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Mad City (1997)

PG-13  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  7 November 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 15,968 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 69 user | 58 critic | 23 from

A disgruntled security guard holds a school trip group hostage, while a news reporter forms a bond with him.



(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lou Potts
Mrs. Banks
Miss Rose
CTN Junior Executive
Bingwa ...
Nat Jackson


Sam Baily, upset over losing his job, takes a natural history museum hostage. Max Brackett, journalist, is in the museum when this occurs, and gets the scoop. The story spreads nation wide, and soon it is all anyone talks about. The story itself is the news, not the reason why or the real people behind it. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One man will make a mistake. The other will make it a spectacle. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for depiction of a hostage situation, including violence and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 November 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El cuarto poder  »

Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,649,742 (USA) (7 November 1997)


£533,374 (UK) (24 July 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The four engine business jet shown is a Lockheed Jetstar. One of the very few four engined business/personal jet planes produced. They are not as popular as twin engine business or personal jets because they cost more to purchase, maintain, and operate simply because of the four engine configuration. The pods hanging on the wings are external fuel tanks. They were produced from 1957 to 1978 and most were retired from service in the 1990s. Approximately 204 were produced and were the first dedicated business jet produced. Popularity dwindled due to high operating (fuel and maintenance) costs See more »


Kevin Hollander: I'm who Americans trust for their news.
Max Brackett: You really shouldn't let a marketing slogan go your head.
See more »


Features The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992) See more »


Musetta's Waltz
from "La Bohème"
Music by Giacomo Puccini (as Puccini)
Text by Giacosa after Murger
See more »

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User Reviews

Media Frenzy leads to...
25 October 1999 | by (West Coast) – See all my reviews

This movie gets off to a slow start. To be honest it doesn't build much suspense. It does, however, have a message about modern society. People have a fascination with crisis situations and media personalities feed on that fact like sharks in a frenzy. That can lead situations to escalate out of control.

Dustin Hoffman stole the show as Max Brackett. A fellow viewer couldn't believe that he was the same man that had played in Rainman. He delivers a standout performance as TV news reporter Max Brackett who is looking to inject life back into his career but at the same time retains some sense of compassion and justice. The forces battle inside him through out the film.

John Travolta was on the money but not stellar as Sam Bailey, a recently unemployed security guard on the cusp of losing everything that he owns. Sam is a bit of low watt bulb, but he is basically a good person caught up in a very bad choice and situation that runs awry of his plans. He is very distraught about his situation and popping caffiene pills to stay awake doesn't help his state of mind much either. Not one of Travolta's best but it is still good.

What a pleasure to watch Alan Alda in front of the camera again. As Kevin Hollander he is the guy that you love to hate. Hollander is Max Brackett's nemesis and antagonist. Alda easily departs from his compassionate portrayal of Dr. Haweye Pierce on TV's MASH for this one.

This isn't a perfect film but it is a good one. It will leave you thinking about the message that it has. The acting is good to great.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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