Mad City (1997)

PG-13  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  7 November 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 16,106 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 »


Max Brackett: A man has been shot; a line has been crossed.
See more »


References Ace in the Hole (1951) See more »


Written by Chuck D. (as Chuck D) and Gary G-Wiz (as Gary G. Wiz)
Produced by Gary G-Wiz
Performed by Chuck D.
Courtesy of Mercury Records and Def Jam Records
See more »

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User Reviews

The most underrated film of 1997
28 October 1998 | by (Spokane, WA) – See all my reviews

I'll be the first one to admit that this is not a movie for

everyone- it's not your average mainstream Hollywood movie. However, it IS a brilliant, scathing satire of the media's true power in modern-day society. Instead of going for overkill like the pathetic "Natural Born Killers," this movie uses dark comedy, brilliant performances, and genuine thrills to create one of the most clever and powerful social commentaries to be seen in film in years. If you're expecting a typical Hollywood thriller with a formula plot and a nice, neat ending then you'll be disappointed, but if you're looking for a smart, powerful film with brilliant performances by Dustin Hoffman and John Travolta, then I would recommend this movie. In a time when events like the O.J. Simpson trial make the media's influence in our society more than apparent, it's refreshing to see a movie willing to stare this issue right in the face.

31 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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