Mad City (1997)

PG-13  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  7 November 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 16,101 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


This November, the biggest hostage negotiation is about to begin 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 woman who plays the cop with the shotgun in the trailer is Teresa O'Kane, actress and author of the book Safari Jema, A Journey of Love and Adventure from Casablanca to Cape Town. See more »


Sam: Don't negotiate my emotions!
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Remembers Dustin Hoffman (2000) See more »


Cliff's Theme Song
Written by Steven Lazaneo and Costa-Gavras (as Costa Gavras)
Performed by Steven Lazaneo pka Automatic, Norman Berry (as Chill E.B.), Omar Lima and Chad Russell
See more »

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User Reviews

a show of life
12 November 2000 | by (Brasov, Romania) – See all my reviews

MAD CITY is exciting and thrilling from the first scene.

A talented success-hunting reporter is sent by his boss to a totally not interesting job: to do a story about a museum with financiary problems. Upset and defeated, DUSTIN HOFFMAN's character goes there and has the chance of running into what will prove to be the story of his life: a guy enters the museum and takes everyone inside hostage. It's a smart movie, just because it debates themes that can only lead to smart scenes. Probably the best thing about MAD CITY are the actors: Travolta and Hoffman are great in their roles and they add an extra-value to the movie by the way they act.

What if you really need money to support your family and you just got fired? How far are you able to go to get your job back? Far enough to enter a museum and threat the owner with a gun? Surely. But what if by mistake you do something that you can't get out from? That's Travolta's situation.

What if all your life you aimed for a great story that will totally change everything about you? How far are you able to go? Far enough to play the victim's life in your hands an organise a live show from which you practically doom him to death? That's Hoffman's situation.

The plot grows rapidly and it's very convincing. And the ending is the only one possible.

Costa-Gavras does a great job with this movie and manages to mantain balance between the characters and the action. Good job. Vote: 8 out of 10.

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