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.

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(film La Jetée), (screenplay) (as David Peoples) | 1 more credit »
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Top Rated Movies #235 | Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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

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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:

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Color:

(Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first of three movies in which Bruce Willis travels back in time to meet a younger version of himself. The next two were The Kid (2000) and Looper (2012). See more »

Goofs

Dr. Railly quotes the Book of Revelation in her lecture, but incorrectly calls it "Revelations". 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 All My Children (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Sleep Walk
(1959)
Written by Johnny Farina (as John Farina), Ann Farina, Santo Farina
Performed by B.J. Cole
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Mind-Bending and Heart-Breaking
31 March 2002 | by (Whitehall, PA) – See all my reviews

Terry Gilliam's stunning feature-length adaptation of Chris Marker's short film LA JETEE is full of mind-bending surprises, yet still touches your heart thanks to the superb cast. Gilliam's flair for the phantasmagorical works with the script by David and Janet Peoples to play with your head as much as it does with poor James Cole (Willis at his most Steve McQueen-like -- better than McQueen, even!), a time-traveling convict from the future who literally doesn't know whether he's coming or going as a team of scientists keeps sending him back to the wrong eras while trying to prevent a 1995 plague that's deadly to humans but harmless to animals. Willis, the justifiably Oscar-nominated Brad Pitt, and Madeline Stowe as a well-meaning psychiatrist give some of the best performances of their careers. Even Paul Buckmaster's tango-style score is haunting. This one's a don't-miss!


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