Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • X
  • Action, Crime
  • 1976
  • 91 mins

Assault on Precinct 13

Assault on Precinct 13


An afro-bouncing, pump action bloodbath from cult director John Carpenter, with a humour as broad as the cast's improbably acred flares


John Carpenter's follow-up to his quirky Dark Star is this brilliantly economical urban horror story.

A rough reworking of Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo, it tells the story of a disparate group thrown together in a terrifying crisis. At the film's heart is the Hawksian staple - the two guys and a girl.

Austin Stoker is Bishop, a black police lieutenant given the job of looking after an LA precinct on the eve of its closure. Darwin Jostin plays the tough con on his way to Death Row, who is forced to take refuge in the building. Laurie Zimmer is the brassy, resourceful woman who treats the two men with equal respect. Together they face the peril of a heavily armed, multi-racial gang bent on revenge against cops.

Carpenter reveals his admiration for Hitchcock as well as Hawks, creating a taut little masterpiece of a thriller. The tension is sustained throughout, aided by the director's own minimalist synthesizer score and the inspired idea of having the gang use silencers on their guns, rendering their relentless assault eerily quiet.

This makes you nostalgic for the time when you would have bet confidently that Carpenter was embarking on what would surely be a long and lucrative career as a top Hollywood director.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Charles Cyphers, Laurie Zimmer, Martin West, Darwin Joston, Tony Burton, Austin Stoker
  • Director: John Carpenter
  • Screen Writer: John Carpenter
  • Producer: J S Kaplan
  • Photographer: Douglas Knapp
  • Composer: John Carpenter

In a nutshell

A fast, dark, relentlessly maintained thriller that still ranks among the best of the decade.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Thunder Island

    Thriller. A hit man (Gene Nelson) is hired to kill a former Caribbean dictator. He abducts a couple and their boat to reach the despot's island, but then his plans go badly wrong.

  • Film4

    The Enchanted Forest

    An old man raises a young boy who became lost in the woods, teaching him about life and nature

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF: five favourites

    Elena Lazic reports from the Toronto International Film festival on her five favourites of the fest. The Lobster Yorgos Lanthimos' success in realising the usually disastrous combination of farci

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF: five favourites

    Manuela Lazic reports from the Toronto International Film Festival on five favourites from the fest. The Witch What if the sorceresses and deadly spells in which people believed so fervently in th

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register