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The Negotiator (1998)

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.

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4,137 ( 595)

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2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Adam Beck
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Grant Frost
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Chief Al Travis
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Terence Niebaum
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Maggie (as Siobhan Fallon)
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Rudy
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Markus
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Palermo
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Eagle
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Argento
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Scott
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Hellman
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Chicago's two top negotiators must face each other. One of them is holding hostages. The other is demanding surrender. And everyone's holding their breath. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

29 July 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mediador  »

Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In part based on the events surrounding the Saint Louis pension fund scandal of the mid to late 1980s. See more »

Goofs

Police negotiators and entry teams conduct their activities independent of one another so that the negotiator doesn't inadvertently let the hostage taker know what the entry team is doing. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Danny Roman: [trying to setup Omar by a bedrom window for a sniper shot, starts a joke] Omar... A Marine and a sailor are taking a piss... The Marine goes to leave without washing up... The sailor says, "In the Navy... they teach us to wash our hands... The Marines turn to him and says...
Omar: [in sync with Danny Roman] "... in the Marines they teach us not to piss on our hands..."
[sniper takes his shot and wound Omar in the shoulder end the siege]
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Soundtracks

Rise
(1998)
Performed and Written by Craig Armstrong
Courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd./Melankolic
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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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