Carmon Dossantos

Written by Carmon Dossantos

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Welcome to the thrilling world of “Assault on Precinct 13”! This iconic film, directed by John Carpenter, has captivated audiences since its release in 1976. Serving as a defining example of Carpenter’s mastery of suspense and action, “Assault on Precinct 13” has become a cult classic that continues to enthrall viewers to this day. In this article, we will dive into the depths of this gripping movie and uncover 49 fascinating facts that you may not know about the film. From the cast and crew to behind-the-scenes secrets and its lasting impact, get ready to be transported into the heart-pounding world of “Assault on Precinct 13.” So, grab some popcorn, sit back, and prepare to be amazed by these intriguing insights into one of the greatest action-thrillers of all time.

Key Takeaways:

  • Assault on Precinct 13, a low-budget classic, influenced filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino. Its intense storytelling and realistic gunfights make it a timeless must-see for action thriller fans.
  • Director John Carpenter’s passion project, Assault on Precinct 13, immerses viewers in a gritty world of survival and moral dilemmas. Its enduring popularity cements its status as a cult classic.
Table of Contents

Director’s Inspiration

The movie Assault on Precinct 13, released in 1976, was directed and written by John Carpenter. Carpenter created this gritty action thriller after being inspired by classic Westerns and the iconic film Rio Bravo.

The Low Budget Challenge

With a modest budget of only $100,000, Assault on Precinct 13 proves that you don’t need a massive production budget to create a suspenseful and gripping film.

A Cult Classic

Assault on Precinct 13 has gained a cult following over the years and is considered one of John Carpenter’s most beloved and influential works.

The Independent Spirit

The movie was independently produced by Carpenter, who also composed the film’s intense and memorable score, making it a true passion project.

The Homage to Hawks

The movie pays homage to legendary filmmaker Howard Hawks, particularly his film Rio Bravo, through similar themes of law enforcement defending a besieged location against a relentless enemy.

The Remake

In 2005, a remake of Assault on Precinct 13 was released, directed by Jean-François Richet and starring Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne. However, this article focuses primarily on the original 1976 film.

Influence on Other Filmmakers

Assault on Precinct 13’s dark and intense storytelling, along with its clever use of suspense, has been cited as an inspiration for subsequent filmmakers, such as Quentin Tarantino.

The Fruit Stand Scene

The famous scene where the young girl is shot in front of a fruit stand was shot in one take, adding to the overall realism and tension of the film.

Quirky Characters

The movie presents a diverse ensemble of characters with their quirks and complexities, adding depth to the story and keeping the audience engaged.

The Silent Antagonists

One of the most notable aspects of Assault on Precinct 13 is the eerie and almost silent presence of the antagonists, the gang members. This minimalist portrayal heightens the suspense and creates a sense of impending danger.

Carpenter’s Signature Style

Assault on Precinct 13 showcases John Carpenter’s signature elements, including tense atmospheres, strong and flawed characters, and dark and brooding cinematography.

The Multiethnic Cast

The movie boasts a multiethnic cast, breaking away from the traditional portrayal of law enforcement and criminals in film and contributing to its realistic portrayal of urban life.

Realistic Gunfight Scenes

The gunfight sequences in Assault on Precinct 13 are choreographed realistically, showcasing the chaos and intensity of armed conflicts. This adds to the gritty and raw nature of the film.

A Culturally Relevant Setting

Set in a crime-ridden and isolated police precinct in Los Angeles, the film explores social and racial tensions, reflecting the issues prevalent in society at the time.

Unpredictable Plot Twists

Assault on Precinct 13 is known for its unexpected plot twists and turns, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats and adding to the suspense and excitement of the narrative.

Influential Sound Design

The film’s sound design, created by Carpenter himself, is iconic and has been cited as innovative and influential in the realm of independent filmmaking.

The Imaginary Air Raid Siren

The recurring use of the imaginary air raid siren adds a sense of imminent danger and impending doom, heightening the tension throughout the film.

