This is one of those grade B science fiction films that manages to impress you even as it insults your intelligence. When I go to see an SF film, I REALLY want to like it. If I can suspend my disbelief and my great expectations, I can find myself embracing even the goofiest plots and situations. New York City as a maximum security prison? Sure, it could happen! The president's plane has crashed inside the prison and the big boss crook is holding him hostage? Sure, why not? (You get the idea.)
Kurt Russel stars as Snake Plissken, a future "argh-ye-mates" pirate who is forced by the government to rescue the president (played by Donald Pleasance) to win his own freedom. He's got 24 hours to accomplish the task or a trojan horse chemical that the government has implanted in his body will kill him.
This film has a great cybercrud feel to it, with high-contrasts between the slick glossy tech of the warders and the ashcan grime of New York as a walled prison. (Hey wait, New York looks just like that now!). This film was even influential to the burgeoning c-punk aesthetic. William Gibson claims he even plagiarized some of the dialogue.
Also starring Ernest Borgnine, Issac Hayes, and Harry Dean Stanton.
Escape from New York
Directed by John Carpenter