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Enemy of the State (1998)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  20 November 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 179,228 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 413 user | 80 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

A lawyer becomes a target by a corrupt politician and his NSA goons when he accidentally receives key evidence to a serious politically motivated crime.



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5 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jerry Miller


Robert dean is a mild-mannered lawyer who works in Washington D.C. He is on the trail of a kingpin named Pintero. Meanwhile, a politician named Thomas Reynolds is negotiating with Congressman Phillip Hammersley about a new surveillance system with satellites. But, Hammersley declines, that is when Reynolds had Hammersley killed, but this murder was caught on tape, and this person was being chased by Reynolds' team of NSA agents, the guy must ditch the tape, so he plants it on Dean (unbeknownst to Dean). Then, the NSA decides to get into Dean's life. That is when Dean's life began to fall apart all around him, with his wife and job both gone. Dean wants to find out what is going on. Then, he meets a man named "Brill" who tells him that Dean has something that the government wants. That is when Dean and Brill formulate a plan to get Dean's life back and turn the Tables on Reynolds. Written by John Wiggins

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's not paranoia if they're really after you. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 November 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Enemigo público  »

Box Office


$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$20,038,573 (USA) (20 November 1998)


$111,544,445 (USA) (16 April 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (extended)

Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Seth Green & Jason Lee have worked together on " My name is Earl " TV show. See more »


A character called the birds being taped Canadian Geese, but they are actually Canada Geese - a common mistake. See more »


[first lines]
Congressman Phillip Hammersley: Come on. Come on, mutt. Now, look at that ball. All right. Come on, get that ball. Ah!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The CNN journalist is a fictitious character. See more »


References James and the Giant Peach (1996) See more »


Trigger Hippie
Written by Paul Godfrey, Ross Godfrey and Skye Edwards
Performed by Morcheeba
Courtesy of China Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Good thriller - Hackman makes it
21 December 2001 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Sucessful lawyer Robert Dean is passed information by an old friend without noticing. Seconds later that friend is killed and Dean is targeted by a group within the Government who wish to cover up a conspiracy involving the murder of a congressman. With the Government's full weight of surveillance equipment brought to bear Dean turns to ex-NSA agent Brill to help protect him, find the information and get it out into the open.

This is much better than the ususal summer crash, bang, wallop stuff we usually get fed. It's greatly helped by the sense of paranonia that runs through the whole story from the Government's power and corruption at some levels. The film starts well, with 'everyman' Dean being drawn into a game of cat and mouse, framed for a crime he didn't commit and forced to go on the run from Government agents. Will Smith carries the film only so far but it realy gets interesting when Hackman turns up as Brill. He casts light on the ability of the government and is almost able to play them at their own game. Brill makes an appearance when the film starts to become too much of a staight chase movie.

To me the use of Hackman as Brill is the best bit of casting ever and makes this film stand out as being clever. In the 70's Hackman played a surveillance expert in Copolla's The Conversation. The film ends with Hackman being monitored himself, with him ripping his house apart looking for the bugs. What makes his casting as Brill so good is that Brill is where Hackman's "The Conversation" character would be 20 years on - it feels like it's the same character again. The director also deserves a lot of praise - he manages to keep the pace up throughout the film, whether it be scenes of chasing action or technological pursuit. The script helps as well - the conspiracy and the paranoia is strong throughout.

Smith is good in the lead, but he isn't quite as good an "everyman" as classic actors as Cary Grant or James Stewart were. Smith also struggles to carry the whole movie and the chases do get a bit samey after a while. Fortunately Hackman is brilliant as Brill, he is a classy actor and brings a lot of weight to the film just as Smith begins to feel the strain. Jon Voight is also good as the villian of the piece. The supporting cast is deep! There were so many famous faces in small roles that I really felt this was an allstar cast, despite the fact that it's a Smith vehicle. Gabriel Byrne makes a fleeting appearance, Ian Hart is there, Jake Busey (son of Gary) shows up, Jason Lee (actor in many Kevin Smith films) witnesses the murder, a gorgeous Lisa Bonet has a small part, James Le Gros, Regina King etc etc. The cast is well packed with famous faces - they don't all get the chance to put on a show but it adds quality at all levels.

Overall this is a fancy chase movie, but good direction, a strong and deep cast and a fantastic Hackman all make this film much better than it could have been. The last scene of the film is a little too upbeat but other than that it's pretty good stuff.

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