At the end of Escape from New York, Snake is revealed to have switched the tapes and he shreds the original one. This is after the dialogue with the president:

Snake: A whole lotta people died to get you out... what do you have to say about that?

President: I want to thank them. This nation appreciates their sacrifice.

I know the President is a prick, but won't destroying the tape possibly lead to a nuclear war or something?

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    The way I heard it when I watched the movie, Snake was told that nuclear war would certainly break out unless the president and the maguffin were retrieved. Snake returned the president but a fake maguffin and so as far as he knew nuclear war was certain to start. Thus Snake took actions that he had reason to believe would result in millions of deaths, or tens of millions of deaths, or hundreds of millions of deaths. – M. A. Golding Aug 9 at 23:01
up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is because despite being a Veteran with 2 Purple Hearts Snake believes he was betrayed by the United States government

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.

Source: Snake Plissken > Background (2nd Paragraph)

His dislike for the government is shown again at the end of the film after the President only offers half-hearted regret for the people who died saving the president

As the President prepares for a televised speech to the leaders at the summit meeting, he thanks Snake for saving him and tells him that he can have anything he wants. All Snake asks for is how he feels about the people who died saving him, but the President only offers half-hearted regret. As Snake walks away in disgust, Hauk offers Snake a job as his Deputy- Snake demurs, neither saying yes or no. The President's speech commences, and he offers the contents of the cassette; to his embarrassment, the tape is Cabbie's cassette of the swing song "Bandstand Boogie". As Snake walks away, he intentionally tears the magnetic tape, out of the cassette reel, with the actual message that was intended to be delivered by the President.

Source: Escape from New York > Plot (Last Paragraph)

In fact, Snake (if i recall) is parroting the President's own words in the quote in the question, so it's really rich of the President to be saying that to Snake.

Snake didn't really give a crap about what happens to the US or to the President by that point. Everything he did in New York he did because he had been injected with Micro explosives and Snake is a survivor.


This of course repeats in Escape from LA where Snake is infected with a virus to kill him and is forced to go into former LA to recover the "Sword of Damocles", a super weapon being a series of satellites capable of rendering all electronic devices anywhere on the planet useless, which was stolen by the President's Daughter Utopia, in exchange for a full pardon and a cure to the virus.

At the start of the film the President already tells Snake that he doesn't care if Utopia is returned considering her a traitor and by the end of the film it's revealed that

the Virus Snake was infected with was nothing for that a fast acting strain of the flu (which is revealed after the time limit they let expire) and the President orders Utopia to be taken to an electric chair to be executed

the President then tries to use the Sword of Damocles but fails to wipe out the Cuban invasion force, revealing that what they actually took was a "Map to the Stars" Guide. after the President orders Snake to be executed but fails (because Snake activated a hologram and escaped) Snake proceeds to activate the Sword of Damocles himself but using the World Code which wipes out all electronics worldwide.

So in Escape from LA not only did the President lie to Snake and show no concern for Utopia but they didn't trust Snake either, a decision that had Snake didn't do anything the US would have been invaded by Cuba.

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    I think it's unnecessary to include info and spoilers for the sequel, the first part of your answer is more than enough – Luciano Aug 9 at 8:58
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    @Luciano i included it to show that Snake's distrust in the government is will placed given later events. though i can remove it if it's really a problem – Memor-X Aug 9 at 23:23
  • It can't hurt to mention it as a little backing about Snake's depiction and character, especially since it's kind of a remake. The spoilers are hidden anyway. – Napoleon Wilson Aug 10 at 0:20

The way I heard it when I watched the movie, Snake was told that nuclear war would certainly break out unless the president and the maguffin were retrieved. Snake returned the president but a fake maguffin and so as far as he knew nuclear war was certain to start. Thus Snake took actions that he had reason to believe would result in millions of deaths, or tens of millions of deaths, or hundreds of millions of deaths.

If I was alive in the fictional universe of Escape from New York the probability that Snake Plissken killed me would be rather high.

So, if I remember correctly, Snake may have spitefully killed more people than Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao together. So if I understand correctly, the answer to you question is that Snake plisskin is the most evil man in history.

  • There isn't a lot of logic here, and no facts / sources to back it up – Luciano Aug 10 at 8:37

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