"Escape from New York": The Greatest Movie Ever?

Essay by The_FugitiveHigh School, 11th gradeA-, March 2006

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Movies today are far too serious. Scripts and screenplays are written with the utmost attention to detail, leaving out any possible plot holes, character flaws or conundrums. These are bad movies, and they can be very entertaining without being good. Movies like "The Terminator", "Phantoms" or "Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Movies that are inspiring and imaginative, in spite of obvious flaws, that add an element of cultic humour. One of my favourite film makers to this day is John Carpenter, who I find is an excellent example of a professional bad movie maker.

Through deliberate acts of satirical audacity, and a character that is nothing short of hilarious, John Carpenter has pieced together what is quite possibly the pinnacle of cinematic perfection to this date. In the opening sequence of John Carpenter's "Escape From New York", an anonymous narrator sets the tone of desperation and hopelessness with the line "once you go in, you never come out."

The narrator is referring to the only rule in the maximum security prison built on Manhattan Island. The prison, which was built in 1997 as a reaction to the crime rate going up four-hundred percent, has no guards. It's every man for himself. The movie was created in 1986, so according to the film, New York only lasted for eleven more years. The thought of this is almost in league with Terminators being created in 2013 to wipe out the last of the Humans on Earth.

The once busy streets of New York City are all nearly deserted, decayed, and run by criminals. The hell on Earth is so unbearable that some attempt to break out of the prison, on a raft, in an Escape From Alcatraz fashion in the opening scene. The plot thickens as a group of terrorists hijack the...