7.4/10
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Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

A police sergeant and an unlikely band of criminals defend a closing LA precinct office on New Years Eve against an army of gang members.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Julie (as Nancy Loomis)
Peter Bruni ...
John J. Fox ...
Marc Ross ...
Alan Koss ...
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Gilbert De la Pena ...
Chicano Warlord (as Gilbert De La Pena)
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Storyline

Police ambush and kill several gang members in Los Angeles. Gang members make a pact of blood to strike back at police, and conduct a siege on the police station which is almost abandoned and due to be closed. Staff of the closing precinct and the criminals being held there while in transit must work together to fight off the attacking gang members. Written by Scott McKenna <smckenna@lcb.state.nv.us>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The gang swore a blood oath to destroy Precinct 13... and every cop in it! See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

5 November 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The captions showing the day and time were to give the film the feel of a documentary. See more »

Goofs

The silenced revolver that Wells uses would not be silenced. On the vast majority of revolvers have a gap between the cylinder and the barrel, through which some gas can escape, rendering the silencer ineffective. See more »

Quotes

[Wells and Wilson decide who will escape to go for help]
Wilson: We haven't even flipped the coin yet.
Wells: I'm gonna lose.
Wilson: You got a bad attitude, Wells.
Wells: I ALWAYS lose. Had bad luck all my life. How do you think I ended up in here?
Wilson: Maybe your luck will change.
Wells: It might... If we don't flip a coin.
Wilson: What then?
Wells: Potatoes.
Wilson: All right.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Escape from Chernobourg (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Assault On Precinct 13 (Main Title)
Written by John Carpenter
Performed by John Carpenter and Tommy Lee Wallace
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Neat thriller from John `Claustrophobia' Carpenter
5 July 2002 | by (Dublin, Ireland) – See all my reviews

`Assault on Precinct 13' shows Carpenter in the fine creative form of his earlier days, when he produced such thriller and horror gems like `Halloween', `The Thing' and this little movie. As usual he eschews a complex plot in favour of a great little central concept - in this case a group of civilians, prisoners and police trapped in a deserted police station under siege from a mysterious gang who want to get at one man inside.

The acting in these movies is generally bland, but Carpenter at least breathes some dimension into his characters. The lead role goes to Lt. Ethan Bishop (Austin Stoker), the cop in charge of minding the building for the night. Naturally he's honourable but there's also a good sense of pragmatism to his character. Similarly the prisoner Napoleon (Darwin Joston) isn't just a criminal - there's something quite human to him. The same goes for the civilians caught up - despite their disparities the characters become a relatively cohesive unit that's quite believable, enjoyable without veering into grating sentimentality ever. Naturally a lot of them are cannon fodder but the loss of individuals in such movies is one of the anticipations you expect in the genre.

Carpenter did a great service by making the protagonists of the piece silent. They never utter a word. They have nothing in common, hailing from all races. We have no motivation for their actions and thankfully we're spared weak, and frankly pointless, excuses. Instead their blank faced determinism, and the manner in which they mete out death, lends them a horrific cold bloodedness that is far more memorable than typical thriller character building. There's not so much a sense of palpable evil but a much more terrifying sense of complete inhumanity. Carpenter also uses his great skills with claustrophobia - even the outdoor scenes are deserted, lonely, isolated. The actual station under siege is well designed - we're made aware of the layout quickly, before the action starts, so that the action sequences make sense without confusing us on issues of location. The darkness of the proceedings - pale lighting and so forth - add to the edgy mood of the characters. And Carpenter once again has a nice musical score accompanying his movie - it may sound dated, but it suits the ambience and atmosphere to a tee.

`Assault on Precinct 13' is hardly clever. It's not claiming to be. It's a low budget work with a central `siege' idea. It works because of the claustrophobic element, the feeling of desperation in the characters, some neat villains and fairly well fleshed characters. It may not be the pinnacle of its type, but it sure is enjoyable while it lasts. 6.8/10.


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