About an hour ago, a plane crashed in the heart of New York. The President was on board.
Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), Lieutenant of the Special Forces, having carried out two raids in the Soviet Union, is the youngest man to have been decorated by the President of the United States. This war hero has just been sentenced to life in the maximum security penitentiary in New York.
In 1988, the crime rate in the United States increased by 400%. The former New York City has become the only maximum security prison in the entire country. It is surrounded by a 15-meter-high wall that completely surrounds Manhattan Island. All bridges and waterways are mined. United States police, like an army, are encamped around the island. There are no guards inside the prison. There are only the prisoners and the world they created. The rules are simple: once you enter, you do not exit.
In this year 1997 Bob Hauk (Lee Van Cleef) the head of security in New York offers a deal to Plissken. He has 24 hours to save the president (Donald Pleasence) in exchange for his pardon. For safety, Hauk has him inject microscopic explosive capsules which can only be defused 15 minutes before the explosion.
Written in 1976, at the time of the Watergate scandal, this today uchronic science fiction film focuses on an anti-hero who respects nothing, coerced and forced to perform a heroic act.
The raid on Leningrad, once carried out by Plissken, inspired the novelist William Gibson for one of his characters in Neuromancien having carried out a similar mission. Similarly Hideo Kojima was inspired by Snake Plissken to develop his video game character Solid Snake.
Note that Donald Pleasence was inspired by his own experience as a prisoner of war during the Second World War to compose his role as a prisoner and humiliated president.