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The Siege (1998)

R  |   |  Action, Thriller  |  6 November 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 55,363 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 277 user | 118 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

The secret US abduction of a suspected terrorist leads to a wave of terrorist attacks in New York that lead to the declaration of martial law.



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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ahmed Ben Larby ...
Sheik Achmed Bin Talal
Mosleh Mohamed ...
Lianna Pai ...
Tina Osu (as Liana Pai)
FBI Agent Mike Johanssen
Fred Darius
Danny Sussman
FBI Agent Floyd Rose
Jeremy Knaster ...
INS Official
INS Uniform
Khalil Saleh


After the abduction by the US military of an Islamic religious leader, New York City becomes the target of escalating terrorist attacks. Anthony Hubbard, the head of the FBI's Counter-Terrorism Task Force in New York, teams up with CIA operative Elise Kraft to hunt down the terrorist cells responsible for the attacks. As the bombings continue, the US government responds by declaring martial law, sending US troops, led by Gen. Devereaux, into the streets of New York City. Written by Karen Eiler <keiler@sprintmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An enemy they can't see. A nation under siege. A crisis they can't control See more »


Action | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

6 November 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Against All Enemies  »

Box Office


$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,931,285 (USA) (6 November 1998)


SGD 511,909 (Singapore) (19 February 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to an interview that screenwriter Lawrence Wright gave to CBS in 2007, the film was a box office failure upon its theatrical release, "but it was the most-rented movie in America after 9/11." Wright also claimed that the initial release bombed because "Muslim and Arab protesters picketed the theaters. They were furious at being stereotyped as terrorists." See more »


Sharon's hand on Samir's chin during first scene in Samir's apartment. See more »


[Hub and Floyd arrive at the Redhook chop shop in a beat-up car in need of service]
Anthony 'Hub' Hubbard: [to a mechanic] Yo.
[the Hispanic mechanic looks up from under the car he is servicing]
Mechanic: Que pasa?
Anthony 'Hub' Hubbard: Tariq around?
[the mechanic gestures to the office in the back. Hub eyes the other mechanics in the shop, including a mechanic changing a tire and one doing a compression check. As he enters the office, Tariq is talking on the phone to someone in Arabic]
Anthony 'Hub' Hubbard: Tariq?
See more »


Referenced in JCVD (2008) See more »


Great Leap Forward
Written by Jim Kerr (as James Kerr) and Charlie Burchill (as Charles Burchill)
Performed by Simple Minds
Courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An amazing movie, especially in light of recent events
8 October 2001 | by (New Hampshire, USA) – See all my reviews

Warning: Contains minor plot spoilage

When I first watched the movie a year or so ago, the first thing that really caught my attention in the beginning of the movie was the first explosion. There was no ludicrous running from the explosion like you see in most action movies. Washington's character blinked because of the explosion flash and then was thrown on his tail by the force of the detonation. Because he was facing the explosion he received a bloody noise from the air concussion (before even hitting the ground), and he couldn't hear after the explosion. They also showed him in shock right after the explosion. The impact of the explosion on inanimate objects was also more accurate. You could clearly see the inverse falling off effect of distance from the explosion.

Glass shattering was shown in slow motion at the same slow mention speed as the fireball moving in the background. These are details of things that happen in real life that I haven't seen in any other movie, action or otherwise. And that was a very small thing about the movie that impressed me.

I think the story line is extremely plausible and appropriately complex (which I thought before 9/11). The analysis of the culture of the terrorists was very accurate compared to most movies dealing with the topic. The terrorists weren't demonized and their motives were examined and explained in a well balanced way.

I think Bruce Willis does the movie a disservice, although it is his history of action and mediocre characters that hurts the movie, not his actual acting in the movie. The complexity of his character is interesting. The movie leaves it up to interpretation whether General Devereaux is really reluctant to impose martial law on New York, or whether he just tells the congressional committee what they want to hear in order to get himself in. Devereaux is definitely the "bad guy" in the movie, but not because he is portrayed as the nexus of evil, but because his world-view allows him to rationalize actions that are un-American.

One of the biggest criticisms that I have seen of the movie is that the end of the movie is not believable because of the martial law that is imposed on New York City. But if two or three more significant attacks happen to New York City, I won't be surprised at all if martial law is declared there.

I always thought the movie was excellent, but with the events in recent days, the impact of the movie has definitely ratcheted up a few notches.

11 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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