Kurt Russell and writer/director John Carpenter’s Snake Plissken was as intriguing as he was terrifying. A man who had no time for anything except completing the mission laid at his feet, Snake took down whatever authority figure or gang member who dared to stand in his way. He first took down Gotham in 1981’s Escape from New York, gliding into a version of Manhattan that had been isolated from the mainland and turned into a prison colony. His mission? Save the President of the United States (whose escape pod had landed in the city after terrorists had taken Air Force One). Plissken was called upon again in 1996 to rescue a different President’s rebellious daughter from a similarly isolated Los Angeles. Though the plot echoed the original in a few spots, the box office and critical acclaim did not despite another rock solid performance by Russell.
There has been talk about an Escape from New York reboot for years now, and while that may or may not happen, Kurt Russell’s take on the character will be nearly impossible to top, specifically in the minds of fans who have accepted Snake as iconic. In the spirit of the film’s 35th anniversary, here are some facts you may not know about the creation of Snake Plissken and the effort to bring him to life on the big screen for his escape from the big apple.