Geek Trivia

1980s Cult Classic Film Escape From New York Was Actually Filmed Primarily In?

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Boston
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St. Louis
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Kurt Russell holding a gun and wearing an eye patch as Snake
AVCO Embassy Pictures

Answer: St. Louis

Despite the title of the film, Escape from New York wasn’t filmed in New York City. The film was, in fact, filmed almost entirely in the city of St. Louis for reasons that, when the film is viewed through the lens of the present, aren’t immediately clear.

Not only was shooting in New York City a financial and logistical nightmare, St. Louis had a rather compelling bit of gritty realism that came pro bono for director John Carpenter and the set crew. An enormous fire in 1976 had severely damaged portions of the city; while that disaster was a tragedy for the citizens of St. Louis, it gave those sections of the city the exact kind of emptiness and wear Carpenter was looking for to create his vision of New York City turned prison. The combination of already gritty sets and a flexible shooting schedule made St. Louis a natural backdrop for the cult classic.