8.0/10
505,949
558 user 149 critic

Twelve Monkeys (1995)

In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

Director:

Writers:

(film La Jetée), (screenplay) (as David Peoples) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
1,087 ( 168)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Top Rated Movies #239 | Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Donnie Darko (2001)
Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.

Director: Richard Kelly
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A boy who communicates with spirits that don't know they're dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A seemingly indestructible humanoid cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs.

Director: James Cameron
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
Groundhog Day (1993)
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.

Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott
Snatch (2000)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Unscrupulous boxing promoters, violent bookmakers, a Russian gangster, incompetent amateur robbers, and supposedly Jewish jewelers fight to track down a priceless stolen diamond.

Director: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, Benicio Del Toro
Action | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter, known only by the alias of "V", plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman.

Director: James McTeigue
Stars: Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Rupert Graves
Terminator 2 (1991)
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her ten year old son, John Connor, from a more advanced cyborg.

Director: James Cameron
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong
Action | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Jason Bourne dodges a ruthless CIA official and his agents from a new assassination program while searching for the origins of his life as a trained killer.

Director: Paul Greengrass
Stars: Matt Damon, Edgar Ramírez, Joan Allen
Se7en (1995)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey
Memento (2000)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A man juggles searching for his wife's murderer and keeping his short-term memory loss from being an obstacle.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
Comedy | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An insurance salesman/adjuster discovers his entire life is actually a television show.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney
Jaws (1975)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A local sheriff, a marine biologist and an old seafarer team up to hunt down a great white shark wrecking havoc in a beach resort.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Melito ...
...
...
Michael Chance ...
Scarface
Vernon Campbell ...
Tiny
H. Michael Walls ...
Botanist
...
...
Zoologist
Carol Florence ...
...
Ernest Abuba ...
Engineer
Irma St. Paule ...
Poet
...
...
Detective Franki
Bruce Kirkpatrick ...
Policeman No. 1
Edit

Storyline

An unknown and lethal virus has wiped out five billion people in 1996. Only 1% of the population has survived by the year 2035, and is forced to live underground. A convict (James Cole) reluctantly volunteers to be sent back in time to 1996 to gather information about the origin of the epidemic (who he's told was spread by a mysterious "Army of the Twelve Monkeys") and locate the virus before it mutates so that scientists can study it. Unfortunately Cole is mistakenly sent to 1990, six years earlier than expected, and is arrested and locked up in a mental institution, where he meets Dr. Kathryn Railly, a psychiatrist, and Jeffrey Goines, the insane son of a famous scientist and virus expert. Written by Giancarlo Cairella <vertigo@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The future is history. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

5 January 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

12 Monkeys  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$29,000,001 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,200,000, 7 January 1996

Gross USA:

$57,141,459

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$168,839,459
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

When Cole and the doctor are in the movie theater they are watching Vertigo (1958). When Cole wakes up, The Birds (1963) is playing. As Cole leaves the theater, the marquee says Hitchcock Marathon and lists all the movies, but does not include The Birds (1963). See more »

Goofs

The television in the sanitarium announces that the featured picture is the Marx Brothers' Monkey Business, but the clip they show is from their first film, believed to have been removed, and replaced with; The Cocoanuts. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
James Cole: Jose - psst! Jose, what's going on?
Jose: Bad news, man
James Cole: Volunteers?
Jose: Yeah. And they said your name.
[pause]
Jose: Hey, maybe they'll give you a pardon, man.
James Cole: [sarcastic] Yeah, that's why none of the volunteers come back. They all get a pardon.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The symbol of the 12 Monkeys provides the backdrop for the opening and closing credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lost in La Mancha (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Concerto No. 21 In C Major, K.467
(uncredited)
Written by: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Superior sci-fi
20 April 2012 | by See all my reviews

A convict from the year 2035 is assigned a mission in order to win parole. He is sent back in time by a group of scientists to try and discover the source of a fatal plague that wiped out most of the human race. A plague which did not kill animals. In his travels he discovers mysterious graffiti announcing the arrival of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys.

Terry Gilliam has always been an interesting film director and visual stylist even when some of his movies are uneven. With 12 Monkeys he perhaps produces his most wholly satisfying work. It's a consistently compelling mystery within the framework of a time-travelling sci-fi narrative. It's a fairly complex story, so attention is demanded of the viewer. This is perhaps the chief strength of the film, however, as the labyrinthine narrative is one that benefits from multiple viewings. There are still some elements of ambiguity even at the end, so it's a film that actively encourages discussion.

There's a good cast too. Bruce Willis was on a bit of a run in the mid 90's and this is one of the great films he appeared in at the height of his powers. On the other hand, it's one of the first films where Brad Pitt was allowed to display his acting chops and show that he was a lot more than just a pretty face. While in visual terms, it's as interesting as you would expect from a Gilliam movie; although not as phantasmagorical as some of his more personal fantasy features. In 12 Monkeys he was a director for hire but it's not immediately obvious. Perhaps the distance this gave him actually helped instill some discipline that made the whole more cohesive on the whole. Whatever the case, this is an excellent sci-fi film with a compelling central mystery.


8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 558 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Best of 2017: Our Favorite Movie and TV Stills

Take a look at our favorite movie and TV stills from the past year. Spot any of your faves?

Browse the Best of 2017