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91 min.
John Carpenter
Action, Crime, Thriller
Rating *
Votes *
6.2% (1:16)
* View IMDb information

Top comments

  1. tigh66's avatar


    I thoroughly believe film history will look back on Carpenter as one of the unsung masters of the the second half of the twentieth century. Here we have his first critically acclaimed work, a work of a director who is already in control of several key elements (directing, score, editing) that will be the hallmark of a remarkable career.

    Memorable scenes include the "I wanted vanilla twist" scene that is deservedly one of the greatest shocks in all of film, and an ending spoiler

    Also, a word must be said for Carpenter's score, which is just as memorable as the iconic "Halloween" score that would be upcoming.

    Overall, if you have loved better known Carpenter flicks, watch this early gem and watch a master at work.
    10 years 5 months ago
  2. Zeltaebar's avatar


    Armed with better actors and working on a slightly better budget (compared to his debut Dark Star), John Carpenter managed to hit a home run with Assault on Precinct 13, a loose remake of Howard Hawk's Rio Bravo from 1959, on what was only his second attempt at directing a feature movie. The cast is performing well above their usual B-movie fare at the time while Laurie Zimmer makes her debut with aplomb, which leads one to think that Carpenter had a hand in pulling out these excellent performances. The pacing is better than in Dark Star, but atmosphere and tension are still the two main players. The action is very well shot which makes the movie seem more action-fueled than it really is. This is more of a thriller with interesting characters trapped in a difficult, tense and unusual situation. It is gritty, deliciously violent and the John Carpenter-composed soundtrack is really groovy. The script is also very well written (also by Carpenter) with many witty remarks and lines that build character. 9 years ago
  3. Siskoid's avatar


    John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 deserves its cult status, taking DNA strains from different 70s exploitation films and crafting, for the space of 90 minutes a number of memorable characters and moments. This siege on a police precinct in the middle of being shut down, in which cops, staff and prisoners must cooperate to survive, is less crime drama than it is horror movie. The street gangs descending on the station might as well be rage zombies. That is their only character, and they don't get a single line. And the heroes don't have too big a character arc either. It's not about that. It's about one night of hell. But Carpenter gives us just enough during the build-up that we're invested by the time they're thrown into dire circumstances, with lively performances by relative unknowns and dynamic camera work. The editing could have been tighter in places (part of the shoot-em-up feels like a shooting gallery montage, but there's a pay-off), but lots of bare bones fun. 6 years ago
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In 6 official lists

  1. This movie ranks #54 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
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  2. This movie ranks #84 in Grindhouse Cinema Database's Top Grindhouse Classics
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  3. This movie ranks #98 in Jennifer Eiss's 500 Essential Cult Movies
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  4. This movie ranks #354 in BFI's 360 Classic Feature Films Project
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  5. This movie ranks #783 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
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  6. This movie ranks #895 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
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