Assault on Precinct 13 is a 1976 American action thriller film written, directed, scored and edited by John Carpenter. It stars Austin Stoker as a police officer who defends a defunct precinct against an attack by a relentless criminal gang, along with Darwin Joston as a convicted murderer who helps him. Laurie Zimmer and Tony Burton co-star as other defenders of the precinct.
Writer/director Carpenter was approached by J. Stein Kaplan to make a low-budget exploitation film for under $100,000 but with total creative control. Carpenter wrote The Anderson Alamo, inspired by the Howard Hawks Western film Rio Bravo and the George A. Romero horror film Night of the Living Dead. Despite controversy with the MPAA over the explicitly violent and infamous "ice cream" gunshot scene, the film received an R rating and opened in the United States on November 10, 1976.
Assault was initially met with mixed reviews and unimpressive box-office returns in the United States. However when the film premiered in the 1977 London Film Festival, it received an ecstatic review by festival director Ken Wlaschin that led to critical acclaim first in Britain and then throughout Europe. It gained a considerable cult following, reappraisal from critics, and was later re-evaluated in America as one of the best action films of its era and of Carpenter's career.