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
1,098 ( 96)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Top Rated Movies #234 | Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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
Sin City (2005)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A film that explores the dark and miserable town, Basin City, and tells the story of three different people, all caught up in violent corruption.

Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Bruce Willis
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
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
Groundhog Day (1993)
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

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

Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott
Die Hard (1988)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Director: John McTiernan
Stars: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia
Blade Runner (1982)
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young
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 modus operandi.

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey
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
Adventure | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In 1954, a U.S. marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo
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
Edit

Cast

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

They're Coming. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

5 January 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

12 Monkeys  »

Box Office

Budget:

$29,000,001 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,320,430 (UK) (19 April 1996)

Gross:

$56,882,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

(Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The title and logo design are inspired by the "Get off the Earth" puzzle created by Sam Loyd in 1898. It consists of 13 characters on two dials, that when twisted, one of them disappears. See more »

Goofs

Cole's watch reads 9:30 before he walks around a corner, and 8:55 after. 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

References The Omega Man (1971) 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

A brilliant movie. One of the very best science fiction movies of the 1990s, and one or Terry Gilliam's greatest achievements.
24 January 2003 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

I grew up on Python and have followed Terry Gilliam's subsequent directorial career for more years than I care to remember. Half his output leaves me cold, the other half dazzle me beyond belief. 'Brazil' is his movie that I would rate the highest, but I've come to think that I have unfairly underrated 'Twelve Monkeys'. I have always enjoyed it, but I've only come to realize just how good a movie it really is. Sometimes I think it is even better than 'Brazil'. It's a close pick. Unlike 'Brazil' Gilliam didn't come up with the script. He basically was initially involved as a director for hire. Thankfully the script itself (by David and Janet Peoples) is first rate. On top of that Gilliam manages to stamp his own style and approach on to the material without sliding into complete self-indulgence as he sometimes does. The budget of this movie wasn't anywhere near as large as you would imagine from the impressive results on screen. It looks superb. Gilliam coaxes first rate performances out of Bruce Willis (quite a surprise) and Brad Pitt (not such a surprise, see also 'Johnny Suede' and 'Kalifornia'). Madeline Stowe is also very good, as is Christopher Plummer, and in a small but important role, David Morse. It's difficult to fault this movie. It is a joy to watch, and improves with each viewing. I also highly recommend Chris Marker's 'La Jetee', the short experimental film which inspired 'Twelve Monkeys'. It is also brilliant.


100 of 133 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I'm really underwhelmed. What did I miss? cartesianthought
One question that's bothered me pferreira86
If Cole knew about the kid in the barn frozenwashcloth
Is this just the 90's? Pr1ceisright
An awfully convenient coincidence? digeridoo-59344
Absolutely Pathetic tsmit67
Discuss Twelve Monkeys (1995) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page