The Limited Dialogue

Assault on Precinct 13 features limited dialogue, relying more on atmospheric storytelling and visual cues to convey the intense emotions and motivations of the characters.

Critical Acclaim

The movie received critical acclaim upon its release for its gripping storytelling, atmospheric tension, and skilled direction, solidifying John Carpenter’s reputation as a master of suspense.

A Suspenseful Climax

The climax of Assault on Precinct 13 is a heart-pounding and action-packed sequence that will leave you on the edge of your seat, showcasing Carpenter’s mastery in building and maintaining suspense.

The Message of Survival

At its core, Assault on Precinct 13 explores the themes of survival, loyalty, and the lengths people will go to protect what is dear to them in the face of overwhelming adversity.

Limited Release and Box Office Success

Despite initially having a limited release, the film went on to achieve box office success and became a cult classic thanks to its compelling storyline and masterful execution.

A Dark and Realistic Tone

The movie’s dark and realistic tone immerses the audience in a world where moral ambiguity reigns and no one is safe, further adding to its intense and gripping nature.

The Importance of Setting

The isolated and rundown police precinct setting serves as a character in itself, creating a claustrophobic and tense environment that intensifies the drama and suspense of the film.

The Expert Use of Minimalism

Assault on Precinct 13 is a prime example of how minimalism can be used effectively in filmmaking, relying more on atmosphere and tension rather than grandiose special effects.

The Influence of Assault on Precinct 13

The film’s impact can still be felt in contemporary cinema, inspiring subsequent filmmakers to create their own intense and suspenseful action thrillers.

The Remarkable Performances

The cast delivers standout performances, portraying complex and relatable characters that add depth and authenticity to the overall story.

The Legacy of Assault on Precinct 13

Assault on Precinct 13 continues to be celebrated as a groundbreaking and influential film that pushed the boundaries of independent filmmaking.

The Tight Editing

The precise and tight editing of the movie enhances the pace and intensity, allowing the story to unfold seamlessly and keeping the audience engaged throughout.

The Inspiration for Other Films

Assault on Precinct 13 has served as an inspiration for numerous other films, cementing its place as a revered classic in the action thriller genre.

The Realistic Depiction of Violence

The film’s depiction of violence is gritty and raw, mirroring the harsh realities of urban crime and adding to the overall sense of danger and suspense.

The Unforgettable Score

John Carpenter’s haunting score, with its minimalistic yet powerful melodies, elevates the tension and enhances the overall viewing experience.

The Allusions to Genre Cinema

Assault on Precinct 13 carefully pays homage to various genre cinema tropes while still maintaining its unique and original storytelling approach.

The Realism in Character Motivations

The characters in the film are driven by realistic and relatable motivations, making their actions and decisions all the more impactful and engaging.

The Influence on Carpenter’s Career

Assault on Precinct 13 laid the groundwork for John Carpenter’s illustrious career as a master of horror and suspense, establishing his distinct filmmaking style.

The Use of Practical Effects

The movie relies heavily on practical effects, showcasing the creativity and resourcefulness of the filmmakers in creating intense and visually stunning moments.

The Role of Sound Design

The sound design in Assault on Precinct 13 is crucial in creating a tense and immersive atmosphere, amplifying the suspense and enhancing the viewing experience.

The Emotional Impact

The film tugs at the audience’s emotions, as they become invested in the survival and well-being of the characters, resulting in a truly immersive cinematic experience.

The Authentic Portrayals

Assault on Precinct 13 boasts authentic portrayals of both law enforcement officers and criminals, giving the film a realistic and grounded feel.

The Pioneering Spirit

With its low budget and unconventional approach, Assault on Precinct 13 exemplifies the pioneering spirit of independent filmmaking and the power of creative storytelling.

The Intense Cat-and-Mouse Dynamics

The movie features intense cat-and-mouse dynamics between the protagonists and the enemy, heightening the suspense and keeping the audience guessing at every turn.

The Impactful Opening Sequence

The opening sequence of Assault on Precinct 13 sets the stage for the intense and gripping narrative that follows, immediately drawing the audience into its dark and dangerous world.

