Kurt Russell’s Greatest Sci-fi Movie Is Available To Stream Right Now

Kurt Russell's action-packed sci-fi film, Escape from New York, is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

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Kurt Russell in Escape from New York

When Escape from New York first hit theaters in 1981, its dark blend of sci-fi and action captivated audiences. Starring Kurt Russell, the film is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. Written and directed by John Carpenter, the story is set in the near-future world of 1997. The United States has become a crime-infested wasteland with Manhattan serving as a maximum-security prison.

After Air Force One is hijacked and deliberately crashed into the area by anti-government insurgents, an incarcerated former soldier named Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is given an impossible task. He has 24 hours to enter the prison and rescue the President of the United States. If he is successful, his jail time will be pardoned.

Along with Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, Escape from New York also stars Lee Van Cleef as Police Commissioner Bob Hauk and Donald Pleasence as President John Harker. The film also features Ernest Borgnine as Cabbie and Isaac Hayes as The Duke. Season Hubley, Harry Dean Stanton, Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, Charles Cyphers, Frank Doubleday, and John Strobel round out the cast.

The Kurt Russell starrer was written in the mid-1970s following the Watergate scandal. After the success of Halloween in 1978, John Carpenter had enough influence to begin production with an estimated budget of $6 million. The film was co-written by Nick Castle, who previously collaborated with the filmmaker when he played Michael Myers in Halloween.

Following its July 1981 release, Escape from New York received positive reviews from critics who described the Kurt Russell movie as a strange, entertaining jumble of thrilling action and oddball weirdness. Decades later, it still holds an 86 percent score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes where critics and movie lovers have called the story’s atmospherically grimy futuristic metropolis fascinating.

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Escape from New York was also a commercial success, earning $25.2 million at the global box office. The film was nominated for four Saturn Awards, including Best Science Fiction Film and Best Direction. Over the years, the movie earned cult classic status and was followed by the 1996 sequel, Escape from LA. Carpenter returned to direct, and Kurt Russell reprised his role as Snake Plissken.

Although the sequel failed to meet the studio’s financial expectations with a polarizing reception from critics, it later found a strong cult following. Set in 2000, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is once again asked to save the day. This time he needs to recover a potential doomsday device from Los Angeles, which has devolved into an autonomous island where undesirables are deported.

Most recently, Kurt Russell appeared in F9 as Mr. Nobody. He is currently working on the upcoming monster series called Godzilla and the Titans. Created by Chris Black and Matt Fraction, the show will form part of Warner Bros. and Legendary’s MonsterVerse multimedia franchise and shared fictional universe. It will be released exclusively on Apple TV+.

The story begins after a massive battle between Godzilla and the Titans levels San Francisco. As humanity deals with the shocking reality that monsters are real, the series explores one family’s journey to uncover its buried secrets. They soon discover that they are linked to a secret organization known as Monarch. The Kurt Russell series currently has no release date.