Trivia: There was an extensive opening scene that was filmed where Snake robbed the bank with a partner before they were caught, and his partner killed. Snake went back to try and help his wounded partner, just to see him get shot down and then the cops surround him. But the scene was cut from the movie because early screenings proved that it only confused the audience. That they had no idea what was going on until it was too late. It also served to humanize Snake and make him seem more like a good guy, which was not the effect they wanted at all.
Trivia: Donald Pleasance made up a whole back story about how he, as a British man, was able to become president of the USA in this film, seeing as how only a nationally born citizen can be president. According to John Carpenter, the film's director, Donald's story had something to do with Margret Thatcher taking over the world and the US becoming a British Colony again. It was funny, and apparently well thought out, even as just a joke, but Carpenter didn't use any of it for the film. (00:11:30)
Trivia: When Lee Van Cleef was cast for the role of Bob Hauk, the director and Kurt Russell decided to draw on old Spaghetti Westerns for Snake. Looking at the dynamics between Lee Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood in those old movies, Kurt drew from that and modeled Snake Plissken after Clint Eastwood, especially his voice.
Trivia: The first time Kurt Russell saw this movie with an audience, he was in New York with his family. Try as he may, he couldn't convince the theater owner that he was in the movie, even though he is obviously the star film. So he wound up having to pay his and his 7 family members' way into the movie.
Trivia: In an attempt to have more futuristic stuff in the movie, the crew was brain storming ideas. One that Kurt Russell came up with was the idea of a self lighting cigarette. They tried a few times to get such a prop to work and look good on film, but all they managed to do was burn Kurt's fingers.
Trivia: The plane that was shown crashed in the movie was bought as a junked plane, but in one piece. The film crew cut the plane into sections, trucked it into the city during the night and set up for filming. People saw the 'wreckage' and the next day there were stories in the newspapers about a plane crash, referring to this plane, pictures and everything. And it had eye witness accounts of people saying they saw the plane crash. Total lies as it was trucked in in pieces. (00:30:30)
Trivia: The production team soon realized during editing and early screenings that it was easy to lose track of where Snake was, or when. So in post production, they went back and did some additional shooting of just moments where Snake or someone would look at the time on his wrist clock to show where he was at. This also helped greatly to add to the suspense of the movie, allowing the audience to know how much time was passing and how much Snake had left. (00:22:15)
Trivia: Only one shot of this entire movie was actually filmed in New York. That is the shot where they pan down, showing the Statue of Liberty and several guards walking around on it. In other parts where you see the city from afar it's actually a miniature, not the real thing. (00:06:15)
Trivia: During the beginning of the movie, as the female voice starts telling about what has happened, there is a map showing the island of Manhattan and illustrates the prison. This part was added very late in production because producer Debra Hill realized that a lot of kids in early screenings did not know that the Manhattan was an island. (00:03:10)
Trivia: You will notice in some scenes that Snake has a scar on his cheek, most notably when he is confronting Hauk about the explosives injected into his neck. Kurt Russell has a dimple there, and it was a wardrobe decision to place a scar on it because they didn't want Snake Plissken to look like he had a dimple. (00:23:55)