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Dark City (1998)

R  |   |  Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi  |  27 February 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 149,304 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 616 user | 222 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

A man struggles with memories of his past, including a wife he cannot remember, in a nightmarish world with no sun and run by beings with telekinetic powers who seek the souls of humans.



(story), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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9 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Karl Harris
Frank Gallacher ...
Hotel Manager / Vendor
Justin Monjo ...
Taxi Driver
Mr. Rain


John Murdoch awakens alone in a strange hotel to find that he has lost his memory and is wanted for a series of brutal and bizarre murders. While trying to piece together his past, he stumbles upon a fiendish underworld controlled by a group of beings known as The Strangers who possess the ability to put people to sleep and alter the city and its inhabitants. Now Murdoch must find a way to stop them before they take control of his mind and destroy him. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You are not who you think you are See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent images and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

27 February 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dark City  »

Box Office


$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,576,953 (USA) (27 February 1998)


£848,615 (UK) (19 June 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


On the DVD commentary, co-writer David S. Goyer reveals two possible explanations for the origin of the inhabitants of Dark City. In his original story outline, director Alex Proyas believed the humans to have been passengers aboard an interstellar spaceship who were captured by the Strangers. Goyer favors a more spiritual approach, supposing that the humans are in fact dead and that Dark City is a sort of purgatory made up of people the Strangers have selected or abducted from different eras in history. See more »


(at around 57 mins) Although when John Murdoch jumps across the roofs, he jumps onto the same roof twice, in this city it's quite possible for there to be two identical roofs. See more »


[first lines]
Dr. Schreber: [voiceover] First there was darkness. Then came the strangers. They were a race as old as time itself. They had mastered the ultimate technology. The ability to alter physical reality by will alone. They called this ability "Tuning". But they were dying. Their civilization was in decline, and so they abandoned their world seeking a cure for their own mortality. Their endless journey brought them to a small, blue world in the farthest corner of the galaxy. Our world. Here they ...
See more »


References Hellraiser (1987) See more »


The Night Has 1000 Eyes
Written by Marilyn Garrett, Dorothy Wayne (as Dottie Wayne) and Ben Weisman
Sung by Anita Kelsey
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Confusing at first but ultimately fantastic
11 May 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

John Mudoch (Rufus Sewell) awakes in a bathtub completely naked, with blood dripping down his forehead, unaware of what is happening, he remembers nothing. In the next room he finds a dead body and a blood stained knife. What follows is john trying to piece together what is happening to him and what he unravels is one of the greatest science fiction stories ever put to film. There is a group called the strangers who have an ability to physically change surroundings of them and the people living in the city, they call this ability "tuning". They soon discover that john also has this ability, which is impossible as it would take a normal human a few lifetimes to gain the ability to "tune". Thats the most i can tell without giving away major plot points.

The movie is set in a 1940ish looking city where detectives are hunting John, along with the mysterious strangers. The tall buildings and the knowledge that the strangers could be anywhere in the city gives a menacing ambiance, heightening the tension in the movie and giving off a great effect on the viewer. The special effects in Dark City are stunning and realistic, especially when certain characters use "tuning".

Rufus Sewell gives a good performance as John Murdoch, though i could'nt help feeling he was holding back somewhat. I could think of a few other actors who could have gave a much better performance but he was generally good.

Kiefer Sunderland as Dr. Daniel Schreber was very good and seemed to have put all of his effort into his character, its quite an unusual role for Sunderland but he pulls it off pretty well.

Another performance worth mentioning is Richard O'Brien as Mr Hand, he gives a genuinely creepy performance as one of the main strangers, i thought i would see him and think crystal maze through all of his scenes but he does a pretty good job of playing a convincing character.

Overall the movie leaves a few unanswered questions, leaving the viewer to conduct their own theories about the outcome of events. I have a good grasp of the story as a whole but some people will find bits and pieces confusing. A great film anyways, i gave it an 8 because it tends to drag in some spots, but the end makes up for all doubts.

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