The Crafting of Unique Characters

Each character in the film is crafted with care, portraying their individual strengths, weaknesses, and motivations, making them memorable and relatable.

The Exploration of Morality

Assault on Precinct 13 delves into the blurred lines between right and wrong, exploring themes of morality and the choices individuals make in desperate situations.

The Timeless Appeal

Despite being released over four decades ago, Assault on Precinct 13 still captivates audiences with its timeless story, authentic characters, and intense atmosphere.

The Climactic Showdown

The final showdown in Assault on Precinct 13 is a thrilling and satisfying culmination of the tension and suspense that builds throughout the film.

The Subtle Social Commentary

Beneath its action-packed surface, Assault on Precinct 13 subtly addresses social issues and the challenges faced by marginalized communities in an urban environment.

The Legacy of Independent Filmmaking

Assault on Precinct 13 is a testament to the power of independent filmmaking and its ability to create impactful and memorable stories with limited resources.

The Enduring Popularity

Over the years, the enduring popularity of Assault on Precinct 13 showcases its status as a true cult classic, beloved by fans of suspenseful and gritty cinema.

There you have it – the 49 fascinating facts about the movie Assault on Precinct From its humble budget to its enduring legacy, this film has left an indelible mark on the world of independent cinema. So grab some popcorn, settle in, and experience the gripping and intense journey that is Assault on Precinct 13.


In conclusion, “Assault on Precinct 13” is a gripping and action-packed movie that has earned its place as a cult classic. With its intense storyline, strong performances, and thrilling action sequences, it has captivated audiences since its release. The film effectively blends elements of crime, suspense, and thriller genres, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Its gritty and atmospheric setting adds to the overall tension, creating an immersive experience for the audience. “Assault on Precinct 13” remains a must-watch for fans of the genre and anyone looking for an adrenaline-filled cinematic experience.


1. Who directed “Assault on Precinct 13”?

John Carpenter directed “Assault on Precinct 13. He is known for his work in the horror and thriller genres and has been praised for his unique storytelling style.

2. When was “Assault on Precinct 13” released?

The movie was released in 1976. It was Carpenter’s second feature film and quickly gained recognition for its thrilling storyline and innovative approach.

3. Is “Assault on Precinct 13” a remake?

Yes, “Assault on Precinct 13” was remade in 2005. The remake, also titled “Assault on Precinct 13”, starred Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne and received positive reviews for its intense action and suspense.

4. What is the premise of “Assault on Precinct 13”?

The movie follows a police officer and a group of civilians who are trapped inside a police precinct on New Year’s Eve. They must defend themselves against a ruthless gang out for revenge.

5. Is “Assault on Precinct 13” based on a true story?

No, “Assault on Precinct 13” is a work of fiction and not based on a true story. However, its realistic portrayal of a siege situation adds to its intense and suspenseful atmosphere.

6. Are there any notable performances in “Assault on Precinct 13”?

Yes, “Assault on Precinct 13” features notable performances from Austin Stoker, who plays the police officer, and Darwin Joston, who plays one of the civilians trapped inside the precinct. Their performances have been praised for their intensity and authenticity.

7. What is the significance of “Assault on Precinct 13” in cinema history?

“Assault on Precinct 13” is considered a pioneering film within the action and thriller genres. It has influenced numerous filmmakers and has become a benchmark for tense and claustrophobic storytelling.

8. Is “Assault on Precinct 13” recommended for action movie enthusiasts?

Absolutely! “Assault on Precinct 13” is a must-watch for action movie enthusiasts. Its intense action sequences, gripping storyline, and memorable characters make it a standout film within the genre.

Intrigued by the gritty world of Assault on Precinct 13? Dive deeper into the realm of crime and punishment with our captivating articles. Uncover astounding facts about crime scene investigators, working tirelessly to solve cases. Explore the chilling Japanese horror classic Ju-on: The Grudge and its Hollywood remake. And for a glimpse into law enforcement, check out our interesting police facts that will leave you fascinated. From the silver screen to real-life heroes, there's always more to discover in the thrilling domain of crime and justice.

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