side of town
and we got no wheels. The deal is off.

Just calm down.



I think they saw us.
Turn left. Turn left here.

Brain, this is Broadway.

I know. I know.
The Duke'll take 7th Avenue.

- Broadway's got five minutes...
- No!

Yes. Keep driving.

What's wrong with Broadway?

Come on, sweetheart.

Come on, Brain.


Hold on.

He's in the third car
from the end by the last campfire.

It's all right. He's gotta go in the
front way. It'll take him five minutes.

If you're not back to the car
in four minutes, you're on your own.

When we get there, Harold,
you just keep talking.

Hi, guys.

Hi. How's it going?

Cooled off a little, huh?

What do you want, Brain?

The Duke told us to wait inside.
He's on his way here now.

He didn't say nothing to us about it.

Well, you can't expect him to tell
everybody in the joint, now can you?

That's why he's the Duke.

Why don't we wait outside here for him?

Well, why don't we wait inside for him?

Because I got orders, that's why.

Well, what are your specific orders,
by the way?

Specific orders, Brain,
was for me not to let no one go inside.

How's the President holding up by the way?

Any political discussions
you've had with him?

That Brain is a real pain in the ass.

He's always sniffing around like a dog.

He comes up with the gas.

What are you looking at?


Are you from the outside?

- Stop shaking.
- I can't.

- Who are you?
- Hauk sent me in.

- We've gotta move fast.
- Move fast?

- You're goddamn right I'll move fast.
- Keep quiet.

Keep moving.

They got him.

Watch it.

Friend of yours, Brain?

He had a gun on me, Duke.
There was nothing I could do.



Who are you?

I said, who are you?

Snake Plissken, Duke.
The Man sent him in here.

Something's going down.
We need him.

Snake Plissken.

I've heard of you.

I heard you were dead.

This is
Surveillance 4 to Security Control.

Nothing on the infrared body scan.
Nothing in the searchlight.

There aren't any fires on the street.
Nobody moving down there.

Surveillance 5 to Security Control.

Negative on infrared body scan.
No movement in the searchlights.

Something strange going on down there.

- We've got to go in now.
- We hold.

- You're countermanding my orders, Hauk.
- This is my prison. I'll give the orders.

- I override all that.
- Just try.

Surveillance 10.
Still negative on the scans.

This is Surveillance 4
to Security Control.

- Nothing on the infrared body scan.
- Make another sweep.

Surveillance 10,
still negative on the scans.

Surveillance 5, negative.

The whole prison looks deserted.
There's nothing moving anywhere.

Still circling.

This is Surveillance 4
to Security Control.

Nothing on the infrared body scan.
Still negative on...

Don't move, Snake.

I want that diagram, Brain.

Um... It's at my place, Duke.

Duke, that Plissken said
something about a time limit.

- What time limit?
- On him.

That's a lot of crap.

What did I teach you?

You are the Duke of New York.

You are A-number-one.

I can't hear you.


You are the Duke of New York!
You are A-number-one!

Get me the diagram.

Duke, don't kill Plissken. We need him.

Get moving, Brain.

People down below in the park.
Can you see them?

Surveillance 10 to Security Control,
are you getting that readout,

that pulse there on the infrared?

We have a visual sighting on it.

It's a crowd of prisoners in Central Park.

They're waving at us.
Signalling us from the food-drop area.

They're waving us down.

I still can't figure out

whether that son of a bitch Plissken
was telling the truth or not.

God, I hate that guy.

- He got in somehow.
- Yeah. Yeah, but how?

You gotta land a glider and take off.

You can't do it in Central Park,
there's too many trees.

Port Authority is too low to the ground,

unless it was some place high up.

The World Trade Center, that's it.

Here we go, the World Trade Center
and it's gonna be a hell of a lot easier

for me to take off than it was
for him to land.

"Amnesty for all prisoners in
New York City in exchange for President.

69th Street Bridge, tomorrow, 12:00 noon.
No bullshit or he's dead."

- Where's the tape?
- Not here.

They're Plissken's.

So much for your man, Hauk.

Warm up the choppers. We're moving in.


Come on, get up!

They sent in their best man

and when we roll down
the 69th Street Bridge tomorrow

on our way to freedom...

we're gonna have their best man
leading the way from the neck up.

On the hood of my car!

Let's do it!

Romero. Where did you get the hat?

- Got it from Cabbie.
- Oh, yeah?

- Traded him.
- For what?

- What are you so nervous about?
- I gotta see the President.

