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Face/Off (1997)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Sci-Fi  |  27 June 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 269,519 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 533 user | 157 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

To foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a face-transplant surgery and assumes the identity of a ruthless terrorist. But the plan backfires when the same criminal impersonates the cop with the same method.


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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)


£6,163,073 (UK) (2 January 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Woo:  [guns]  Castor Troy's two handguns. See more »


(at around 9 mins) On the plane at the beginning of the movie, Castor (still Cage) passes his drink to his left hand when the stewardess sits on his lap, however, a second later he's putting a cigarette to his lips with his left hand, and the drink is back in his right. See more »


[Troy and Archer see each other for the first time with each other's faces]
Castor Troy: [grins] OOOEEEE, you're good lookin'! You're hot!
[cocks his head]
Castor Troy: It's like looking in a mirror, only not.
Sean Archer: Troy?
Castor Troy: Now that is between us. OK?
Sean Archer: But you were, were, uh...
Castor Troy: In a coma? Nothing like having your face cut off to disturb your sleep! Read the newspaper lately?
[shows him a newspaper article headlined "Deadly Inferno at Walsh Institute"]
Sean Archer: You killed them?
See more »


Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #18.31 (2010) See more »


The Hallelujah Chorus - Since By Man Came Death
From oratorio 'Messiah'
By George Frideric Handel (as Georg Friedrich Händel)
Performed by Baroque Orchestra & Chorus
Courtesy of Telarc International Corporation
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

John and Nicholas make quite a pair in Face/Off
28 November 2003 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

"Face/Off" is an excellent movie that will never get out of your head, it's that memorable. I saw this movie probably 6 or 7 years ago and I still think about it and finally bought it the other day.

The performances, this is it, folks. We have two of the finest and very popular actors: John Travolta and Nicholas Cage. These two are amazing, to transfer back and forth. John had to go from this kind, loving, and very sensitive man to a looney, cold-blooded, heartless maniac. Nicholas went from being the scary and perverted psycho to a helpless and struggling man trapped in this killer's body. My kudos to Nicholas, that was a tough performance to capture. I felt his pain, no one would believe that he was Sean Archer, who would after all? His body has been kidnapped from Castor Troy who is now playing around with his job, his daughter, and his wife. I felt so scarred for him, because I cannot imagine in a million years what that must feel like, the isolation, the abuse, and the feeling of utter helplessness. In my opinion, these are one of the best performances in 1997. The supporting cast of: Joan Allen, Gina Gershon, and Alessandro Nivola add so much, you get into the film entirely.

This is a very scary movie. This is identity theft gone terribly wrong and beyond any borders. I loved this movie and any other film fanatic will definitely enjoy it as well. It has great action, drama, romance, and dark comedy that bring together a terrific film.


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