In order to foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a face-transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a ruthless terrorist, but the plan turns from bad to worse when the same criminal impersonates the cop.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Victor Lazarro
Prison Guard Walton
Hollis Miller
Buzz (as Jamie Denton)


Sean Archer, a very tough, rugged FBI Agent. Who is still grieving for his dead son Michael. Archer believes that his son's killer is his sworn enemy, a very powerful criminal, Castor Troy. One day, Archer has finally cornered Castor, however, their fight has knocked out Troy cold. As Archer finally breathes easy over the capture of his enemy, he finds out that Troy has planted a bomb that will destroy the entire city of Los Angeles and all of its inhabitants. Unfortunately the only other person who knows its location is Castor's brother Pollux, and he refuses to talk. The solution, a special operation doctor that can cut off people's faces, and can place a person's face onto another person. Archer undergoes one of those surgeries to talk to Pollux. However, Castor Troy somehow regains consciousness and now wants revenge on Archer for taking his face. Not only is Troy ruining Archer's mission, but his personal life as well. Archer must stop Troy again. This time, it's personal. Written by John Wiggins

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's like looking in a mirror - only not See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for intense sequences of strong violence, and for strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

27 June 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Face Off  »

Box Office


$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$23,387,530 (USA) (27 June 1997)


$112,225,777 (USA) (31 October 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Nicolas Cage and Thomas Jane were both married to, and divorced from, Patricia Arquette. See more »


(at around 12 mins) During the airplane scene the #1 engine is shot out but the fire warning in the cockpit shows #3 engine. See more »


Sean Archer: I've said and done some things that made your life hard, I know
Sasha Hassler: How would you? when you left you never looked back
Sean Archer: I just know,
[Adam walks in]
Sean Archer: Sasha I'm not the same person you remember and for what it's worth I'm sorry,
[getting dressed]
Sean Archer: nice looking clothes
Sasha Hassler: Yeah, of course their yours
Sean Archer: [Adam walks in] nice looking kid too
Sasha Hassler: Yeah, of course, his yours too
See more »


Prelude in D-Flat, Op. 28, No. 15 ('Raindrop')
By Frédéric Chopin
Performed by Irina Zaritzkaya
Courtesy of Naxos of America
By Arrangement with Source/Q
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the most appealing, richest, touching, action films in a long time.
22 September 2007 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Sean Archer (John Travolta) is a FBI Agent, who tries to capture "Terrorist for Hired" Caster Troy (Oscar-Winner:Nicolas Cage). Sean also has an personal vendetta against Caster, when Caster accidentally killed Sean's son (Myles Jeffery). When Sean finally caught Caster in a airport and knocking him down with an air vent. Sean thinks it's finally over until an mysterious Doctor (CCH Pounder) knows that Caster was hired to plan an Bomb somewhere in LA. While his ex-partners knows nothing about the bomb. Caster's brother (Alessandro Nivola) is refusing to talk. The Doctor proposed to Sean to disguise as Caster Troy by using his face! Which it's seems possible by switching identities and using voice spots as well to sound like Caster with the help of another doctor (Colm Feore). This operation is an success and Sean is going to prisoner as Caster to find out, where's the bomb is by meeting his brother. But when the real Castor awakens from his Coma without an face, Castor uses the two doctors by putting Sean's face and stealing his identity. Caster also killed the doctors and killing Sean's partner (Robert Wisdom). Because they are the only ones, who the dark secret between Sean and Castor. Now Castor as Sean is having an great time by having his job, sleeping with his wife (Joan Allen) and using Sean's daughter (Dominique Swain) more to be a criminal as well. Castor in the identity of Sean using the hero credit by disarming the bomb. Now Sean is furious and he escapes from prison. Now Sean has to face his wife by telling the truth and posing as Caster to meet his dangerous criminal buddies for help.

Directed by John Woo (Broken Arrow, Hard Target, The Killer) made an One of a Kind action film with an preposterous premise that actually works. Which it was originally written as a Sci-Fi/Action/Thriller. But director Woo and screenwriters changed the premise sightly to be in modern today instead. Travolta and Cage are extremely good in their roles by giving heart and soul to this excellent action movie. These two actors are also having an great time playing these characters Over the Top as well. Woo is an expert for creating memorable dynamic action sequences and as well making these characters human as well. There's one stand-out sequence, when the point of view of a little boy (David McCurley) is listening to "Over the Raindow" while watching People getting killed all over him is unexpectedly touching and beautiful in a dark way.

The DVD is a 10th anniversary edition, which this DVD is a 2-Disc Set. Disc One has an sharp anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) transfer and an aggressively loud DTS 6.1 Expanded Surround Sound (Also in Dolby Digital 5.1 Ex). Disc one includes an running commentary by the director and the two screenwriters Mike Werb (Darkman 3:Die Darkman Die, Curious George, The Mask) & Michael Colleary (Firehouse Dog, Lara Croft:Tomb Raider). Disc 1 also has an other commentary track by the screenwriters and as well Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by the filmmakers. Disc 2 includes an fascinating one-hour documentary of the film with many new interviews with the cast & crew (expect for Travolta and Cage, sadly "although vintage interviews was used in the DVD"), 25 minute documentary of the films of John Woo and the original theatrical trailer. This film certainly made an impact, once it was release in the summer of 1997 and it went on to have an huge following. Once it released on Video and DVD. This film is still John Woo's best American film to date. I think it's one of those films that Woo will have an hard time to top this one. Because this is an extraordinary picture. Don't miss it. Plenty of familiar faces appears in bit parts, including an young Thomas Jane as a prisoner, John Bloom (Better known as Joe Bob Briggs) and Danny Masterson as a Would-Be Rapist. Two Time Oscar-Winner:Michael Douglas is one of the executive producers of this instant action classic. Panavision. (**** ½/*****).

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