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Twelve Monkeys (1995)

R  |   |  Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  5 January 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 424,786 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 525 user | 113 critic | 20 from

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.



(film La Jetée), (screenplay) (as David Peoples) , 1 more credit »
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Top 250 Movies #207 | Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Melito ...
Michael Chance ...
H. Michael Walls ...
Bob Adrian ...
Carol Florence ...
Ernest Abuba ...
Irma St. Paule ...
Bruce Kirkpatrick ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They're Coming. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

5 January 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

12 Monkeys  »

Box Office


$29,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,320,430 (UK) (19 April 1996)


£3,532,343 (UK) (17 May 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the 24-hour Hitchcock Theater, Kathryn transforms herself with a blonde wig. Alfred Hitchcock had a notorious obsession with blonde actresses in his films. See more »


When Dr. Railly is tied to the bed in the motel, her bonds are clearly not very secure. In her struggles, she very nearly frees her right foot, by accident. See more »


[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.
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 »


Featured in The 68th Annual Academy Awards (1996) See more »


Woody Woodpecker Music
from cartoon Prehistoric Super Salesman (1969)
Written by Walter Greene
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

13 April 2004 | by (Gent, Belgium) – See all my reviews

The big problem is where to begin as this movie needs your attention the forthcoming two hours and you better not miss some minutes for getting a coke as there is a danger you can't follow. But good there is also a pause-button. Bruce Willis must travel into a timemachine to find out some antivirus for a virus that made animals rule over the world in 1996. Thanks to some mistakes he first ends up in 1990, then in the First World War and how messed up it all might look like, Terry Gilliam comes up with what must be one of the most intelligent scripts ever. This ex-Monty Phyton man knows exactly how genius SF-stories has to be told like and his choice of cast couldn't have been any better, there is the lunatic Brad Pitt (his performance in the asylum is memorable) and a superb Bruce Willis who proves he is more than some Schwarzenegger-wanna be. It's a movie you can watch over and over again as the script is so weird and complicated (and yet you can follow) that every view gives you other surprises. One of my big favourites.

119 of 197 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Is this just the 90's? Pr1ceisright
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Young Cole original life kirisutegomen1
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