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Face/Off (1997)

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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.


1,505 ( 42)
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


To destroy your enemy, you must find him, face him, and then... become him. 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
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Did You Know?


The studio wanted Archer and Sasha to sleep together, but the writers and John Woo argued against it. See more »


(at around 38 mins) Just before Sean (as Castor Troy) goes to Erewhon Prison, his friend Tito says there are 6 days until the 18th, when the bomb is supposed to go off. Just before that, though, there's a shot of the bomb that says there are 216 hours until it explodes. Tito could have meant six days after Sean got out of Erewhon, the bomb would go off, but Sean is supposed to be in Erewhon two days, which means the bomb would go off in a maximum of eight days. 216 hours, though, is nine days, not eight. That clarifies the meaning of what Tito said, but the time frame is still incorrect. See more »


Tito Biondi: [after Archer knocks Castor unconscious] Well, Sean... Looks like Elvis done left the building.
See more »


Referenced in The Holiday (2006) 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

Wow....this one is good
27 August 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This one has a tough job of convincing the audience that the main characters, Travolta and Cage, could swap faces via plastic surgery and still be convincing as one another. It works! Woo has a certain style down-the long flowing robes, slow mo shootouts, orchestral hype in the background, furious shoot outs, explosions, etc. Essentially a more stylish Bruckheimer movie if ya think about it.

I have always liked the Bald guy and Gina Gershon here the most from the supporting cast, and enjoyed the way both the leads got to 'understand' the others' family, way of life, friends, etc. You have to like how Castor gets Travolta's girl to learn knife fighting, for example, or seeing the camaraderie of Cage's group.

Good shootouts and action, sometimes the conceits here are quite far flung, but you can live with that as an audience. I sure did, and so give this...

*** outta ****, it's quite good

44 of 72 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Too bad the facial reconstruction technology.... cathy-creswell
Most stupid film ever lamusicafue
So Sean Archer win Time Magazine's Man of the Year? Seagalogist
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