S.D. Bob “Snake” Plissken is a fictional character from the films Escape from New York and Escape from L.A.. He is portrayed by Kurt Russell, and created by director John Carpenter and screenwriter Nick Castle.] He is a former Special Forces operator/war hero in World War III turned criminal. His apprehension and coercion by the United States Police Force to secure top-secret material from the ex-cities turned maximum security prisons of New York and Los Angeles play a big role in the movies, giving him the role of the protagonist.
Snake Plissken is a former U.S. Army Lieutenant, serving under Special Forces Unit Black Flight stated by Hauk in Escape from New York, with two Purple Hearts, and the youngest soldier to be decorated by the U.S. President for bravery during campaigns in Leningrad and Siberia in World War III against the USSR.
Some time later, he turned to a life of crime due to the perceived betrayal of the United States government during the “Leningrad Ruse” (when he lost the use of his left eye) and when his parents were burned alive in their home by the United States Police Force—events described in the Escape from New York novelization by Mike McQuay. He traveled with his war buddy and only friend, Bill Taylor. Snake took up with partners Harold Hellman (later known as “Brain”) and Fresno Bob. In Kansas City around 1993, Hellman apparently let Plissken and Fresno Bob get cornered by police, at which time Fresno Bob was brutally tortured and killed by sadistic law enforcers within the United States Police Force.
As a result of the Kansas City incident, it was widely believed in the criminal community that Plissken was dead. This is a running gag in Escape from New York: “I heard you were dead” (a homage to the John Wayne film Big Jake). In Escape from L.A. the recurring joke is changed to “I thought you’d be taller.”
Snake has a tattoo of a cobra on his stomach.