75 user 61 critic

Mad City (1997)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 7 November 1997 (USA)
0:31 | Trailer

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



(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
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 <freckles@vivid.net>

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 USA:

$4,649,742, 9 November 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$10,556,196, 11 January 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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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 »


Max Brackett: I think they'd want to know.
See more »


The Prisoner Song
Courtesy of Everest Records
By Arrangement with Source/Q and LaserLight Digital
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User Reviews

Intellectually thrilling - one for the grown-ups.
25 April 2003 | by See all my reviews

A brilliant examination of our media-driven culture, by a film-maker who has lost none of the passion and intelligence which previously crafted such definitive political thrillers as 'Z' and 'State of siege'. I am staggered that Costa-Gavras could bring this one off while actually working within the American media empire he excoriates!

There's enough stuff here to keep any serious media-studies or political theory courses in seminars and theses for years! I immediately bought a video copy after seeing it - in Glorious SpottiVision - on Britain's quirkily watchable Channel 5; I shall be giving it regular viewings from now on. Few and far between are such examples of intellectually adult and satisfying cinema these days. Truly one to savour, unless you prefer to leave your brains out when watching films.

And Travolta's performance as the wretched ex-guard - a far from simple simpleton - is a revelation: The man is magnificent - Oscar-worthy - the great Hoffman is forced to accept a supporting role!

A great, widely misunderstood film by a true master of cinema.

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