- Who says?
- The Duke.

No, he doesn't.

Well, I'll have to tell him
you said that.

Wait a minute. Why?

He's got something hidden
in his clothing and the Duke wants it.

- What?
- I'll show you.

- You'll tell me.
- Cyanide capsules.

The Duke don't want a dead President.


Mr President.


Yeah. He might try to take it tomorrow.

That's a bunch of bullshit.

You're not supposed to be in here, Brain.

- Ow...
- Shh!

Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake!

Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake!

Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake!

Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake!

Tracer activated at one hour,
35 minutes, 27 seconds.


Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake!

Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake!

Snake, Snake, Snake!

Snake, Snake, Snake!

Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake!

Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake!

Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake!

Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake, Snake!

Listen! Listen!


The President's gone!

Brain took him!

Hauk! Plissken's tracer!

Get on the radio.
Keep them down. Nobody move.

He's approaching the World Trade Center.

I knew that son of a bitch was alive.

He's inside.

- It's gone.
- The signal only lasts for 15 minutes.

Download the choppers.
We're in standby situation.

Anybody could have pushed that button.

Only Plissken knew
there was a safety catch.

Now, we'll give him a little more time,
just to make sure.

Goddamn redskins!

They're savages, Mr President.

Listen, Snake, I swear to God
I thought you were dead.

Yeah, you and everybody else.
That your car in the lobby?

Yeah? Keys, quick.

- Quick, diagram of the bridge.
- Okay.

Hey, hey, hey.

I'm the only one who knows
how to read that, Snake.

Stay out of my way, Harold.

Besides, you can't read and drive
at the same time. You need us!

You shouldn't have double-crossed me
again, Brain. Come on, let's go.

- They sawed it off.
- The tape?

- Gone, I don't know where.
- I do.

I swear to God, Snake, I know where it is.
Just take us to the car.

I'll take you right to it.


Shit, shit!

Don't talk. Breathe.

- I'm trying.
- Come on, come on! We're wasting time.

What's wrong?

- It's dead, Harold.
- What?


Here, take this.

Car trouble?

Hi, Duke.

This whole deal of yours is over, Snake.

You and Brain just say goodbye
to each other.

Go, go!

- There are three mines right here...
- They're behind us.

And then there's three more...

- They come in groups of threes.
- Where's the tape, Brain?

- What tape?
- Where is it?

- The tape from the briefcase!
- Oh, that tape. Here it is.

- You traded Romero your hat?
- How did you know?

See? See?

The discovery that
tritium creates only one one-millionth

of the biological damage of iodine 1...

- Here, give me that tape.
- Not just yet.

- Easy! Easy!
- Go for it, Snake!

You got to slow down a little, Snake.

I think there are three mines
ahead, Snake.

You think?

Stay left. Stay left, stay left
and then jog right when I tell you.

You're pushing her too hard, Snake.

Okay. Okay, now!

I said jog right, you asshole.

Stay to the right.
Stay to the right.


No, hold it! Left!

Left, damn it!


Keep moving.


He's dead.

Come on.

Station 19, they spotted two cars
on the 69th Street Bridge.

- Is it Plissken?
- A taxicab and a Cadillac.

The taxi hit a mine. There's
four people on foot. 14 minutes.

Get a jeep with a winch
over there, fast.

Cronenberg, get over to Station 19.
They're coming across the bridge.

This is Rehme. Security Control,
we are at a standby situation.

Repeat, we are at a standby situation.
All helicopters, down.

Wall guards, do not fire on prisoners.

Repeat, do not fire on prisoners.

All vehicles, stand by.

Repeat, all vehicles stand by.

You're A-number-one!

You're the Duke! You're the Duke!

You're... the Duke.

You're A-number-one.

The tape, Plissken.

That's it.

I've radioed ahead, Mr President.
They know the situation.

They're waiting for your broadcast.


Oh, it's all right.

I, uh... I want to thank you.

Anything you want, you just name it.

Just a moment of your time.

Three minutes, sir.



We did get you out.

A lot of people died in the process.
I just wondered how you felt about it.

Well, I...

I want to thank them.

This nation appreciates their sacrifice.

Look, I'm on the air in, uh...
Two and a half minutes?

Yes, sir.

You gonna kill me now, Snake?

I'm too tired.

Maybe later.

I've got another deal for you.

I want you to think it over
while you're resting.

I wanna give you a job.

We'd make one hell of a team, Snake.

The name's Plissken.

You're on camera, Mr 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.