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The Negotiator (1998)

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In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, a skilled police negotiator accused of corruption and murder takes hostages in a government office to gain the time he needs to find the truth.


4,598 ( 27)
2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Adam Beck
Grant Frost
Chief Al Travis
Terence Niebaum
Maggie (as Siobhan Fallon)


In the midst of an elaborate conspiracy, an expert negotiator is driven to the edge when he's framed for the murder of his partner, as well as embezzling money from his department's pension fund. His only chance to prove his innocence is to take hostages himself, acquire the services of another expert negotiator, and find out who's running the conspiracy before it's too late. Written by Ted Walters

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He frees hostages for a living. Now he's taking hostages to survive. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

29 July 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mediador  »

Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,218,831 (USA) (31 July 1998)


$44,484,065 (USA) (30 October 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ron Rifkin, Paul Guilfoyle and Kevin Spacey previously appeared in L.A. Confidential (1997). See more »


At the end of the fight between Danny and the corrupt cops in Internal Affairs, Danny looks at them when he hears one of them has run out of bullets. When he looks at them, the door is pulled wide open, but the next shot shows them just pulling it open. See more »


Lieutenant Chris Sabian: I want you to apologize for telling your mother she looks...
[Sabian's daughter makes a huge gesture with her hands]
Lieutenant Chris Sabian: Wide.
[Sabian smiles and whispers at his daughter]
Lieutenant Chris Sabian: Wide's not a good word, how'd you like to be called wide?
See more »


Featured in The Negotiator on Location: Why Chicago (1998) See more »


Doin' What I Did
Performed and Written by Dwight Yoakam
Courtesy of Reprise Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

An intelligent, taut thriller
11 May 2002 | by (Vancouver, Canada) – See all my reviews

Just when you think he's cornered, he thinks of a new strategy. Samuel L. Jackson portrays Lieutenant Danny Roman, police hostage negotiator. When he's framed for a crime he didn't commit, against his fellow police officers no less, he knows that the only way out is to bring in an equally tough negotiator, Lieutenant Chris Sabian played by Kevin Spacey, who's from another precinct and who therefore could not have been contaminated by the bad elements within his own force, which buys him the necessary time to bluff and blindside while he finds the clues he needs to prove he's innocent. Chicago is taken hostage along with the few people he retains as bargaining chips, and we are taken along for the ride. This was a masterful job of film-making from beginning to end. The characters and story were flawlessly developed. We don't precisely know who's guilty or who's innocent. Roman conducts his interrogation and trial while he negotiates with the police outside, some of whom are working overtime to eliminate Roman before he figures it all out. This all occurs right under the noses of the FBI who are in way over their heads and don't have a clue who's guilty or innocent, just like the rest of us watching. Along the way, we get to witness Roman lecture his underlings about the finer points of negotiations while he himself has just become a hostage taker. "Never say no!" he barks with effective zeal. And he tests his bewildered pupils continuously, who fail continuously. Only Sabian is smart enough to understand what's going on in Roman's mind. The strategy is shared by two men who think alike, who are under stress, and have an innate instinct for lie detection. The screenplay was terrific. The cinematography was effective. The acting of Jackson and Spacey exceptional. And the supporting cast, particularly bad-guy-turned-good-guy Paul Giamatti who provides great comic relief, was outstanding. If you're in the mood for an intelligent, taut thriller, The Negotiator delivers... 9/10.

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What happens at the end saziso
Who was the guy? shelbing42
Hostages set free bfree1
I love this movie alah-qp
This was literally my favorite movie when I was in grade school patmss
How could any of his fellow officers believe he could kill Nate erzug
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